Ashley and I just got back from hiking La Plata Peak with 2 of her friends from work and their boyfriends. The Ellingwood Ridge on La Plata is a route I've been wanting to do for a while, and somehow I convinced everyone to hike the same mountain. Unable to get any of the others to join me, I started hiking shortly after 3:00 am since I knew my chosen route would take longer than the route they would be taking. The plan was to meet at the summit at 10:00 am, or as close to it as possible. I gained the 2-mile long class 3 ridge just in time to look over the other side and observe an amazing sunrise! The rest of the ridge involved a repetitive procedure of dropping below cliffs, hiking back up to the ridge, and traversing the ridge. What makes this route particularly special is that it can be made as difficult as desired. If one chose to stay on the ridge crest the entire way up, the hike quickly turns into a 2-day ordeal involving 5th class climbing and rappelling. The Ellingwood Ridge route description is for the class 3 version, and I followed this description as closely as possible, spending a bit of time playing around near the ridge crest for some added excitement. I reached the summit just before 9:00, waited for a while, got cold, and descended the route that Ashley, et.al. were ascending. I found them about 1000 feet below the summit. The entire party of 6 summited successfully, 3 or which had never climbed a 14,000 foot peak before!