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 Peak(s):  Meeker, Mt  -  13,911 feet
Meeker Ridge  -  13,860 feet
 Post Date:  08/30/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/29/2009
 Posted By:  Jon Frohlich

 Up through the Gates and a Lofty descent   

Route: Iron Gates to Meeker Ridge, traverse to Meeker and down the Loft
Climbers: Jon and Sue
Difficulty: Exposed Class 3


Click a photo for a larger version

I climbed Longs Peak back in 2005 and at that time decided I never wanted to do the Keyhole route again. So when some of my friends let me know they were planning on hiking Longs this weekend I hesitated before remembering that I still hadn't climbed Meeker. We were able to book the Battle Mountain group site near treeline for the weekend which would make things more relaxing for everyone as well.

On Friday night two of us drove up after work and hiked up to the campsite. From the car it took us just over an hour and we reached camp just after 8pm. At camp I met my friend Sue who I hadn't climbed with yet this year. She had responded to my invite to do Meeker while the rest of the group did Longs.

Sue and I got going at 5:15am on Saturday before the rest of the group. Our plan was to hike up the Iron Gates route and then do the traverse across Meeker and come down the Loft. We reached the Chasm Lake turnoff at sunrise and got some awesome pictures of Longs in the early morning light. I had decided to take my almost new Canon T1i along for the hike because I knew the photos would be worth the weight.

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Iron Gates from just before Chasm Meadows
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We quickly reached Chasm Meadows and spotted our route. We made our way up the talus to the base of the gully and started making our way up the loose rock. Overall it was better than it looked from a distance. As we got higher and neared the Gates the rock got bigger and more solid. Just beyond the Gates we got out the route description to verify whether we were supposed to head straight up or angle to the left up another gully. The route description seemed to indicate straight so we headed that way.

Gates from near the base of the route
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Loft in the early morning light
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Looking up from near the Gates, route goes to obvious notch
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Longs from a unique perspective
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Chasm Lake and Mount Lady Washington
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At the top the gully narrowed and we had to negotiate a few easy Class 3 moves to gain the ridge. Once on the ridge the difficulty eased and it became a nice Class 2 talus hop all the way to the first summit, Meeker Ridge. Meeker Ridge is the shorter sub-summit of Meeker. The edge of the ridge is quite airy but unless you want to take photos or just like exposure you never have to hike near the edge.

On the way up the ridge
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Cool perspective of Longs and the top of the Loft
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Upon reaching the summit of Meeker Ridge we had some debate about whether it really was Meeker Ridge. My GPS elevation was way off and reading 150 too low so we were confused. We figured it had to be but still weren't sure. We didn't stay long and started to negotiate the part of this route we knew would be the hardest. We'd both seen photos of the knife edge portions between the summits and heard it compared to Capitol. Sue had climbed Capitol and I haven't. Afterwards she said this was similar but the drops were more exposed. Regardless she said this gave me a good taste of what I will get on Capitol.

Halfway across you have to do an overhanging knife edge with your feet on a ledge underneath and your hands holding onto a crack in the ridge. It's incredibly exposed and I tried not to think about all the air behind me as I crossed. I carefully got out my camera and took pictures of Sue negotiating her way past.

It's even more exposed than it looks
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The rest of the way to Meeker
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Longs from the summit
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Me sitting near the register with Longs behind
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The rest of the way to the summit had some tough spots as well but nothing quite as bad. We just tried to find the easiest route we could. We finally topped out at about 9:15am. I radioed over to my friends and found that two of them were just topping out on Longs as well. I told them congrats and then Sue and I decided to start heading down because of what appeared to be approaching weather. I told my friends to watch the weather as well and we started our descent to the top of the Loft. The rest of the climb to the saddle was much easier than what we'd already done.

Looking back up from the saddle
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Iron Gates where we came up
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Down towards Chasm Lake from the top of the Loft
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We easily found the entrance to the Loft marked with multiple cairns and made our way down. The route was mostly easy and there were trail segments and cairns marking the way. We found the ledge over to the main section of the Loft with no trouble. We met a few people coming up very late which we thought was strange but overall there were very few people on this part of the mountain.

Up the Loft on the way down
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From the bottom of the Loft looking up
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We headed over to Chasm Lake for lunch. While we were sitting at the lake the clouds built up again and we heard thunder so headed out. We got rained on much of the way back to camp but reached the tents just after 12:15pm.

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Overall this was an awesome route and a ton of fun. Some amazing views and unique vantage points all around. Completely uncrowded too. Definitely a highlight of the summer.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (6)
Brian C


Great route!     2011-02-04 17:22:16
The iron gates is totally one of my favorite routes. Nice job!


Steve Climber


Love the...     2014-05-09 06:26:34
shot across the loft with the masses on top of Longs and all over the Narrows. Nice to look over and realize you have a mountain all to yourself! Congrats


Jon Frohlich



Ant farm     2009-08-31 09:42:11
I should post a crop of the original where you can see the people better. It looks like a line of ants on the Homestretch. It‘s unreal.


12ersRule


Did the same route in reverse     2013-07-29 12:29:11
Attempted this one a couple of years ago, it's still one of my favorites.

Seemed like there was a lot of loose scree on the way up Iron Gates that would be unpleasant ascending. The view on the top of the "gates" is amazing, probably makes up for any unpleasantness ascending that loose stuff.

Good to hear that Meeker Ridge is about the same difficulty as Capitol ridge, just less exposed!

The Loft is a lot of fun, I'll be back sometime when I attempt SE Longs!

Thanks for the great report!


kimo

Great route     2009-09-03 09:20:56
Now that I‘ve hiked the Keyhole I‘ve been looking at the numerous other ways to approach the peak. Iron Gates, across Meeker‘s knife-edge, down to the Loft, up Longs, and then back down the Loft seemed like a (brutally) long but exciting route - one I‘ll save for some year in the future. Thanks for the great report - gives me a good idea of what I can expect - and it looks like fun!


dougb76

nice report!!     2009-09-07 11:14:05
I have been planning to do this for about a month and haven‘t found a good report yet, but this is the one that will be in my bag this week when I go for it



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