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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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!
|2014-08-18||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: I hit the long‘s keyhole route and it was a great time, not overly crowded. HOWEVER* I was told to leave the trailhead between 12a-2a to beat the crowds thru the trough. Myself, along with about 6 other hikers, all who left the t.h. between 1a-2:15a, ended up at the keyhole before 4:30a. The sun did not give enough light to move thru the keyhole until after 5:30a, and it‘s rising later everyday. We sat as a frozen cold and highwind blown group of miserable anxious hikers for over an hour, some of us close to two hours. At the keyhole the wind was ripping and the rocks were freezing cold still. I would say, plan accordingly to your hiking pace and sunrise for the day, check mileage, and hit the Keyhole within half an hour of sunrise. That would leave plenty of time to get up and off before noon yet still give the opportunity to be an early riser and even let the rock warm up a bit.
|2014-08-12||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Beautiful Day on Longs. Made it to the parking lot at 3:30 AM and I‘m pretty sure I got the last spot, so get there early! Almost full moon made hiking in the dark pleasant. There was no ice anywhere along the route, and the weather was fantastic, making for a very low stress day. Lots of people and the trough though, and falling rocks made me nervous a couple of times, so a helmet in this portion is a good idea. On a sour note, the amount of trash that my friend and I found filled up both of our backpacks. Other than that, conditions were just about perfect!
|2014-08-07||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Just summited my first 14er! Read the conditions report from 8/2/14 and wanted to post an update for all who are looking at Longs. Left the Trailhead at 4:15am, thought this might be too late but hiked and climbed strong, made the Keyhole by 7:15 and the summit by 9:15. However from talking with others on the summit many left at 2am, so take care to think about how fast/slow you might go to determine your trailhead start time. Also, a storm rolled in by 9:30, with snow and rain quickly making our descent a bit slippery. Always be prepared with rain and jacket gear, as it got down to 45F in a hurry, really cold rain. Due to the wet rock a girl ahead of us slipped and hit her head, and clearly had a concussion. All of us rallied to help her down, a testament to the greatness of people. I also saw many people continuing up in spite of the slippery rock and deeper storm clouds coming in. Some others turned back...storm clouds roll in very fast on Longs. IMHO Longs is a challenging but doable 14er, go with respect and confidence but stay within yourself and you will be safe. There is very little ice left, but any precipitation will make the rock slick and very challenging if not dangerous. Ended up doing a 10 hour round trip, including dealing with a traffic jam on the way down and waiting to make sure Forest Rangers got to this girl‘s help. For those who are not used to technical trail/rock, prepare for a slow long day, and an amazing view and experience! Well worth it!!!
|2014-08-02||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Longs Peak has been one of those Peaks that i‘ve always wanted to summit. Growing up going to the National Park with my family, and seeing it towering over everything in site made the desire increase even more. August 2nd my brother and I got to the Longs Peak Trailhead at 2:30am, the parking lot was stacked full but we managed to find one open spot at the end of the lot. Hiking with headlamps made the trek through the tree line and initial tundra section fly by. By 5:40 (sunrise) we were at the Keyhole, made some coffee and ate a simple breakfast. Watching the Sun rise over Mt. Lady Washington was by far on the most memorable experiences i‘ve ever had in my years hiking. By 6:30am we were energized and ready to make the rest of the ascent to Longs summit. Trekking through the ledges was an easy task. Follow the bullseye‘s exactly as their marked and you‘ll have no problem (a few slick slabs of granite, so watch your step.) Next was the Trough, it was definitely a bit more steep than I had envisioned it being, but it honestly wasn‘t as hard as it looks. It takes time, and their were quite a few patches of snow and ice that had formed, but they were easily avoidable. The Narrows section was next, and this is where things for us got a bit sketchy. Water from the previous days melt, had frozen that night along the left side, and their were patches of snow throughout this section. We took it extra slow, found solid hand holds before making our next move, and eventually made it to the home stretch section at 8:00am. So this is the section that I must give much warning too. As of yesterday, August 2nd, the homestretch was dangerously covered in patches of black ice. No snow, but lots of ice throughout this part. I don‘t think we would have even attempted this part had not so many people already been doing so. It seemed like every other person was turning back, but at the same time, there seemed to be plenty of people going up. We followed a crack up the right side of the home stretch, as it provided plenty of hand holds. About half way up, a girl descending began to slide down the granite face. She made it about 15 feet, before she finally grabbed a rock. Everyone around us, including ourselves felt the weight of what we were really doing. By 8:30 we reached the Summit, and marveled at the incredible view of the Front Range, Longs Provides. Knowing that we had to descend what we just went up. By 9:00am we decided to head back down, as the sun had finally made it way over the summit and was heating up the homestretch. Inch by inch was crawled down the homestretch, carefully finding adequate foot holds. There was an Exodus of climbers heading down with us, and thus we relayed information to each other of where ice was, where to put our feet and so on. I will add that some, not all of the ice was beginning to melt by 9:15 or so... It took us a good 2 hours to make it back to the Keyhole, partly because of the amount of people heading down, but majorly because of the conditions that we were all working with. One climber behind us remarked "this is more dangerous than winter hiking right now, at least in the winter you have the appropriate gear and are prepared for those conditions, here we are all prepared for summer hiking and just have hiking boots on." The Trough down to the Trailhead was easy, but we felt fortunate to be safe, okay and to have summited it. I‘m only writing this because the most current report that we got before heading out, was that there was not signs of snow or ice along the hike. We prepared accordingly for those conditions, and experienced quite the opposite. Its a hike worth doing for sure, just make sure your prepared for a variety of conditions.
|2014-07-27||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Made a journey up the Loft route and descended the Keyhole on Sunday (7/27). Of course, all the campgrounds nearby were full when I arrived Saturday afternoon, so I drove a few miles south of the TH and turned left on CO-82 (Cabin Creek Rd.) and drove a few miles out and found some dispersed camping. Guns and hooligans on four-wheelers -- not a peaceful night. Getting to the base of the Loft ramp and climbing the initial ramp is easy.. Towards the top where it cliffs out is where the fun begins. According to the description on this site there is a class 3 set of ledges that will take you to the top. Well I found many ledges, but ended up free soloing some 5th class rock with about 50 feet of air below my feet and it got a little intense. Snow at the top of the ramp is not an issue. Once on the loft the difficulties are not over. I did not see Clark‘s Arrow when making my down climb/traverse but then I did not look hard for it. The route finding is fairly easy to get over to Keplinger‘s couloir and eventually to the base of the homestretch. Tons of amazing scrambling is to be had in that area and it can be as difficult as you make it. I chose to climb some 4th class rock leading up to the homestretch and bypassed most of the herds of people on the homestretch by climbing some exhillerating 4th class lines up to the right side of the homestretch. The only issues on the route are some areas where water is seeping out making the rock slippery. mostly can be avoided. I chose to descend the Keyhole route for two reasons, one that I had never been on that route, and two because I definitely did not want to down climb those cliffs at the top of the Loft couloir. Maybe it was a mistake because as I learned the trail from the Keyhole to the TH is much much longer and more tiresome than the trail from the base of the Loft couloir to the TH. Oh well, the Narrows section of the route was pretty epic and it was worth it. I got a full tour of the mountain!