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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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!
|2014-07-23||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Keyhole Route is completely free of snow. Biggest weather challenge was layering correctly. Ultimately ending up in t-shirt and shorts. Only (standard summer) suggestion is START EARLY. We summited at 8:15am in absolute blue and by the trailhead at 2:00pm the peak was enshrouded in dark gray and the rain started. Have fun!
|2014-07-19||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Loft route is free of snow other than the short snow field approaching Chasm Lake. No special equipment required. The reports re damage to the area around Clark‘s Arrow (http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=43840) seemed to me to be somewhat exaggerated. I found the major landmarks to be intact, and most of the info in prior trip reports regarding this part of the route should still be applicable. In any case, it‘s still a relatively straightforward class 3 down climb.
|2014-07-19||Route: Lamb's Slide to Loft/upper Keplinger
Info: 1) Approach: The NPS-described "treacherous snowfield" on the Chasm Lake trail is indeed there, and not an exaggeration. While very short (less than 100 feet), the snow crossing is a tiny (6 inches or so) foot ledge, frozen solid in the predawn hours, on a steep slope with a nasty runout, and a slip would make for a really unfortunate start to your day. Don‘t be lazy, and get out your axe and traction! Microspikes are a good way to make this crossing both safe and fast. If this is your first time, going around the right side of Chasm Lake will almost certainly take longer than you expect, especially in the dark. If you look carefully, you‘ll find something of a use trail to help you find the easiest way. 2) Lamb‘s Slide: We started climbing around 5:45 AM. Conditions varied from step kickable-snow to very firm, thick, icy crust. The icier sections required some care, but it never really gets very steep, and we didn‘t feel the need for a belay. Confident snow/ice climbers should be OK with an alpine axe and crampons; some may want a second tool. I‘d estimate the average angle at around 35 degrees, with the steeper parts around 40. The continuous snow ends where Lamb‘s Slide meets the Flying Dutchman. From there you have a choice of either crossing another snowfield above the Dutchman, or going around and below it on loose, but easy talus, to the final 100 or so feet of 2nd/easy 3rd class to the Loft. 3) The Loft to Keplinger‘s: Part of the slope leading to the location of the former Clark‘s Arrow has seen recent rockfall activity (likely the same that caused the Arrow‘s demise). Accidentally entering one of the recently-created rockfall chutes, I dislodged a microwave-sized boulder that came within an inch of crushing my foot. If you stay to descender‘s right (as my wife did, wisely) you avoid the need to go into the chutes, and thus avoid the worst of the choss. The Clark‘s Arrow traverse is still reasonably well-cairned. If you don‘t see the cairns, just head towards the base of the prominent buttress on descender‘s right: the route skirts just under the buttress. Take care to keep following the cairns across the boulder-strewn slope, and don‘t be tempted to ascend too soon: we made this mistake and ended up several hundred feet above the actual route. The "chimney downclimb" didn‘t feel too difficult (just a couple of third-class moves). The Keplinger Couloir is straightforward and mostly pretty solid if you stay on the big blocks. There are some wet sections, and also a bit of ice just below the junction with the Homestretch on the Keyhole; this ice can easily be avoided if care is taken. 4) Descent: We descended the Keyhole. As expected, there were 100s of people on it, so I‘ll leave it to someone else to describe the conditions there. In summary, this is a great option for a big mountaineering adventure on Longs, taking you on a full circumnavigation of the mountain, with great variety of terrain, views, and difficulty. No technical gear except for snow climbing equipment, and a helmet, should be necessary. Enjoy!
