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 Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
 Post Date:  08/27/2007 Modified: 08/28/2007
 Date Climbed:   08/25/2007
 Posted By:  runningstix

 Longs, Flatlander and all!   

After a year of planning it was finally time to face reality and set out for Longs Peak! My little sister flew in from Ohio Thursday night to attempt her first 14er. I became worried after hearing the story of the lady that had fallen 200 feet the week prior, and knowing my sister had no real hiking experience. I was very nervous for her sake and was questioning my call of Longs Peak.

Saturday morning 08/25/07 we left Denver at 8:00am to head to the ranger station to pick up our Boulderfield Permit. We arrived at the Longs Peak trailhead at about 10:06 and I could not believe how many cars we had driven by to get to the top. We got our permit and spoke with the ranger who gave us a run down of the trip we were about to take. After this we headed back up to Estes Park to get one last meal and a few supplies. We found a hole in the wall, Wapiti for lunch. After a good meal and wondering around the town it was time to head back and head to the Boulderfield.

Saturday 2:30pm we arrived back at the trailhead and were lucky enough to snag a parking spot in the parking lot. This made me happy as I knew when we were done we were really done, no additional half mile hike! The weather was beautiful, a little hot but I was not complaining. The trail is second to none that I have seen so far. Hiking through woods to the alpine tundra and finally to the dirt/rock trail. We were graced with amazing views throughout. Hiking behind my sister I just had the feeling she was going to make it. With no hiking or backpacking experience she was really looking like a champ. At the Chasm Lake turnoff I was emotionally charged back up after the amazing view of the diamond! We were getting close and even more excited. Switchback to switchback we were gaining more and more altitude and I was awaiting the view of the Keyhole for a final push of inspiration. Finally, there it was. The sight I have looked at a million times in trip reports and routes I was finally seeing for myself. Amazing! We arrived at the boulderfield camp around 7:00pm. We set up camp, had dinner, and crashed. We were in our sleeping bags by 8:30pm. Sleeping was actually not as bad as I anticipated, however the wind was rather strong at times and each time it seemed to wake me up for a few minutes.

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5:00am Sunday 08/26/07 the alarm sounded and it was up and at em for the summit push! I got up to amazing views. It was still dark at this hour and as far as you could see down the trail was a line of headlamps, looking up the keyhole as well was headlamp after headlamp. What a simple yet amazing way to wake up. I was full of adrenaline and couldn't wait to get going. After a quick bowl of oatmeal and putting together the daypack we were off, just before 6:00am. It was rather chilly but once we got moving it was comfortable with a coat, gloves, and a hat on. We were at the top of the keyhole before we knew it and now was the time that the climb started. My little sister wasn't sure what to think once the views of the opposite side came into sight. It was very windy at the keyhole, and the first initial moves were enough to have her scared. We made our way through the ledges just fine and were actually having fun. We completed this section no problem, enjoying the weather the views and the opportunity. Next we approached the trough. This part was very steep and not so much fun getting up. It seemed as if you had went no where, but after looking down the progress made became visible. This portion could become very dangerous when crowded due to rockfall. We then made it to the narrows, after the trough this seemed like a much needed break as the climb seemed much easier through this section. The further we traveled the closer it seemed and the closer it was. I really liked the sections of this trail as it gave you landmarks and goals to get through. Much better mentally to say keystone, ledges, trough, narrows, homestretch, summit, then looking at a false summit for several hours. Finally, there it was, the Homestretch! What a great name for this section! Once getting there the name explains every feeling going through your body and head. This was the first section that I was really worried about my little sister. Everything else before this wasn't as bad as anticipated but this just looked bad. We had gotten this far and were both pumped to get up. I could tell she was tired but we had to summit. She showed her lack of experience and admitted after the fact she was very scared but didn't want to show it. She got up this like a champ. We stood on the summit high fived and took many pictures. What a great accomplishment for both of us, especially my sister! I was so proud of her. And without one complaint (until the last mile, haha)

Longs Peak was the best hike I have done thus far and will always be a great memory as it was my sisters 1st as well as a great bonding experience with her!

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