| Longs via old cables route
Decided to keep it local this weekend and tried a different route up Longs Pk. My original intent was to not go to sleep, leave Golden by 12am friday and be on the trail by 1:30am. Yeah Right. I got a few hours of sleep in a bed, actually took a shower, which was a first for me before a 14er and left Golden by 3am, on the trail no later than 4:30am (which was my latest start thus far on Longs).
I was feelin real good this morning and since Caroline (USAKeller) introduced me to Cliff shot bloks to me, I tried a few different flavors and am a big fan, they seemed to give me some nice boosts of energy too. Anyways, I was at the junction about 1:20 later then to the boulderfield a little over 2 hours later. I peeled off of the standard keyhole route just before the campsites in the boulderfield and headed pretty much directly for the chasm view notch (south) around 13,500 feet. It didnt take long to get to the notch and I was presented with one of the more amazing views I've ever seen on any 14er. Below me was a couple thousand vertical feet and when I mean vertical, I mean when I threw a rock down, it didnt hit anything for a couple seconds. The view of the Diamond really blew me away and I had the privalege of watching some climbers going right up the middle (a girl descending referred to it as the "casual route"??). After taking a break, I started up the old Cables route (North Face). The beginning of the route had a few very low 5th class moves, more like tough class 4 moves. To be perfectly honest, I didn't feel like I encountered a 5th class move the entire face and the exposure was never too intense. I did see some remnants of the old cable hooks, which seem to be used for downclimbing. I only used them a few times to hold on to on the few tougher moves. For anyone who wants to get a decent scramble climb w/ not too much exposure, this is a solid one, with very sturdy rock, just watch out for the slippery wet slabs from time to time. This was a huge shortcut for me as well, cause I made the summit in a personal best 4 hrs flat.
Upon reaching the summit I avoided the east side where the crowds were and took a 30 minute napon the west edge (better view too). I then made it over to the east side, took some pics of meeker, chasm lake, etc and then dozed off for about 1:30 hrs. When I finally woke up, I made my descent down the Loft. The rock was loose, this is obviously a much better route for an ascent, but I made it down nevertheless. But I did miss the turn off passed the palisades, which sucked, cause I was all the way down at 11,500 feet when I finally checked my GPS. A storm was flirting with the area and I had to climb all the way back up to the saddle between Meeker and Longs. When I finally gained the saddle, I realized I was right below Meeker's southwest side and figured why not just climb it. This took about 30-40 minutes and when I got back to the saddle and began my descent down the Loft route, the sounds of distant thunder started. They never really got too bad, so I made a quick sidetrip to chasm lake, took some pics of the Diamond and really wanted to take a dip in the water, but then another sound of thunder came and it sounded closer but not overly dangerous. I decided against the dip and headed back to the junction. Ffrom there I had a surreal view of the storn rolling in, it was the highlight of the day but as much as I wanted to sit there and marvel, I knew it was time to get back.
I booked it back to the car, making for a roundtrip day of 13 hrs and 30 minutes, missing the turnoff to the Loft really added on to the day, but it was a great day regardless. With my legs pretty beat, I laid in the back of my SUV listening to some Simon and Garfunkel, since a few songs had been stuck in my head all day, until I was ready to head back. After some Illegal Pete's in Boulder, I made it back to Golden around 7pm, drank some IPA's in the safety of my living room and konked out soon after. Some pics......
Sunrise right above treeline.
View of Mummy Range
Further away view of Cables Route from the boulderfield
If you look really closely, w/ binoculars, there are some climbers right in the middle of the Diamond face. If anyone wants to do Kiener's, this provides a good vantage point as does from Chasm Lake.
Close up view of the Diamond from 13,500 ft at the Chasm View notch. This face was so god damn big, it took me 3 pics to get the wholoe thing, absolutely mesmerizing.
View of the North Face route from the base, near the notch. It was steep in spots and you had to negotiate some moves, but, if you were to slip, the exposure wasnt too bad and you'd only fall maybe 10-15 feet w/ no risk of tumbling off the mountain. There was some nice scrambling throughout, but I'd rank scrambles on the Crestones, Bells, Pyramid and Capitol too be much more interesting and exciting.
One of the cables along the route
Cables Route looking down, most of the class 4/low 5 scrambling was done by this point, just a little bit of class 3 left.
summit viewed from the west side
Storm rolling in, viewed from the junction
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):