From Leadville, go 15 miles south on highway 24, and turn right on highway 82.
Go another 15 miles south on 82 and look for a turnout signed "South Fork Road".
Find a place to park on the turnout.
Please refer to the above books for more details and alternative routes.
Trip Report July 2000:
Bjørn Gillholm and myself had come a long way for our first peaks
> 14,000ft. And our ambitions were high. We planned to do 5-6 peaks in
a week. After arriving Leadville, we allowed one day for acclimating,
but the next day was summit day for La Plata Peak. I didn't acclimate too
well, and instead of doing the right thing, I wanted to get the summit,
so at least I had one on the record.
Early morning, we parked at the trailhead and made our way through the
forest, in a slow pace. We enjoyed the mighty view of Sayres as we came
to the forest end. When we saw the La Plata ridge, I remember we felt it would
be a tough hike. But steady does it, and we got up on the ridge below the
summit. First then, we could absorbe the mighty views of the Sawatch range.
And a marmott kept us company.
The final climb was tough, but we made it to the top with grace. After that,
I don't remember much. Bjørn was signing the summit log, and I must
have been taking pictures. We observed the weather and found that it was time
to descend. Immediately I started to vomit, and I didn't stop until we were
down from the mountain. I don't remember anything from the drive back to
The next day, we went for a lower peak in the Tenmile range, but I needed
a doctor more than a peak, so we drove to Leadville Medical Hospital, where
AMS was the conclusion. We drove back to the motel with the car full of
oxygen equipment and a plan to leave Leadville the next day. Bjørn
was able to do Mt. Elbert early next morning before we left. He did not
suffer any altitude problems at all.
Follow South Fork Road, and after a short hike, exit left onto the La Plata trail.
Cross a couple of bridges before the trail ascends into a valley, with Sayres
Mountain rising in the south.
The trail goes up to the left and switchbacks until you arrive a ridge. From this ridge,
Ellingwood ridge on the other side of the horseshoe comes in sight. The final climb up
La Plata to the right of the snowfield now remains.