| Thurs., Aug. 11, 2005 - Keyhole
... made a second ascent up Longs Peak yesterday. Even on the second go-around, the journey was still amazing ... just like seeing a really good movie again, where you see new things that you missed the first time.
2 a.m. - Hopped in the car and headed to the Longs Peak trailhead. Just our luck, it rained on us the whole way there - enough to make you wanna turn around and slip back into bed. Rain on Longs equals discomfort and danger, but we kept going in the hopes that the conditions would improve.
3 a.m. - We arrived at the trailhead and snagged one of the last remaining parking spots. At 3 a.m. last year (when the trail was rated "technical") there were only a few cars in the parking lot, but this year there were at least 20 or more.
We then blasted up through the Goblin forest under some light rain. Thankfully, it let up and the skies cleared, reminding us that, weatherwise, anything can happen in the mountains (sometimes for the better). Temps were probably in the 40s, but the muggy air made it seem warmer. I was sweating profusely. At one point we passed some resting teens that said, "You guys sure have a lot of energy." Shortly thereafter we saw a dull headlamp gaining on us. We thought it could only be one person, a friend of ours named Ryan - half man, half mountain goat. Sure enough, it was him.
6 a.m. - Hit the Boulder Field right about the time a beautiful sunrise kissed us a good morning. We continued on through the Keyhole, across the Ledges, up the laborious Trough, across the precarious Narrows, and on to the Homestretch. Recent heavy rain sent countless braids of water streaming down the Homestretch. Being wet, it became monumentally more challenging. At some points I was literally laying on my stomach and climbing with both hands and both feet ... and busting out all kinds of funky twists, pivots and turns. My wife laughed at my "style" a couple times. I had to have at least one hand in a good hold at all times because I couldnt trust my feet at all (the wet rock was very slippery).
8 a.m. - Made it to the summit. This time up I still felt a great feeling of accomplishment, but I also felt very peaceful. It was a difficult feeling to describe in words. Its a wonderful place up there. Definitely one of my favorite mountains in the world.
On our way back down, we passed a few crying/panicking people. In the Trough, everyone we passed asked about the climb to the top. They all had intense looks of exhaustion and fear, and they listened intently to every word we spoke. A couple of people asked us, "Is this the scariest part?" Unfortunately for them, it wasnt.
Even with the extended Homestretch extravaganza, we made it back to the car in 9-1/2 hours, round trip.
Awesome climb, every time.