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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-07-23||Route: Keyhole ascent; Loft Descent
Info: To augment the other CR from today, here are a few pics showing the key spots. Loft descent was much trickier than I was expecting. Exit ramps at the top are clear and dry, but way more steep snow to deal with than I was expecting.
|2015-07-23||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: OK, so I‘m kind of a Longs Peak junkie. Notched my 58th ascent today... Up Kieners and down the Keyhole (since the North Face looked quite wet still). The thing is that there were a lot of people attempting the Keyhole and a lot of them not summiting. Why? There‘s about 100‘ of icy snow still in the Trough and most people are turning around there because either they don‘t have an ice ax or they don‘t know how to use the ice ax they brought. Hint: It has other functions than that of a walking stick! Anyway, with just a little courage you could climb around on the rocks to the left. People are getting to the summit without an ax! Once past this rather limited patch of snow things are quite clear to the summit. Go get it! Oh, and Kieners is in fantastic shape. No ice in Lambs quite yet.
|2015-07-19||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summited via Keyhole Route on Sunday, July 19. Camped at Goblin‘s Forest the night prior, leaving for the trail at 5AM sharp. Beautiful sunrise above tree line. Very windy hike up to the Boulderfields but then it got calm through the Keyhole. The Ledges and Trough were clear and calm on the ascent, with the Trough still having quite a bit of ice and snow on the main route. Some folks were taking a harder approach on the left side of the Trough to stay on rock and many turned back since they didn‘t have equipment to tackle the ice. The Narrows and Homestretch were free of any ice or snow, but were quite sandy - making slipping a serious concern. Summited at 9:30AM. Only stayed up top for 15 minutes or so and weather started to come in. When I got back to the Trough, visibility was seriously poor and the mist was making the rock slippery and the snow soft. It was a really treacherous descent back to the Ledges. Had to self-arrest more than once. A few climbers were causing quite a bit of loose rock to fall near by as well. Not the most fun. Back through the Keyhole, the weather cleared and the rest of the descent was super pleasant.
|2015-07-18||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Bring an ice axe for all routes, you‘ll go faster. Loft: Mostly snow-free, but there‘s ~100-200‘ feet up high, right below and at you exit the Loft, to gain those ledges to the climber‘s L. Lambs Slide: Snow is getting more solid/icy, but still casual enough to climb in trailrunners shod with Kahtoola Hiking Crampons. Broadway: Entering Broadway from Lambs Slide, there‘s a ton of loose debris you‘ll need to navigate. Very easy to kick down stuff into Lambs Slide, so be careful. Other than that, Broadway is cruiser Kieners: Pretty Dry, except for that one part, which is just, "mostly dry" Home Stretch: Some snow, avoidable. Almost bought it at the very top, as there‘s invisible ice to trip up someone like me. Trough: Again, icy snow at the top 200‘ or so, lots of parties stopped there - there‘s no way to currently avoid it, so (again) bring an axe Rest of Keyhole: Snow Free Cables: Lots of lingering snow near or on the route. Lots of wet streaks coming down. Looks generally wet. But you love it.
|2015-07-17||Route: Cables Route
Info: There was still snow getting to the start of the technical climbing, but most of it can be avoided by going climber‘s left and scramble up to Chasm View. For the technical pitch, at 6 am there was water running down the cracks, as well as thin layer of verglas in the shaded areas. Above the technical pitch, the path to the summit crossed at least one snow field that was unavoidable. We used ice axe and microspikes to cross, which were sufficient. We didn‘t see anyone else at the summit, which is probably a good indicator of what the Keyhole route is like.
|2015-07-12||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summitted last Sunday. It was a sunny day but very windy. No snow until Trough but as others are writing, Trough is still full of snow. I saw some parties turning around at this point because of snow. We climbed with crampon and ice axe. There were some who were climbing without them, trying to trace the wall without snow. They‘ve made it but were very much struggling. Upper part of Trough is completely full of snow so you can‘t avoid it anway. Narrows are snow-free, but Homestretch is a bit challenging, since left-half of the route is still under snow and ice. The ice was very hard. My crampon was 6 points. I struggled a bit to keep friction when decending. I should have brought 12 points. If you choose climbing the face without snow (right half) you could do it but need to be very careful. Some parties were using rope here. We started the TH at 3:40am and returned 5:50pm. It is a long and tough course but worth challenging it. Be prepared, and have fun!
