Due to a relatively dry winter, Longs Peak has much less snow and ice on it than usual for this time of year. However, the trough still has a considerable amount of snow and ice, I found it to be easier to use spikes and an axe and follow the snow up. This time, being the fourth time I've climbed Longs is the earliest I've climbed it by more than a month.
I started off from the Longs Peak Rangers Station at 2:40 AM, a time I would recommend for anyone wishing to reach the summit and avoid afternoon storms on the way down. It took one hour to reach tree line and then another hour to reach the boulder field. There was very little snow below the Keyhole, extra traction would not be necessary. I was a little worried about the gusts I encountered at the Keyhole, but they disappeared as I moved onto the Ledges
On the Ledges at sunrise, no snow..
The Trough was the only place where snow became an issue. It is possible to make it up the trough without any ice gear at all, but I found it to be much faster and easier to stick to the snow and use an axe and microspikes
The part of the Trough with the most snow.. The narrows were ice-free, however the home stretch had a few icy spots. Be careful, the ice on the home stretch is sometime difficult to see and is incredibly slippery, slipping on the home stretch can be disastrous. The very top of the marked trail up the home stretch was completely covered with sheet-ice, but there was an easy way around it to the right
Sheet ice at the top of the Home Stretch..
Made it to the summit by 6:15 AM, there was no wind at all, and I had the entire place to myself. It may have been the most peaceful summit experience I've ever had.
Longs from the Boulderfield on the way down.