This peak was climbed by my Dad and I for several different reasons.
1. It is my 14th 14er.
2. My birthday
3. Father's Day (close enough)
4. My first venture into class III climbing.
I had wanted to do Long's for a while now, and when Dad called to see what we could do when we met up this weekend, I jokingly spurted out "Long's Peak"
I was kidding of course, because I had no prior experience with class III climbing and I had planned to do many more class II's, and wait until later in the year, before I attempted Long's. However, when Dad replied "Okay, lets do it" I begun to sincerely consider it.
Throughout the week I pondered the opportunity and researched the route. It dawned on me that my next 14er would be my 14th. How cool would it be if that were Long's peak? So I called back and made it a plan, and continued to watch countless youtube videos and read trip reports on the peak.
We hiked the peak, and the whole time, the thought constantly pressing on my mind was that it is not as scary as it looks on the internet.
We started at 2AM after leaving FOCO at 12:30AM. The hike up to the keyhole was a well-maintained easy route. It was dark except for the beautiful view of the expansive array of the lights over the front range. We'd also see an occasional cluster of headlamps above or below us.
We got to the boulderfield around sunrise.
Boulderfield and Keyhole
There was actually a trail about half way though the boulderfield. We crossed about 5 tents and a restroom, then followed the cairns to the keyhole.
The beginning part of the ledges has a part where there is rebar put into the rocks, which helps getting up this section. The rest of the ledges are simply class II climbing done next to a cliff. The ledges were entirely snow free.
The Trough had a little bit of snow, but it can almost entirely be avoided by hiking to the left. If you're a taller person, the crux move at the top of the trough can be also circumvented by hiking to the left. The portion you see right as you pass through the keyhole with a ton of snow is not the same part you hike on (you hike higher). I was a bit out of breath at the top of the trough just because it's so much quick elevation gain.
The trough (hike to left of snow)
The Narrows are completely snow free. It is not as scary as in the pictures. The most narrow part is at least 3 feet wide with good handholds most of the time if you need them.
The Homestretch has a bit of ice near the top. Finding a route around the ice is easy going up, and a little more difficult going down. I came down on my back like a spider and felt comfortable. We had a reality check when a member of another group accident lost grip of a nalgene, which instantly bounced off the rocks a thousand feet down the mountain.
Longs has my favorite view of any 14er. The peak was surrounded by clouds, so we were in the sky above the clouds, we even saw an airplane fly by below us. As you know, you can see Longs from almost anywhere on the front range form Fort Collins to Denver. It has visibility for hundreds of miles. We had a brief ~5mins time with the summit all to ourselves before we were joined by a couple in their 20's. I understand this is rather sparse for the Long's peak summit.
Clouds as seen from summit
This was an incredible climb with a more interesting route than any 14er I've done so far. The route from the keyhole to the summit was breathtaking and rewarding. I can see why people go back to hike Longs again and again. This is not only a peak that I am willing to repeat, but one I plan to and look forward to doing again.