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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
Info: THIS REPORT IS NOT FOR THE STANDARD ROUTE! Trail is completely clear (minus a couple drifts near treeline) up until after Chasm junction, then there were a couple snowfields to cross before Chasm lake. Snow was firm in the morning and slick. You may still find some solid snow/ice around the north side of Chasm lake, but we did some boulder hopping part of the way around. Lamb‘s Slide was in great shape. Broadway had a couple sections of snow which we protected, though if you are very comfortable with snow there are good steps. You can walk right across the bottom of the Notch couloir, completely dry within 10/20 feet of the cliff edge. The crux chimneys were mostly dry with one very wet section to get out onto the upper slopes. Upper slopes do have snow, but we skirted around the left side on mostly class 3, some class 4 rock. Diamond step completely dry. For descent, North Face has a large snowfield to cross before the slabs. We used axes/crampons. There were a couple icy sections and an uncontroled slide would send you over the Diamond or the slabs. The rappels were very wet. Hike out sucks, as always.
|2014-06-21||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Went up the Keyhole Route on Saturday 6/21. Snow is a non-factor up to the Keyhole, then you can easily scramble to the False Keyhole without gear. After the False Keyhole there is some steep and icy snow with major consequence if one falls, I used crampons/ice axe through this section, though good steps do exist and two others made it through without gear. The Trough is mostly snow with quite a bit of ice forming on the slabs to the climbers left. Crampons and ice axe required for the snow in the AM as it stayed hard until at least 9:30am. The step at the top of the Trough is melting out and is mostly a rock scramble unfortunately, snow doesn‘t help much anymore. The Narrows are 80% snow free and most of it could be avoided EXCEPT for one 5ft patch of ice and another 30ft of hard snow/ice, I wore crampons all the way across the traverse. The Homestretch is mostly covered in snow/ice and again used crampons/ice axe all the way. Narrows might be clear in the next few weeks, but the Trough and Homestretch will probably be technical at least into July from my experience. See photos for exact conditions.
|2014-06-20||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Went up via the Loft route and back down the Keyhole. The snow on the Couloirs is still pretty great and held firm throughout a sunny morning. On the ledges, its a bit dicer, but good boot pack to follow. Crampons, ice ax, and helmet a must! This is a steep route, so be safe. Not a climb for beginners (considering all the issues people have had on Longs already this year). Coming around the beaver (SE Longs) really keep an eye out for the cairns. The class 3-4 scrambling is virtually free of ice and snow, but has some loose rock, so take precaution. Connecting back up with Keplingers Couloir, the snow was still pretty good. On the homestretch, really try to get a good firm hold with the ice ax, especially coming down when the snow gets soft. Its a bit lighter up there.
|2014-06-19||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summer conditions up until the Keyhole. Lots of snow on all aspects of the route after that. The snow had a strong overnight freeze and was very firm. I had a hard time getting good plunges with the ice axe. As per usual the narrows were the least sketchy part and the homestretch was the most sketchy. Also the north face and loft are both holding a decent amount of snow.
|2014-06-17||Route: Notch Couloir and Cables
Info: Conditions are changing quickly. With that in mind: Due to some good, recent freezes the Notch is in Prime condition. Broadway has some snow but not at any of the tricky spots. Hard styrofoam snow the entire way; even surprisingly firm near the top. The 5.5 chimney is completely smegged in ice making for a more award and tricky climb. Due to the freezing and north aspect of the Cables route our descent had hard snow as well. Lower cables was covered in ice. The snow never softened up and we had to front point for the entire descent. The keyhole may be a better descent option at the moment. Pic 1: Lower Notch Pic 2: Upper Notch Pic 3: Icy Chimney out of Notch Pic 4: Hard snow on North Face. Pic 5: Still lots of snow on the North Face.
|2014-06-16||Route: Notch Couloir and North Face
Info: The Notch couloir on the east face is still in great condition. The snow was great for kicking steps and held firm since the most of the couloir doesn‘t receive sunhit until late. The top was a bit soft. We thought the crux chimney was harder than 5.0, especially with ice. We descended the north face and the snow was still quite firm in the afternoon. We had to face in from about 200 feet below the summit to the highest rap station, an exhausting ordeal. The snow didn‘t soften much due to the wind.
