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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-09-13||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: This is my 44th fourteener this summer. My goal is to climb them all before the snow gets too bad. You can read more about this hike and others at Sunshineof1985.com! Enjoy! Distance: 14.77 mi. Elevation Gain: 5,100 ft. Time started: 8:45am End time: 5:15pm Time to Summit: 4 hours and 30 minutes Time to Descent: 3 hours (not including time spent on summit) GEAR (to bring): Helmet, GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, lightweight gloves, day pack with water sack (64 oz or more), snacks. Road Condition: Blacktop. Trail Condition: Dry and all snow/ice is 100% avoidable. The trail to the summit is extremely well marked with signs and bulls-eyes painted (once on the back side of the Keyhole). The trail through the forest is nice and easy. Once out of the trees, the wind started to pick up right away. Still an easy trail to follow with well marked junctions. The Keyhole was extremely windy BUT- it only lasts for a moment until you get onto the other side. On the backside of the keyhole, there is very little loose rock BUT, the rock is so smooth it becomes somewhat slippery. If it rained the night before, and the weather looks good all day, wait to leave until the sun is out to let the ice melt (early fall). It‘s also not as steep as what I expected it to be. I never felt overly exposed on the route.
|2015-09-12||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: It was a phenomenal day on Longs. We only encountered ice once when my friend went off-route in the Trough, none if you stay on route. Timed it well, getting to the boulder field at 6:30am, right when it was getting light. Temps were nice. Sidenote: not many aspens have started to change color yet, but a lot of the shrubbery & bushes above treeline has turned dark browns/reds/yellows and is quite pretty. Sidenote 2: saw cars getting ticketed at the parking lot for sticking out 1 or 2 feet into no-parking areas, so don‘t do that. Timeline: 3:35am - left Trailhead 7:10 - arrived at Keyhole 7:30 - arrived at Trough 8:05 - arrived at Narrows 8:30 - summit 9:10 - left summit 9:30 - arrived at top of Trough 9:55 - arrived at Ledges 10:20 - arrived at Keyhole 1:15pm - returned to Trailhead
|2015-09-10||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Keyhole route trail is in great shape. Impressed with the conditions even with the number of people using it this summer. ICE? Boulder Field low water areas were frozen on our way through in the morning. Just don‘t step on it. The small snowy patches in the Trough were easy to spot. There is some ice in the Trough. Very little. There are two very obvious places you can easily avoid. But the real concern is small areas of snow melt that is now ice. Maybe a dozen or so areas the size of diner plates and trays. The concern is you won‘t see it unless you are looking for it. Not a major concern, just keep your eyes open and watch your footing and hand holds on some of the small flat areas. Again, nothing to worry about if you are observant. There were also a couple places on the Home Stretch, again, no real concern if you keep you eyes open. There was one line we just avoided because it was more wet than icy. I think with each new dusting of snow, more will melt and freeze. Keep an eye on the weather and updated conditions reports and don‘t freak out because someone said "ice" In short... yes there is SOME ice, minor amounts. Just use you brain and eyes and go around.
|2015-09-08||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: There is now ice in many places through the Trough, on the Narrows and up the Homestretch. It was avoidable for the most part. We didn‘t use traction/microspikes, nor did we need them, but some of the ice was difficult to see in places, so be wary.
Info: Lamb‘s slide is starting to get icy. I brought dull microspikes and no axe, climbing or traversing with that gear seemed crazy. I climbed the rocks left of lambs slide, I was a bit nervous about that but it turned out to be easy class 3, no route finding difficulty. Then I climbed up and around the top of the snow. I don‘t recommend that option, you have to gain some extra elevation, and it took me a long time moving slowly around on loose scree. I think carrying the weight of boots, axe, and crampons would probably not have slowed me down as much as that scramble did. The route after that felt easy by comparison. There‘s some patchy fresh snow on the north face but kieners and the keyhole are all dry. I didn‘t get a close look at the cables route crux. Kieners is a nice route for a windy day, it was gusting this morning but the terrain past chasm lake is sheltered and calm.