|2015-07-12||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: BLUF: First time summiting Longs! Successful, but dicey and quite technical at points. Longs was my third 14er and I tackled it with the aim of getting good prep for Kilimanjaro. Due to the technical condition and this year‘s late Winter and the condition reports, I decided to hire a guide to mitigate risk. As I learned, few guides are going up at this time because only technical permits are currently allowed. After sleeping a couple hours in my car, we got off the trailhead at 2:15. We both had a fair amount of gear and moderately sized packs: we each had crampons, helmets, ice axes, 3 season boots with an extra pair of socks, a thermal layer, wind pants, headlamps with extra batteries, 40m worth of rope, additional thermal layers, light gloves, heavy gloves, winter caps, sunglasses, and GoreTex wind/waterproof jackets. As I have a harder time with the altitude, I was carrying a 3L camelback bladder and a 1L nalgene along with ~10 energy bars. We had a UV water purifier, which I think is a must...this is a great way to increase your water consumption without increasing your water weight. After the first ~6 miles, you will have wanted to down at least a liter or two to stay hydrated. Sunrise, which was beautiful, occurred about 20 minutes after we had reached Granite Pass. However, until the sun came out, it was very windy, cold, and with a little rain. Make sure to bundle! On Boulder Field, it was a little gusty, so we had to ease through to keep our balance. Took us about 45 minutes to reach the Keyhole. Keyhole was VERY windy. I actually asked my guide if there was a waterfall nearby and he said that was the wind (that‘s how loud it was). Three climbers, who appeared to be properly equipped, turned around as they didn‘t feel comfortable with the wind. Another climber, who was a carrying a lighter load, came back after turning around at the Trough. It was between 7-7:30 at this point, and after taking a peak, the guide said we would proceed. We suited up, and he pulled out the rope, but we didn‘t link up. Gusts were easily 30mph and it was windy. We proceeded very slowly. I followed the guide, who followed the Bulls eyes. There was no snow or ice. I felt comfortable as I proceeded slowly using the "3/4" philosophy (always have three of your four limbs on the mountain). We got passed by one or two climbers, but it felt fine. Then we reached the Trough. This was where things got dicey. We roped up, and put on our crampons and pulled out our axe. Every feasible way up the Trough was snow covered; unfeasible ways were bare. And the snow was bad because it was like mashed potatoes...the top scraped off with ice underneath. We picked our way up ~100 ft at a slow steady pace (say goodbye to your quads). This is where climbers turned around, and smartly as there is no way around the snow. And as we saw, the snow requires crampons and an ice axe. We saw one couple, warmly dressed but without the technical equipment, hit a close one. We heard a shriek and saw the girl slide 20ft before hitting a slab and breaking. As the guide said, she was 3 ft away from turning our day into a SAR operation. In shock, they sat on the slab for a good 20 minutes. It reminded us how dicey things were and how on Longs there are simple maneuvers with great consequences. Then the Narrows. We ran into two climbers on their way down from sumitting (they had left at 12:15). They had a rough time as they had gotten caught in a precipitation cloud and got battered by the weather (by this time it was sunny but I forgot to mention that some sleet hit during the hike up). We continued along the Narrows roped up, but had taken off our crampons. Wasn‘t a problem following the 3/4 rule. Then the homestretch. By this point, two experienced, solo climbers had passed us. There were two well equipped climbers behind us. Then, the couple that had fallen, had somehow continued. But for a Sunday, this wasn‘t a lot of traffic,which says something about the conditions. At the homestretch, there was a lot of snow, but you could navigate around it doing some tough scrambling. The guide didn‘t like the snow/ice, so we decided to do this. The two well equipped guys alongside us went up the snow, and had to self arrest once. The two climbers that had passed us were at this point descending. The descent on that snow was very tough,so one of the guys moved off to where we were. We continued up, and the rope was very helpful. And we reached the summit. I think we hit it at around 11. I surprisingly still felt fine and the altitude hadn‘t gotten to me yet...probably because of the water. After 15 minutes, we proceeded to descend down the Cables Route. The keyhole seemed dicey and as we had the equipment, we thought the Cables would be quicker and easier despite being more