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 Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
 Post Date:  04/30/2013 Modified: 05/01/2013
 Date Climbed:   04/29/2013
 Posted By:  pioletski
 Additional Members:   jcwhite, lodgling

 Long's Peak, home of the World Billygoating Championship   

Climb and ski/rock ski descent of Long's Peak, 4/29/2013
Ascent via North Face, descent via Keplinger's Couloir into Wild Basin
Crew: Jordan (jcwhite), Rob (lodgling), Matt (pioletski)


The moon was a ghostly galleon, toss'd on a stormy sea...


EDIT: That's "upon cloudy seas." Thanks cftbq...

Three o'clock in the morning comes awfully early when the logistics of the previous day have dictated a lot of driving and little sleep. We've all been there before, however, and we all know how much better we feel once we get moving.

Image
photo: Jordan White


Rob, Jordan and I set off up the familiar Long's Peak trail under a clear sky. The waning gibbous moon was so bright that we didn't need our headlamps much of the way, even in the forest. Time and distance seem to go quickly while traveling at night; sunrise found us at the Boulderfield...

Image
photo: Jordan White


... and painted the north face of Long's with a rosy glow.

Image
photo: Matt


We expected a clear but breezy day. Breezy by Long's Peak standards, that is. At this point we were probably feeling gusts of about 50 mph. One surprised Jordan and me and knocked both of us right off our feet, much to Rob's amusement.

Image
photo: Matt


Note Jordan's broad smile (and the Keyhole in the background)...

Image
photo: Matt


... even if, 75% of the time, things looked more like this:

Image
photo: Matt


We skinned up to a point perhaps a hundred feet below Chasm View and then paused to don crampons and break out the axes.

Image
photo: Jordan White


In a brief break from the wind, we scrambled up the technical portion of the climb. (Jordan, again, demonstrates his mastery with the camera.)

Image
photo: Jordan White


Did I mention that it was windy? I'm not sure, but I think this is me on the upper face, plastering myself against the snow to avoid being blown off the mountain:

Image
photo: Jordan White


But we kept at it, and attained the summit at 10:00 am. Here Rob's skins flail in the wind:

Image
photo: Matt


Jordan, doing one of the things he does best:

Image
photo: Matt


After a brief stay on the summit we geared up to ski. We were pleased to find snow at the summit, and the Homestretch was plastered with wind-hammered snow.

Image
photo: Jordan White


Skiing the Homestretch. Matt:

Image
photo: Jordan White


Image
photo: Jordan White


Rob. This guy is an amazing T-marker:

Image
photo: Jordan White


Image
photo: Jordan White


Unfortunately, what we couldn't see from the summit was the big patch below the Homestretch that had been blown clear of snow. Hence the World Billygoating Championship, in which we took the team division. This involved the traverse from the Homestretch to the top of Keplinger's plus a couple of short sections below. Rob's picture shows Jordan standing on bare rock:

Image
photo: Rob Steinmetz


The lower 2/3 of the couloir were nicely filled in:

Image
photo: Matt


We skied down to Keplinger's Lake and stopped to refuel for the long exit from Wild Basin.

EDIT: Geographical mistake. This isn't actually Keplinger's Lake, it's a small tarn at the foot of the couloir... where, logically, you would expect to find a lake of that name...

Note in Rob's picture that I'm still wearing a hat and windbreaker despite the sun; the wind was still howling around us even down here at timberline. Normally we would be stripping down to T-shirts by now:

Image
photo: Rob Steinmetz


Looking back up. Most of the couloir is nicely filled in, but there are prominent bare patches!

Image
photo: Matt


Heading down to the Wild Basin TH, we were on snow at first, then deep mashed potatoes, then dirt; we were down at 2:00 pm.

Jordan, great to see you again; Rob, nice to meet you! Thanks for joining me on this adventure. And thank you for reading.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (11)
Carl


..     2013-04-30 13:42:18
Well done gents! Matt said it was windy when we spoke last night but the pics really confirm that. Looks like ya'll really wanted this one. Way to earn it. And the rocky sections look minimal.

Rob - When folks have to describe what is depicted in your photos perhaps it's time to upgrade cameras . Glad to hear you were able to get Longs


cftbq


Very nice!     2013-04-30 13:53:47
I believe it's actually ”toss'd upon cloudy seas.” Long way back to the car...


Bean


.     2013-04-30 13:59:49
Way to get it done. Curious, why the Keplinger's descent instead of the north face?


USAKeller


Nice job gentleman!     2013-04-30 15:57:27
Matt, you've got to be close by now! Nice TR!


Elliot


Congrats on one closer to the goal!     2013-04-30 17:56:21
Im sure you will be glad to be done with the 14ers. The transition into a conditions oriented skier should be an easy one.


pioletski


Thanks y'all     2013-05-01 08:01:38
cftbq - you're right of course, thanks!

Mike - Basically my decision. The Homestretch looked great from above and I was interested in skiing Keplinger's. With better beta we might have skied the North Face instead - let me know when you want to do that...

Caroline - yep, 6 to go.

Elliot - You mean there are people who ski for the sake of the skiing?!


benners


Another one Down     2013-05-01 08:21:35
Nice job Matt and crew. Glad to see Longs filled in enough for you to get it this year!


Elliot


North Face     2013-05-01 08:33:54
Did you rope up through the cables or would that be more just needed to descend? All in all pretty sweet this line filled in this year. The new snow should keep the dust at bay. Hope you can crush a few more this spring.


KansasBoarder


Getting closer...     2013-05-01 10:43:11
Way to knock that one out, in spite of the ground blizzard. GRIT!

Perhaps more impressive is your relatively fast exit through Wild Basin. That place is spectacular country, though not always the most trivial through which to travel


Gueza


Great work guys!     2013-05-01 19:34:07
That pic of looking up the North Face with all that wind and blowing snow is awesome


Kevin Baker


Keplingers     2013-05-02 06:44:23
Good work, guys. I was curious as to what you felt snow conditions were like on the ledge traverse from the Homestretch to Keplingers. I was up there on Sat and we turned around below the Notch where the route traverses over to the Homestretch. We ran out of time anyway (came from Meeker), but didn't feel comfortable climbing a wind loaded section to exit the couloir.



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