This was my third ascent on Longs with the American Conservation Crew based out of Estes Park, CO. Every summer, all four trail crews take a day to come back and climb Longs on the Keyhole Route.
We all started off from the Longs Peak Ranger Station at around 2 am. We made great time and made it all the way to Chasm Jct. a little before 4 am. We stopped for a beautiful view of Longs and Meeker by moonlight but unfortunately I couldn't get a good picture. Soon after my headlamp died and I had to cross the Boulderfield carefully only using the moon. Arriving at the Keyhole around 5:45 am, I decided to slow down and enjoy my ascent this time and take numerous photographs.
On the Ledges
Up the Trough
I dropped back and took my time in the Trough only to meet up with two fellow crew members at the crux.
At the Crux
From there they followed me through the Narrows and then up the Homestretch which had a good deal of water and ice in the cracks which slowed us down.
On the Summit Looking West
Checking Out Chasm Lake Below
On Top of The World!
Relaxing On Top
We were the first group on the summit that day at around 7 am. We relaxed for a while, I cracked open a beer to celebrate, and in general had a good time. Yet we all wanted to beat the tourists coming up the mountain and escape the cold. We left the summit as a large group once again at around 7:45. From there, it was a stream of people up and down the Homestretch including a grandma in her 80's.
Going Down The Homestretch
We took our time on the descent and got back to the Keyhole around 11 am.
On The Narrows
Outside the Keyhole on the Descent
Beautiful New Pavers on the Longs Peak Trail, Courtesy of Our Friends on the RMNP Trail Crew
Longs and Meeker Behind Clouds
From here, the entire crew just wanted to get back and take a nap. We moved fast and got back to the Ranger Station at about 1 pm. All of us were tired but I had a much easier climb this time around. Yet the highlight of the day was running into Jim Detterline after his record-breaking 351st ascent on Longs back at the parking lot. We told him congrats but missed out on the private party... All in all an awesome day!