| Longs Peak - Keyhole
I've been on this site for a few years, and have read hundreds of trip reports. I myself have added a comment here and a conditions report there, but never took the time to write one of these. I just moved out to Denver after visiting almost every summer growing up, and I swore to myself that I'd add one. Of course I chose Longs, and I'm sure we don't need another TR for Longs, but you'll get one anyway. Here it goes:
I posted a few weeks ago that I was interested in climbing Lindsey via the North Face and wanted to see if anyone would join. Had a few bites, and one enthusiastic response from Max (kumo1341). As we got closer, I changed my mind. I had been eyeing Longs for over a year, and I had my doubts. I had climbed Snowmass several summers ago, but it was on a guided trip, and I wasn't sure how I would feel climbing a class 3 with so little experience. I ran the idea past Max, and he was game - we were on for Longs.
I slept in my car halfway up the road to the TH. I considered parking in the lot and sleeping there, but didn't want to get woken up in the middle of the night by an angry ranger, so I elected to drop back down a little and just pull over. After all, probably 3/4 of the spots were empty at 10:30 Saturday night. There was no way they could all be full by 3 AM...
After failing to find a parking spot much closer than where I had slept, I trudged up the road counting cars - I stopped at 35 - and met Kumo at the TH around 3:15. We moved fairly quickly, passing several groups.
As we surpassed treeline, I marveled at the number of headlamps parading up the slopes to the boulderfield. This was the first of many times I questioned whether I had ever seen so many people on a 14er in one day.
Further along, we began to leapfrog with a group of two girls. The second or third time this happened, we decided to just make friends and climb together, and thus, Kelsey and Gloria became wolves in our wolfpack (Hangover anyone?). I was certainly aprehensive at seeing what looked like I-70 on a Sunday in headlamps, but it was the people we met that made the trip worth remembering - glad that they were all right with sticking with us!
The four of us made our way to the boulderfield where we stopped for some water as the Alpenglow kissed the sheer face of Longs Peak to our left. Henceforth, I’ll let the pictures do a lot of the talking.
Alpenglow on Longs' Face
We made our way to the Keyhole quickly and took a few minutes to admire the view down Glacier Gorge - it's incredible, and a change of pace from everything you see up to this point.
Max and Kelsey getting pumped up for the rest of the climb
Looking across Glacier Gorge
I put away the camera until the Homestretch. On that note, for those of you who aren't sure how you feel about this part because it looks so steep, there is no way to accurately guage the Homestretch's steepness in a photo. It looks way worse than it is - with decent boots, you can nearly walk up almost half of it. It's fun!
Kelsey and Max heading up the Homestretch
I hurried up the last hundred feet or so to get some shots of our group reaching the summit. Kumo got pretty excited there at the end!
Apparently, sticking your tongue out makes finishing the last 10 feet easier.
Kelsey, Max (kumo1341), Me (Teddy), and Gloria
The views on the summit are excellent!
We saw these guys climbing up just as we were about to leave the summit. I definitely do not have the guts (or the skills) to attempt that route!!
"Are those PEOPLE over there??"
Kelsey: "Oh, gosh, they're making me nervous!"
The trip down was uneventful but long!
The parade down the Trough with an incredible backdrop
This was a great peak. While I normally prefer to hike among a much smaller number of people, I found that, as the hike went on, I enjoyed the characters around me. Great company makes great memories - plus, if you're going to be miserable about the crowds, this 15 mile RT day will seem much longer.
A final note, if you hike the whole thing in a day, be in good shape. It's a long day.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):