Info: Update on Lambs Slide, I made it across with an axe and microspikes, but there were several sketchy sections; the 10ft on either side are complete ice. I‘d recommend crampons and an axe. It was bad enough that I‘m pretty sure I‘m done with Kieners for this year. On a positive note, Cables was surpringly quite dry!
|2015-08-22||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summited via the Keyhole Route. As noted, and as is typical, winds picked up significantly at the Keyhole. Wind through the Ledges and the Trough were bearable, but the wind increased significantly at the Narrows, reaching about 80-90 mph by estimation. The Homestretch was great, with little wind, and the summit was OK with wind as well. Views from the summit somewhat obscured due to recent smoke haze. Left trailhead at 12 a.m. (midnight) and summited at 6:15 a.m. for sunrise. On the descent, the majority of people on the mountain turned around at the Narrows and Trough, and many chose not to go through the Keyhole because of winds. Winds seemed calmer earlier in the day.
|2015-08-22||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Hit the trail at 3:20 and made it to the keyhole in time for sunrise around 6-6:15. Summited around 7:50. Very windy throughout the entire trail. After talking to some rangers almost 75% of the people turned back although we heard it died down a little later in the morning. Overall beautiful day. No ice or snow from the dusting earlier in the week.
|2015-08-18||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Started at 4:30 and were at the Keyhole by about 7:10. It was a bit chilly and we added layers as we climbed. When we got to the Keyhole there was some seriously cold wind whipping eastward. There were a good 20 people waiting there to see if it would die down. We waited until 8 then decided to start on the ledges and see if the wind was any better there. It was much better. From the Keyhole to the top of the Homestretch the wind was bearable to nonexistent. Lots of people turned around at the Keyhole and didn‘t need to. The only other concern with the route were some icy patches in the trough and on the narrows--both of which were few and far between and very easy to avoid. Summited at in about 4 hours 45 min (from Longs Peak TH) at about 9:15. We were back at the car in just under 9 hours at about 13:30. Great climb!
Info: Attempted Kieners today. I usually go up without crampons and have little problems, but the snow has consolidated a great deal, and there is a significant amount of ice throughout Lambs slide. It‘s certainly still doable with crampons and ice axe, but it will probably be out of condition in about a week max. We climbed the rock rib to the left and tried to traverse over to Broadway but found ice almost the whole way so we climbed up and did the loft route instead. Always a great day to be on Longs though!
|2015-08-16||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: It was an up and down day at the peak and trail, weather wise; until the storms rolled in at around 2 PM. But, trail condition wise, felt it was as perfectly dry as it can get. And it was not crowded for a weekend day. Till Keyhole:- Easy as you like hike till Boulder field (started from TH at 4:30 AM on 8/16) and expected scramble over large boulders to Keyhole. It seems the key hole area was very wind early in the early morning making some hikers (who started much early from TH, like around 2 AM) to turn back. Same with few others (which put doubts in our mind). However, after 8 AM, the wind died down. In fact, Keyhole was unusually ‘wind free‘ so to speak and had a great time there and gave all the confidence for the difficult segments ahead. Keyhole to Trough:- Absolutely great condition. No ice or snow on the trail. Just a few wet rocks, which were easily avoidable. And wind free. Some parties stopped at Trough, mostly because of exhaustion. Narrows:- Nothing major to report apart from great conditions; and shouting out to be careful!! Homestretch and Summit and back:- Homestretch was not crowded as some pictures suggested in recent past. Up and downhill traffic was easy to manage. Weather was excellent for couple of hours at the summit (we summit‘ed at 11), with great stunning sunny views all around till after noon. Then as expected, high clouds rolled in, reducing the visibility during descend until trough. Also, later at boulder field and beyond, there was rain and could hear distant thunderstorms. So, even though we got the perfect time window for the difficult part and summit, starting earlier got its benefit for sure!!!
