Monday, July 14, 2008

La Plata - Ellingwood Ridge

Dalton and I set out to climb Harvard and Columbia, but I couldn't get my Mitsubishi Eclipse up the North Cottonwood Creek Road. Why would someone try to take their sports car up there? Well, my wife had the pickup out of town that weekend.

The Ellingwood Ridge on La Plata Peak was also one of my goals so we decided to opt for it instead since the trailhead is on the highway. Since it was still early on Saturday we decided to do a little fishing at Twin Lakes. Dalton and I backpacked in about two miles in and set up camp. That afternoon we hung out by Lake Creek and relaxed. After a backpacker supper the mosquitos were so bad we decided to turn in early. We knew we needed to get an early start the next morning anyway.

We knew this trip was going to be a long day, but we were surprised in how far it felt just getting to the first big slope and boulder field. Then the boulder field seemed to go up forever (photo 2). I did find a camera tripod which was cool. By the time we arrived at Ellingwood Ridge Dalton has started cramping. We scrambled a bit up the trail, but I was worried that we would get in trouble if Dalton got worse so we turned around. We did meet up with one other pair of climbers. They both had their harnesses on and were carrying a rope. After seeing the ridge for myself I think this is a good idea (photo 3). With a snowy winter, even in mid-July the remaining snow causes one to engage harder moves.

Even though we didn't summit, it was still a great day. I was very happy that Dalton finally agreed to join me on a climb and gave it his best.

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