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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-02-05||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summitted on 1/29/2015 Hiking at the trailhead by 4am, trail was packed and windblown all the way to the keyhole. Microspikes were helpful the whole way. Snowshoes were not necessary the entire trip. Beyond the keyhole, crampons made light work of the ledges and trough... there was quite a bit of icy snow patches in these areas. Most of the targets were visible. Narrows and home stretch had patches of snow that could be mostly avoided allowing one to get by without microspikes or crampons. No wind, high 20s or low 30s temp, cloud layer around 11k, but above that we were mainly in sunshine. On the way back the trough and ledges had warmed up a bit and softened... we were glad to have brought ice axes/tools. Took 9 hours to summit and 5 1/2 hours to descend. We enjoyed the beautiful views of the summit for 1/2 an hour and enjoyed some Oskar Blues in Lyons, afterwards. Tough day but I think she‘s ready for Rainier now! Good luck everyone! God Bless! John #6
|2015-01-13||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: We summited Longs via the Keyhole Route around 3:30pm on Tuesday. It was spitting snow and crampons are definitely useful to get up the final slabs to the summit. Rime ice and light snow cover the rocks above 13k making for a slick ascent. One word of caution....There is a wind loaded slope on the Ledges section of the route right below the start to the NW couloir. We descended approximately 100 feet on rocks to avoid this slope and gain the trough. We camped at a boulder outcropping lower in the trough and exited via Glacier Gorge the next day. The exit to the Gorge is straightforward, and we encountered a snowshoe trail pretty quickly in the valley.
|2015-01-10||Route: Chasm Lake
Info: Per Tom Pierce‘s description, no floatation needed. Packed snow/ice so spikes might be handy. Final slope over to Chasm bench was a little suspect, so we turned back. Quick pit revealed 10" wind slab on 2-3" sugar, on top of another 10" consolidated layer then soil. Didn‘t isolate column for compression, but if you head out, be aware and tread lightly!!!
|2014-12-31||Route: Chasm Meadows
Info: OK, so Chasm Meadows isn‘t a route up, but there was no other option for a simple trail report up to past Chasm Junction; we were planning on ice climbing in the area but ran short of time. So: The standard Longs Peak trail is in fine shape, but fully snow packed. No need for snow shoes in the morning, but we wore them anyway for the traction. Here‘s the interesting thing: IMO the normal winter shortcut from the lightning sign to Jim‘s Grove isn‘t laid out all that well this year. It starts past the sign (usually in my experience it starts just before) and it meanders too much in the thicker trees. OK but not great. Once to Jims Grove the trail is, as usual, pretty packed and wind blasted. From Chasm Junction over to Chasm Meadows (same as the approach for the Loft Route/Chasm Lake) the snow is deeper in spots, snow shoes were helpful but not critically important. Note: That problematic slope before you get to the lake is problematic as usual. Loaded at 34 degrees, but we experienced no signs at all of instability; well compacted but full disclosure we did not dig a pit. We did, however, use steep slope protocol (one at a time, watch your buddy, etc.). We also crossed that slope with snow shoes, which was OK, but it was so densely compacted in spots that kicking steps probably made more sense. Finally, there is a nice series of shortcuts on the descent through the trees to the TH, eventually it links you up with the old Goblins Grove shortcut directly to the TH. Saves a bit of time, I believe, and in winter no issue with trail erosion. Have fun, be safe. -Tom
|2014-12-11||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Weather hovered in the high twenties and low thirties today, with no substantial winds to speak of, even near the summit. The various sections of the Keyhole route were quite a bit more navigable than they were last winter, with very little snow and much bare rock to walk/scramble on. Forest section: packed-in trail, traction devices not necessary. Boulder field: not much snow between the boulders. Lots of hopping around on bare rock required. Ledges: small amount of snow in sections, most of it easily avoided. I used microspikes in a few spots, and my ice axe was helpful as a confidence booster in one short section of snow. A trekking pole without a snow basket would have served just as well, probably. Trough: I clambered up almost entirely on bare rock, though one could likely approach the right side of the trough as a pure snow climb at the moment. My microspikes and ice axe proved helpful in a handful of spots, especially on the descent. The Narrows: some steep sections of consolidated snow definitely warrant the use of an ice axe here, and crampons would have been nice in place of microspikes. The Homestretch: so little snow that this climb was almost entirely on bare rock. What little snow there is can be avoided without difficulty. In summary, bag your winter ascent soon! Weather is pleasant right now, and the route is in remarkably easy condition considering it‘s winter. For equipment, make sure you have some form of traction for the upper sections, and carry either an ice axe or a trekking pole that could help brace you against a slip during the traverse of a few short but steep sections of snow.