|2014-07-13||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: To bring a helmet or not to bring a helmet... that is the question. Bring a helmet! I didn‘t walk on snow. Crampons and axe would have been extra weight. Didn‘t have a drop on water in the pack until treeline - good water sources are available up to there to filter. Above treeline you‘ll see a few little streams. Overall good hike. If you see the weather move in come back another day! Descending from the summit would be pretty crappy if it‘s raining! At 9am yesterday some water was on the homestretch. (Last part before the summit) I was fine to down climb as a rock climber, but most people were on their first 14er and have never rock climbed. Stay out of the water on angled rock!!!! Can‘t stress that enough!! Have fun climbing!! Also, I‘ve attached the lower topo from 14ers.com and put red dots where solid water sources would be found. At 10,600 feet there‘s a stream crossing and just below 11,000 feet you‘ll see a stream coming down from Jim‘s Grove 30 feet to your right. Jim‘s grove has tons of standing water and tons of bushes if bushwhacking is your thing... The boulder field has another stream crossing as the second map shows, but it‘s very little water and by 11,000 feet I needed a drink of water anyway. Hope this helps!
|2014-07-12||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Summer conditions on keyhole
|2014-07-09||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: No gear needed for full ascent/descent on Keyhole route. Snow/ice melted in trough enough to avoid without going off-route.
|2014-07-07||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: Apparently Clark‘s Arrow was swept away in the floods last September. More info here: http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=43840
|2014-07-05||Route: Keyhole Route
Info: Solo trip to longs started at 12:45, back at 9:00 went through the keyhole lots of black ice due to my 5:30 summit time. The route can almost be done without winter gear, just more scrambling on the left side.i used my crampons anyway only for the top section of the trough. Not to mention the ever so slightest snow dusting on the summit
|2014-07-02||Route: Lamb\'s Slide
Info: We started at the base of Lamb‘s Slide around 7:45 AM. The snow was not soft at all. We had good cramponing all the way up. We were climbing along the climber‘s left in the couloir. There were some sections of hard snow/ice, but overall awesome couloir climbing conditions. The couloir was in shade for the most part. We topped out at 10:00 AM. The snow slope from the top of Lamb‘s to the loft was not too soft. We descended down the ramp and loft couloir. Finding the ramp wasn‘t too difficult. There are three snow patches at the top of loft forming a triangle - from there you can follow the cairns to the ramp. The ramp begins at the lowest of the three grassy ledges. Crossing the big boulder on the ramp was tricky - some snow/ice around and below it. I crossed fromm the front and jumped on the snow. My partner crossed from behind icy section. From there we had to do some exposed class 3/class 4 down climbing to avoid snow in the couloir. overall a great day. Contrary to what people are saying we found the snow to be not too soft in couloirs till about 10:00 AM. I had to down climb a small section of the snow in loft couloir to avoid exposed class 4 in my mountaineering boots, and the snow was not too soft. Overall a great day. The Dutchman may not be in shape.
|2014-06-30||Route: Loft - via East Longs Trailhead
Info: I climbed Longs and Meeker using the Loft route for the ascent and the Keyhole route for the descent. While I had crampons and an ax, I used neither for the ascent. You still have to cross a couple of sketchy snow gullies near Chasm Lake, but most people are just using trekking poles. The rest of the snow you have to cross is very low angle and just short patches between rocks. I was able to climb on dry rocks left of the Loft couloir all the way up to the exit ramp. When you link up with the Homestretch section, just stay to climbers right of the snow/ice and you can climb all the way to the summit on dry rock. I decided to descend via the Keyhole route and regretted it - more for its tediousness, than the conditions (the Loft is a lot more fun). While there are still many sections of snow and ice, you can avoid most of it by careful scrambling. I wore my crampons for only a 20 foot section of the Trough. It‘s probably still a good idea to bring an ax and crampons for the near future.
Info: Trail is completely dry with two very small snow patches near treeline. We did the entire approach to lambslide and the descent from below the N. Face in trail runners. Lambslide was a little soft at 6am given no recent freezes. We did not use crampons on broadway as the snow is almost entirely avoidable (excepting the short down climb). The step around is dry. Snow at the base of the notch was very soft at 8:00 and Kieners chimneys were wet and muddy - a snorkle would be useful. Snow on upper Kieners was too soft to travel on by 10:00 but easy enough to avoid with rock scrambling to climbers right. Snow was very soft on the descent of the north face and the cables route is a river.
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.