|2015-08-15||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Did this route last weekend. Started at the trailhead at 2:45AM and made it to the keyhole at about 6:30 with a few breaks. Summited at 8:30, spent about an hour up there, and made it back to the trailhead exactly 12 hours later at 2:45pm. It definitely got chillier and windier the more we crossed the boulder field and up to the keyhole. Some people were waiting for it to die down, however, we decided to keep going. A lot of scrambling and climbing (most of the time 3 points of contact to the mountain), but doable. A few places I needed help from my climbing partners as I was too short to reach good hand holds or foot holds. No ice or snow though. Even though there were some gusts of wind on the route past the keyhole, the summit was calm and warm. Starting early meant fewer people to bypass the 1.5mi past the Keyhole. Definitely worthwhile. Good conditions last weekend, which will hopefully hold for anyone going in the next few weeks.
|2015-08-09||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: It was a gorgeous day to hike the mountain. This was the first time we took this route, we were a party of four. There is still some snow in the Loft Couloir as well as above the waterfall, but it is indeed entirely avoidable at this point on the left side. Just stay left before you think you need to however as there is a finger of snow that extends down the couloir that I missed and had to cross; doable but a little scary. Once over the saddle it was pretty easy to navigate the trail, and although the cairns are small if you use your common sense, it was easy for us to find the way and confirm our intuition when we found the next cairn, even when we couldn‘t see it cairn to cairn. A couple spots on the west side required some downclimbing but not long distances, and our relatively climbing-inexperienced group felt confident doing it. We took the keyhole route down, which made for a nice 80% loop. We only met 3 other hikers on the loft route, which was nice since there were probably about 200 or more on the keyhole route. It took us 7.5 hours to summit the loft route, our pace was leisurely however and we departed at 4:10 AM.
|2015-08-05||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Great conditions the entire route. The little remaining snow/ice in the trough is easily avoidable. Wind gusts were occasionally unnerving but manageable. There is a little running water in the homestretch on the left near the upper exit that seemed frozen/sketchy at 5:30.
|2015-08-04||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Attempted Longs on 8/4. Left trailhead at 2:30. Trail in great condition. Got to Keyhole at 5:30. Wicked winds got progressively worse from treeline on. Turned around at the boulder field and decided to try another day. Not worth getting blown off.
Info: Lambs Slide is still all snow, no ice as of yet. The rest of the route is fine. Some snow on the cable‘s descent.
|2015-08-02||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Great conditions all th way up to the trough, then only a few wet spots and small ice patches. No ice ax needed, but keep the helmets as the route was very heavily traveled and the potential for rock fall is high. Narrows and homestretch are both dry and free of snow amd ice.
|2015-08-01||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Still some snow in the loft couloir, but it is easily avoidable on climber‘s left. We carried axes/spikes and never pulled them out of our backpacks. Also, snow is not a factor anywhere on the Loft route or from Meeker/Longs saddle to the Meeker summit. Enjoy the summer conditions while they last. We descended via Keyhole and yes there is still some snow present in the Trough, but this also is easily avoidable. No snow/ice anywhere else (homestretch, narrows, etc.).
|Phill the Thrill||2015-08-01||0|
|2015-07-31||Route: Cables/North Face
Info: I did the Cables route up and down the last two days. Zig-Zag around a tiny snowfield to the bottom of the route, then it is (predictably) wet. Yesterday there was some sneaky verglas to watch out for but I didn‘t find any ice this morning (climbing around 8:45AM both days). After that there was one short snowfield to cross on the cairned route to the summit; its rock hard but there are great steps in there and I‘m sure you could find a rock around there for some extra traction if you wanted it -- an axe would be overkill for such a small amount of snow. Or you could choose your own adventure around it.
|2015-07-29||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Near the bottom of The Trough, there is melting hard-packed snow/ice blocking the marked trail. As you encounter the first patch there is an arm on the left and an arm on the right. Do not be fooled by continuing between them. They eventually merge. The ice is hard as rock and very slick. When you first encounter the snow/ice, move to the left (north) and you will find a very acceptable scaling path. Do not move to the right. The snow eventually abuts a sheer vertical face and there is no acceptable path. See attached photo. Note person easily hiking on the left, the split in the snow in the middle, and the sheer face on the right. Also be observant of "black ice," melted snow that has frozen over night and is like black ice, hard to see. It is very slick, too.