| Longs Peak Conditions Update
This is meant solely as a conditions update, and not to relay any other story or message, so take it for what it's worth. Since this time of year sees a slew of questions about "can I climb longs?", I'll throw out the conditions I encountered, what gear I used, and let each individual decide what they can/can't do.
I started from the Main Longs Peak TH at 5:40a and headed up the Longs Peak Trail. I hit the Jim's Grove Jct at 6:20a, normal summer conditions on the lower trail, with only a patch or two of snow. I took the Jim's Grove Shortcut to Granite Pass, there were a few more patches of snow along the way, but nothing to significantly slow me down, arriving at Granite Pass at 7am. From Granite Pass the trail to the Boulderfield is a river, the whole thing is flooded, but snow is not an issue. The Boulderfield itself was mostly covered in snow as of 6/24/09, but it was warm and the snow was melting fast.
The North face is fully filled in and should be prime for some snow/ice climbing, barring you hit it early (see photo). 7:50am From the Keyhole the route becomes heavily snow covered, with a few moderately steep traverses as you head over to the Trough. The snow was hard, but in good shape for crampons/axe use. I used both crampons and ice axe from the Keyhole all the way to the top of the Trough. There are some steps kicked into the Trough that make climbing easier. The Trough still has tons of snow and should still be skiiable for a few more weeks for those interested, the sun hits it around 10-11a.
From the top of the Trough the class 3 step is partially snow covered and isn't bad. I stowed my ice axe for the Narrows, choosing to scramble with free hands and crampons on as there was some snow to negotiate along the way. The Homestretch is fully snow covered so I pulled my ice axe back out for the final push. Topping out on a clear, windless day at 9:15am. There are a few patches of ice starting to show through along the entire route that may become more problematic in the coming weeks, but as of now all ice is easily bypassed. Good steps are kicked across the Keyhole traverse and up the Homestretch.
Hopefully this helps those looking to climb Longs in the near future. By my guestimate the Keyhole route will require ice axe and crampons at least through mid July, as there is a ton of snow on the route. Shoot me an email/PM if you have specific questions.
Photo#1=Longs Peak N Face/Keyhole
Photo#2=Longs Peak N Face
Photo#4=Looking down the Trough
Photo#5=Looking back across the Narrows
Photo#7=View South from the Summit
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):