|2014-12-06||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Forest section: 100% pack powder. Well traveled trail. No traction device needed. Above the tree line to Keyhole section: Patches of snow here and there. No traction device needed. NOTE: The flat section, about ~.5 mile just before the campground can be very icy and slippery. Microspikes are very useful, but not necessary. The ledge: Almost snow covered (~90%). Deep powder, but not very packed nor icy. Steel crampons and ice axes are HIGHLY recommended. The trough: Deep powder, ~70%. Steel crampons and ice axes are highly recommended. The narrow: 10% snow covered, keep the crampons on. The home stretch: barely any snow, keep the crampons on.
|2014-10-25||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Climbed the Keyhole route up Longs this morning. As Carl said in last week‘s conditions report, there is pretty minimal snow on the trail from the trailhead to the boulderfield. Once past the Keyhole, we were hiking on snow for just about the rest of the route. The Ledges section was nearly all covered in powdery snow, and we put on microspikes right away for traction. Past that, the Trough held variable snow, ranging from totally loose to quite firm, and there was generally more snow on the right side. Overall, I found that the right side (more snow) was better for climbing, instead of having to deal with the loose snow-covered rocks. The Narrows held firm snow for most of the traverse, and again, I found that traction (microspikes) and an axe were important to have on this section. Above that, the Homestretch was fairly straight-forward as there was a pretty continuous stretch of snow that allowed for a consistent boot pack all the way to the top. Overall, this was an awesome climb and the most fun I‘ve had on Longs! Essential gear included gaiters, axe, and microspikes (didn‘t carry crampons, although as more snow accumulates and gets wind packed, these will become more valuable). Also, on a warm day like today (high of 50 degrees on the peak), watch out for rapidly softening snow in areas like the Narrows and Homestretch which receive more sunshine.
|2014-10-19||Route: The Notch
Info: The Notch in October is a pretty interesting route, and more challenging than anything I have done to date. Most of my photos from technical sections are either blurry from water and sweat or I didn‘t take any because the climbing was fantastic. The hike up to the base of Lamb‘s Slide has some unconsolidated snow, but overall wasn‘t very bad. We geared up at the base of Lamb‘s Slide, and found it to be in very good condition. There was some sinking in the snow, but overall it was very good quality to the Broadway exit. Broadway was much, much easier than I thought it would be. With snow all the way across, we were able to traverse above the "step around move" to the base of the Notch without roping up. The beginning of the Notch had the worse snow of the entire route. It was deep sugar, and made for a tough 100 vertical feet. Past this bad snow though, the fun began. The notch couloir itself is in pretty awesome shape right now. It is a mixture of 60 degree neve, WI 2+, alpine ice, and contained 3 rock/ice steps to surmount. We roped up for 2 short sections, and in hindsight should have roped the whole thing, but the climbing was so great we soloed most of it. Once at the dogleg right the ice mixture subsided, and it was back to snow and rock. This required 2 short roped pitches up to the base of the final 5.4 pitch. First, let me say that this is not 5.4 in these conditions. We had made great time all day by soloing most of the route, but in these conditions, the final pitch took us 2.5 hours. I would grade it M4 as some of the upper ice was crap, and we had to dry tool across a slab. From here, the slabs to the summit ridge were dry and it was class 3 all the way up. We made the summit at 4:15, and descended the North Face. Overall, it was a fun, very long day in the mountains. I would recommend this route to anyone looking for a challenging mixed route up Long‘s this fall.
|2014-10-18||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Very minimal snow until keyhole. From keyhole to summit 80% of route is snow and rock/snow mix. Ice axe and mountaineering boots were useful but didn‘t need crampons since snow warmed up. I don‘t like to get up before sunrise.
|2014-10-04||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Hiked the loft today. Lots of ice near the ledge at the top. Super sketchy without crampons. Piece of cake with crampons. Snow on ledge is hard and easily possible. Keplingers couluor in good shape. Crossing to homestretch crampons advised due to ice but passible without. Homestretch some snow/ice but not much. Narrows easily passible but again wish I had the comfort of crampons. Loft has a bit of snow to deal with, ledges some snow easily passible. Nothing to worry bout. Good luck before the new_t storm. Just remember crampons advised any route. Get up there tomorrow!
|2014-09-25||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: No snow until 1/4 way up trough, and it is mainly on the right side. Some spots are slick but it was avoidable. At the exit of the trough if you work your way to the far left there is a small crack/gully that will allow a safer accent over the crest, and avoid the icy run-off. The norrows was clear and homestretch was wet but very easy to avoid the areas of concern. Conditions were beautiful!