technical. We were wrong. There is a lot of snow on the cables route..full crampons and ice axe are required. But the snow was very bad...it was that crusty stuff that is very Avalanche prone. This, combined with the chances of sliding a 100ft to a cliff, was a bit dicey. Descending on this stuff with crampons was tough for me...we had two close calls where the rope and a self arrest saved us. After deciding that we wanted to spend as little time on this snow as possible, we rappelled down...a good 7-9 times. Slow, but it was the safe thing to do. We reached the Boulder Field at around 2 if I recall correctly. Then for a long hike that felt like purgatory I back to the trailhead. Reached the trailhead at 5. Was a fun climb and good technical stuff. But, it shows how Longs is a climb where there are a lot of consequences. It‘s not the place to go up in tennis shoes and shorts. Until the Trough melts out, you‘ll need technical equipment
|2015-07-11||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: This still had a bit of snow and ice on it. You can navigate around most of the snow, but not all. There were at least two snow fields that I would have turned around at if I wasn‘t with such a strong group. We returned via the Keyhole route which also had a snowfield left in the trough. I would imagine this would be a very big deal in the early morning hours when the snow is still hard. It wasn‘t bad in the afternoon and a few of my group managed to navigate without traction or axe though I wouldn‘t recommend it. I would HIGHLY recommend bringing an axe and traction along for either route with the conditions I experienced this past weekend.
|2015-07-11||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: A walk in the park until reaching the Keyhole at 7:30am. Frozen snow in patches along the Ledges, I did break out the crampons just to be safe - would have been find with microspikes. The Trough was still snow all the way up, mostly frozen with a very few soft spots. Crampons were my choice, others seemed okay with microspikes, a few lovable crazies without either. I‘d say about half of the climbers around me turned back at the Trough due to conditions. One or two very minor snow/ice spots along the Narrows. The Homestretch still covered in snow to the left, already slushy by 10:30am - crampons again, but many favored the rocks along the right. On the way back everything that was hard snow was now soft, so a little more challenging to manage downhill. Wish I had skies for the Trough.
|2015-07-08||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Took the keyhole up this morning. Its summer until about half-way through the ledges where a few small easily avoidable and negligible patches of snow show up and get progressively more significant as you approach the trough. The trough is still completely full of snow, but with the super cold temps this morning I felt more than comfortable with just microspikes and punching my hands in. Narrows are wet and slushy, nothing too bad just no slipping allowed! The homestretch was the hardest part for me, the left is still snow/ice which I suppose you could climb. I opted for a crack system on the right side. So long as you don‘t wind every single thing being wet it was fine. Do take this with a grain of salt though, as it was snowing reasonably hard from about the middle of the trough to the summit. Given the downward trend of the temperature just while I was up there I‘d expect the Narrows to be an ice rink tomorrow morning. Have fun and be safe!
|2015-07-03||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: No snow until past the keyhole. A few patches to cross before the trough, which was icy and hard-packed until around 10 am. Ice axe and crampons are highly recommended. We did it without them but would have made life a lot easier and safer with them. Narrows are snow-free. Home stretch has hard-packed snow but is easily avoidable if you climb on the rocks.
Info: Sorry no photos, but if you‘re wanting to get Kieners this is a good time. Lamb‘s was excellent - easy snow. Broadway is effectively snow-free. Above Broadway the rock has areas of water running down, but easily avoided. Excellent conditions. Descending the NF is mixed - we left the summit around 9AM and found rock and then slushy snow for a few hundred feet above the bolts (easily navigated), water running down the bolted section, which is snow free, so we rapped. Snow below this again, soft and we easily walked and glissaded down to the Boulderfield. Summer!
|2015-06-29||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Standing and running water on trail but no snow to the camp sites in the Boulder Field. Snow and ice on route past the Keyhole. I turned back half way up the Trough, I only had micro spikes and trekking poles and I questioned a safe down climb from the summit.
