Start Time: 4:30 AM
Summit: 11:00 - 11:30 AM
Return to car 5:00 PM
Total Time: 12.5 hours
Distance: 14 Miles
Elevation Gain: 5100'
When I climbed Longs Peak the first time last summer, it was a life changing experience that exceeded and surpassed any outdoor activity I had ever done. It was so magnificent I climbed it 4 times last summer.
Each time I climbed Longs it was equally enjoyable, but I knew that some first time experiences could never be recreated. These unforgettable experiences included topping out of tree line to see the night lights of the front range, walking through the keyhole for the first time, finishing the trough looking down into Keplinger's couloir for the first time, and topping out on the summit to see a blanket of clouds blessing the land.
I was wrong.
Climbing this peak in the winter makes it a totally new set of sights, feelings, and experiences.
Twin sisters at sunrise
Longs Peak is this gorgeous color for a very special ~5 minute window
God bless the folks who built this!
All of the things I knew and loved about Longs were fresh sights that evoked just enough nostalgia to send shivers down my spine.
Philip on Ledges
The climb was awesome, and we would have beat my summer time were it not for my slight ankle twist on the decent. Some parts, namely the trough and the homestretch, are far easier in the winter.
A major thing worth noting: CRAMPONS ARE INCREDIBLY USEFUL for this climb. Several parts on the trough and ledges are short snowfields. I went over one with my microspikes on, and felt adrenaline pulsing through my veins but after I put on the CRAMPONS and used the ICE AXE I felt tremendously safer, and had no scary moments the rest of the climb.
How hard is it to learn crampons?
If you can put crampons on, you can use crampons! (Just be careful to not rip your pants)
Philip on homestretch
Me climbing up to summit
We thought we were the only people on Longs the whole day, but enjoyed a tasty slice of humble pie when we saw Anton's signature on the summit register, to later find out he had started after we started and finished before we reached the summit. Anton also notably monopolized the summit register in that a good percentage of the signatures on that page were his. It was pretty sweet to know we shared the mountain with a man who is rivaled by only a very few number of athletes in his sport.
Look who it is!
I've hiked with Philip many times before, but this was our first time just the two of us. Throughout the hike I had the opportunity to get to know my friend better and had we had some great conversations about mountains, life, philosophy, girls, and careers. His experience and assistance on the trail were indispensable to our success.
No shirt summit actually felt quite nice
Longs in clouds
I'm very grateful and lucky to have a 5/5 success rate on Longs. She has been good to me and I'm very thankful to again have the opportunity to say:
"I survived Longs Peak"