|2014-06-14||Route: North Face & Keyhole
Info: For some reason I went up the North Face (Cables) and down the Keyhole both yesterday and today. Conditions are changing rapidly. The North Face was probably an ideal snow climb 5 days ago. Yesterday it was pretty good with a couple of careful steps on the cables section, and otherwise good snow right to the summit. Today the crux moves at the top of the cables section were quite icy & we had to hack some steps to be secure with running shoes and light crampons. It will probably get harder with time (mix of wet rock & ice) until it finally dries out later in the summer. But anyway the top bolt is easily visible so it‘s a fine rap route as is. The Keyhole Route is in great shape for crampons/ax. The first 200 yards from the Keyhole are rock, then it‘s almost completely good, cramponable snow to the top of the Trough, then some rocky and some snowy sections through and past the Narrows, then the Homestretch is all good firm snow. It‘s a great route in these conditions, if you bring the right tools. All this is of course changing very fast.
|2014-06-04||Route: Notch Coulior; Keyhole
Info: Climbed Longs via the Notch on 6/5 and descended the Keyhole. Here is some beta from all the different sections which we encountered. Excellent snow conditions for anyone with a mind, but the keyhole is still very, very much in snow and ice conditions. Chasm Lake: Frozen in the middle, melting out fast. We were able to traverse around the south side of the lake on snow. This may be in for a while longer. Lamb‘s Slide: Excellent booting snow. Almost no signs of rock fall or wet slide activity. Terrific purchase the length of the coulior. Broadway: Still substantial snow across the route. Multiple 45-60 degree fields to cross. Some areas had melted out, but it was almost always easier to stick to the snow. First crux move consists of a nearly vertical 10-15 foot down climb at the start of the traverse. Move around the boulder was melted well with some good pro opportunities nearby. Climbing above the boulder seemed possible, although much more involved and not worth it. Notch: Excellent snow conditions with a solid boot track in place due to several parties going up. Snow conditions varied considerably based on sun exposure, which was different due to the shaded portions of the route. By noon, the top was getting quite wet - start early. Homestretch: Terrific snow down climb the whole way on 35ish slope. Moving on the rocks is possible, but a good boot track is in place. Keplinger‘s looks in for a ways down the coulior. Skiers take note. Narrows: More snow to cross. Several spicy section for anyone without an axe or crampons. Loft: More good snow on gentler angle. Fast and easy snow down climb. Feel free to post of PM for more beta or pics. I plan on doing a TR in the coming days.
Info: Boot-packed good snow (~45 deg Lambslide and Broadway, maybe 45 with a few steeper snow steps in Notch). No ice and not yet neve. A week of warming might clear out the Broadway crux step - well protected from slung horns and a red to yellow BD in the hand crack just after (tall people could probably use the crack at the cross over). Not much instability or rock fall.
|2014-05-26||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Easily still classified as a winter climb. Broke trail from the Tundra sign this morning, but it was melted enough by noon to see the trail to the split for Chasm. Around Mt. Lady Washington and into the Boulder field was consistent shin-deep snow with no trail to follow which became progressively worse toward the end of the boulder field. At times sinking further than waist deep, was lucky enough to have met an awesome guy who broke most of the way up. The entrance to the Keyhole itself was icy and covered in snow. Past the Keyhole the bulls-eye markings were hidden as there was knee-deep powder on the ledges. Route finding was not an easy task, and in addition to the snow conditions the decision was made to turn around not far from the Keyhole.
|2014-05-18||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Full on winter conditions today. Summited via Keyhole but broke trail from Chasm Junction to summit. Drifts in Boulder Field makes for interesting post holing. Ledges, Trough, Narrows and Homestretch all covered with 1 - 3 feet of loose to thin crusted powder. Hopefully will consolidate with warmer temps
|2014-05-03||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: This update could become quickly outdated depending on this weekend‘s snowfall. Lemmiwinks and I had nothing better to do on Saturday, so we ventured through the Keyhole to find a decent amount of stable snow on the Ledges (Image #1), not much snow in the Trough (Image #2), and a decent amount of snow on the second half of the Narrows (Images #3 and #4). The Narrows are obviously passable (see existing tracks), but we were wary of the snow stability at 10am, and not willing to risk instabilities due to sun exposure while we went for the summit. Bottom line: it‘s spicy, but possibly doable if you‘re up and down early or have cold and clouds to keep the snow firm on the Narrows. I would also compare against Bill‘s route description photos 14-16 for an idea of what that snow is sitting on.
|2014-04-22||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Firm snow past the keyhole, steps you can follow but they are shallow and don‘t kick in further easily. I was comfortable not using crampons on the way up but they helped on the way down. Below the keyhole snow was slushy - started at 6AM and finished by noon, above the keyhole I‘m guessing the snow would have stayed firm longer into the afternoon with the colder temperature over 13000 feet.