|2015-06-29||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Started from the trailhead at 230am. Made it to the Keyhole at 530am. Only encountered a few patches of snow below the keyhole but didn‘t require any traction devices. The ledges were clear of snow other than one section that we hiked around. Towards the end of the ledges there was plenty snow and the trough was completely covered. Crampons and ice axe definitely required. Snow felt stable going up but a bit more slushy on the decent, especially int he center where snow melt is flowing underneath. Beyond the trough there was no snow again until the homestretch. Again, crampons and ice axe were required. Snow on the homestretch was slighly more icier than the trough. The summit is covered in snow but we had clear blue skies and only a few clouds that didn‘t look threatening. The decent took longer than going up, partly due to encountering some other climbers going up (some only went part way). The snow at the bottom of the homestretch was a little more loose and required extra care to navigate. By the time we got to the keyhole around 12:30 the summit was shrouded by grey clouds and there was a bit of light rain and hail. The weather cleared up for the rest of the hike back to the trailhead.
|2015-06-26||Route: The Flying Dutchman
Info: Weird foggy day. Trail to Chasm Lake is 99% snow free. Snow in the couloir was a little soft on top but great for step kicking. Crux was a melted out, loose waterfall but this was the only bad part of the entire route. We encountered more snow to the loft and dry conditions to the summit of Meeker. The Loft ramp was dry and the glissade was spectacular.
|2015-06-24||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summited 24 June 2015 in full-on winter conditions above the Keyhole.
|2015-06-21||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Did not summit today, but hiked up to the Boulder Field. I was surprised by the lack of snow, given some of the reports I had read. Granted the trail was a bit of a stream coming out of Granite Pass, but there was practically no snow on the trail before the Boulder Field. Though I didn‘t go beyond, there was obviously some snow on the steeper section leading up to the Keyhole. And, of course, beyond the Keyhole is another story. There was also very little snow in Jim‘s Grove. Three short snowfields at the end, none of which required any gear to negotiate. I imagine they will be melted out quickly.
|2015-06-20||Route: North Face
Info: still a lot of snow holding on the north face and keyhole routes, but there hasn‘t been an overnight freeze so the snow is really soft and variable firmness and depth. Didn‘t summit Longs but here‘s some info and pics on the area. The trail is mostly dry/snow free to the boulderfield with the occassional small drift. Expect these to be gone in the next week. In the boulderfield, it‘s very wet with water flowing down the trail. There is also a sheet of snow undercut by cold water pools (a cold posthole) in spots. Sloppy wet snow in boulderfield. There is a snow ramp up to the Keyhole and up the North Face. Coverage is there but snow is soft and highly variable. Loft is full of snow. Mt Lady Washington is basically dry. Storm Peak has snow caking the east face, not too deep but soft and highly variable. Snow can be mostly avoided by going up the north ridge. Snow is melting very fast and expect this to be mostly melted out by next weekend, but still very wet with running water. I also got a good look at Glacier Gorge from Storm Peak and the whole upper gorge is still coated in snow.
|2015-06-17||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Went up Flying Dutchman‘s Couloir and descended Lambs Slide. Started up couloir 7:55 am, snow was softer in the sun, firm in the shade. Crux was continous ice/snow to climber‘s right, melted out at top on left. Roughly WI 3+ Met another party that turned back from Kiener‘s due to unstable snow on Broadway.
|2015-06-10||Route: Up N Face down Keyhole
Info: Went up the N Face and down the Keyhole this morning. There‘s the usual drifts on the trail to treeline, but the snow is well packed. Above that patchy snow up to the Boulderfield which is all snow and kind of huge slush pond in spots. Freeze line was quite high (13k+) last night. Drizzle or light snow most of this morning. NF is 100% snow and quite good, though exceptionally soft today so that I felt there was a non-zero possibility of wet slab. Once the next warm spell hits it probably won‘t be 100% snow anymore. The good line is on the slabs climber‘s left of the old cables, which are melted out. Keyhole is also nearly 100% snow above the Keyhole itself. Homestretch was good & firm, Narrows had super soft, sketchy snow (I am going to get flushed off the ledge???), Trough had good, soft, glissadable snow & more snow than I‘ve ever seen in there (good ski!), Ledges again super soft, saturated snow. Charlie N. has some photos of the NF from Monday morning which give a good sense of it, though clearly the snow was much more firm. http://charlienuttelman.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_8.html