|2014-09-20||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Everything is clear as of 9/20/14 up to the Keyhole and Ledges. Narrows are good to go as well. Very little snow/ice in the Trough, and easy to avoid. The Homestretch is clear as well. I brought an ice ax and microspikes, but did not need them today.
|2014-09-17||Route: Keyhole Ridge
Info: Climbed the first two pitches of Keyhole Ridge today. The first pitch was considerably more snowy than it appeared from below - this made for some sketch-tastic snow smears. We bailed at the top of the first tower upon seeing the approach slabs to the third pitch (after the ledge traverse) completely iced over - it may be possible to pick an ice free path but one was not immediately obvious to us. We bailed from the same anchor most use to rap to the traverse ledge (one 30m rap plus some spicy downclimbing gets you to the standard route). The bomb jug block that might be used for a down climb (directly below the rap tat) is loose and ready to go with a good solid tug. I wouldn‘t recommend yarding on this thing too hard. Perhaps the snow/ice will melt away soon but the slabs below the third pitch got direct sun for less than 30 min (we actually sat and waited hoping for a miracle). North face route/raps looked icy
|2014-09-14||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: attempted the Loft on Sunday. There was too much ice in the ledge traverse to the left to get out of the couloir safely, so we bailed...
|2014-09-13||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Ledges have small patches of ice that are easily avoided. On the upper part of the Trough there is a good amount of snow. Narrows/Homestretch has some solid patches of ice. I used microspikes from about the middle of the Trough to the summit and they worked fine. The wind was out of control on Saturday which definitely made things interesting.
|2014-09-13||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Attempted Meeker and Longs by the Loft couloir today. The ramp from the couloir to the Loft is completely impassable due to thick ice. It would be possible, albeit dicey, with crampons. The route was totally snow free up until the ramp exiting the couloir.
|2014-09-03||Route: Loft and Keyhole
Info: The weather was gorgeous today. No clouds; but some patchy wind gusts of perhaps 40mph. The wind didn‘t bother me too much; but it caused multiple parties I talked with to turn around before summitting. My buddy and I hiked up via the Loft. There were a few patches of ice in the Loft Couloir which we avoided; but at the cost of having to do some class 4 moves with a bit more exposure than might be considered the minimum amount for this route. We reached the summit at 8:45 after 5 hours of hiking. We descended via the Keyhole and there wasn‘t ice in the Narrows that I can recall. Of course, it looks like there are storms moving in for the next several days so the beautiful conditions I had today are subject to change.
|2014-09-01||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Climbed the Loft and descended the Keyhole today, and the Loft proved to be the much easier route. The trough, narrows, and homestretch have 1-3" of snow and there is plentiful ice to be wary of. Descending this was very tedious; microspikes would have been very helpful. The Loft has some ice, but it is easily avoided unlike on the Keyhole. I would venture that both routes will require some sort of traction within a week or so.
|2014-08-30||Route: North Face (Cables)
Info: Cables route has a significant amount of ice. The ice is not thick enough to warrant crampons or screws for protection, but not thin enough to melt during the day. Ice may compromise protection that you place. A group ahead of us bailed after about 25 feet because of the ice. Leader bailed about 75 feet up the first pitch because there was a rock obstacle that was iced over. The crack that he wanted to use for protection was "choked with ice". He thought he might have been able to aid over the obstacle, but ran out of gear because we were planning on summer conditions based on some previous reports. Moving out onto the slab was no go because water was running down it, increasing the likelihood of a fall (and again he was already quite a ways above his last piece of protection). If you decide to go, bring extra gear so that you can place more protection and/or aid over this section. It‘s not all bad news... A group of two soloed the Cables today. They managed to get around the aforementioned obstacle by traversing far to the right over a much more exposed area. However they looked pretty committed once they traversed around (i.e. they could not turn around). It seems like it will take at least a few consecutive days of warm temps with no precipitation to get the Cables back to drier conditions.
|2014-08-29||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: The week of recent precipitation covered the last portion of the boulder field in snow and ice, making even that portion slippery and time consuming. It had melted off by late morning, but we opted to not attempt the route after the keyhole. It appeared the higher portions of the rest of the route were spotted with snow and frost. We were concerned that the homestretch would be wet and icy. Several hikers proceeded on, however I‘m unsure if they summited or not. Reports from climbers attempting the cables route indicated that route too was icy. It‘s Autumn in the mountains!