|2014-03-19||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Both summer and winter short cuts pretty well beat in to tree line. Trail is (as usual) sometimes difficult to follow after that due to blowing and drifted snow. Trail is mostly visible around MLW, easy to follow. Clear sailing through boulder field. Pretty steep snowfield on the ledges which held me and others. Trough in ok shape, snow and rock as you please. Narrows mostly clear, rock, snow, and ice. Homestretch a choose your own adventure mix of snow, ice, and rock. Heard a whump from a stretch of snow near the top and got off immediately. Photos- 1. Ledges. 2. Narrows. 3. Homestretch. 4. Steep field before Trough.
|2014-02-15||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Well established boot path to treeline. Used snowshoes but others did not and got away with simple traction. Would recommend either in general, but shoes after fresh snow. Usual winter shortcuts in effect where snowshoes are helpful. Snow depth is deepest in several years this time of year. Winds are brutal this time of winter above treeline so be prepared with layers and goggles if going higher.
|2014-02-09||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: I didn‘t venture above treeline today, but what I saw of Longs Peak Trail was pretty snowy and not too tracked in, making for a calf-scorching hike in my trekking boots and microspikes. I turned around earlier than planned, sagely opting not to torture myself with further postholing and plowing the trail. On my descent from the Alpine Brook, I saw about six backcountry skiers and one hiker with snowshoes. They all seemed to be floating across the deeply powdered trail with considerably less effort than me. The snow looked gorgeous, and I can only imagine how much fun the descent must have been for anyone on skis. The weather was mild and balmy, with some snow coming down and much less wind than I‘m accustomed to enduring on Longs. If you‘re free on Monday and like to ski Longs Peak Trail, you‘re probably in for a treat.
|2013-12-30||Route: North Face/Cables
Info: Went up for a winter summit of Longs Peak today via the North Face. The trail below treeline is compacted snow(would be great skin) but snowshoe are not mandatory. At treeline used snowshoes for about .25 of a mile before stashing them for pickup on the descent. The traverse accross the lower face of Mt. Lady Washington has compacted snow but we did not punch through with mountaineering boots. travel accross the Boulder Field is straight forward (be prepared for wind) with some compact snow and ice. The North Face is in good shape. Patches of snow and ice. We used ice tools and crampons for the entire face and ended up dowing a lot of dry tooling. The path of least resistance above the bolts is easy, just follow the snow. While there was ice nothing was thick enough to get a screw into.
|2013-12-10||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Post holed to treeline. A lot of sugar snow from 2 inches to thigh high. Hope to make it higher later in the week.
|2013-11-09||Route: Cables / North Face
Info: Cables route was a fun climb, with some fun ice as well. Was concerned about the wind on the technical pitch, with NOAA saying: "Windy, with a west wind 27 to 32 mph decreasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 49 mph." It was windy in the boulderfield and during the approach, and we were prepared to turn back -- but the technical pitch had almost zero wind. We did some class 3/4 scrambling to get to the base of the technical pitch. Around and above the first eyebolt, the face of the rock was mostly covered in water ice. Ended up climbing it as a WI/mixed. Definitely felt like it was the crux in present conditions. (I would personally recommend bringing a hybrid/tool and ice climbing crampons...but depends on your comfort level I suppose.) Above that, some snow made the climbing easier until the summertime crux. The summer crux was similar to summer condition, but with some patches of ice/snow. To me, this 5.4 move felt much easier than the ice crux near the start of the climb. From there, it‘s a fairly straightforward hike to the summit.
|2013-10-23||Route: Loft and Keyhole Routes
Info: Ascended Loft Route and descended via Keyhole Route. Very nice-looking ice forming near Chasm lake. Several feet of loose snow and substantial verglas are present on the ledges where the Loft route diverges from the Loft Couloir to the climber‘s left. I climbed 4th class rock to avoid as much of this as possible and would not have relished the descent. The Loft proper and Keplinger‘s Couloir were very navigable, but the section just past that, where the route leaves Keplinger‘s Couloir and heads climber‘s left to join the Keyhole route near the Homestretch was covered in 2-4 ft of loose snow. I had to engage in uncomfortable uphill postholing and some 3rd or 4th class rock scrambling adjacent to significant exposure. Because of the steep, loose snow, I decided to forgo the Homestretch and environs, making immediate descent via the Narrows and Trough, which were full of 2-4 ft deep loose snow. The snow was quite steep in the Narrows, requiring effort to wade and step through. In the Trough, lots of shallow snow concealed steep rock, making for tremendous slip potential. Descent was very slow and deliberate. The Ledges were covered in the same loose and relatively deep snow, though certain sections were bare rock or shallow snow, which was a pleasant change of pace. Descent into the Boulderfield after the Keyhole was a little snowy, but not much of a problem. All in all, the snow is loose enough on both routes at the moment to render crampons superfluous and trekking poles a rather better option than an ax. Solid gaiters were a necessity.