Buying Gear?  Click Here
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
 Post Date:  08/19/2010 Modified: 01/31/2012
 Date Climbed:   08/08/2009
 Posted By:  HarknessHooligans

 Long and Lovely Longs - Keyhole route   

Starting time: 2:00 am
Summit: 9 am
Descent: 10 am
Ending time: 4 pm
Total RT length 14 hours


We camped near Longs since the Longs campground was full. I hear that it is always packed like that.
Image
goofy pic at the campsight

We woke up around 1:00 am and headed to the Longs parking lot scoring the last spot before having to park on the road. It is 2 am and I cannot believe that the lot is already full for how big it is...I guess we are all crazy hikers for starting a hike at 2 in the morning. What am I thinking?

We signed the register and headed out. Hiked about 4 hours in the dark with head lamps. This has been one of the coolest experiences ever! I highly recommend it to anyone. I love looking down the trail above timberline and just seeing a trail of little lights. No need to worry about wildlife since this hike is so incredibly busy...But for me, it just made me feel that much safer.
Image
It is also quite the experience to watch the sunrise above timberline. It was beautiful!
Image
Image
pointing to Longs Peak

Image
circling the keyhole

We finally reached the Boulderfield and it was FREEZING. I saw a lot of people up there that were very poorly dressed. One girl was wearing booty shorts with a thin long sleeve on; no gloves and no hat. What a ding dong. I swear some people go for fashion on hikes. But seriously people...you are hiking a 14er that is 14 miles long!!! Looks should be the least of your worries. Luckily I had done a lot of research and knew to pack tons of layers with wind-breaking pants and snowgloves. I highly recommend your snowgloves to help break the wind...because it is soooo cold and windy. With the right stuff though, you will be just fine.
Image
looking back at the boulderfield from the keyhole. LOOK CLOSELY....you can see all the little hikers for more perspective on how big this section is.

By the way there are bathrooms up here at the boulderfield. It is amazing! So after a potty break and trekking across the many many many rocks and boulders, we finally reached the Keyhole.
Image

There were mainly people who hiked all the way to the keyhole and then turned around because of the cold and wind and the exposure on the other side. BUT, it is not as bad as it may look. My most favorite part of hiking Longs was after the Keyhole. Just get yourself through this section and the wind will stop once you are on the other side.

Follow the painted bulls-eyes across the ledges. Pay attention though because it is easy to get distracted and off course.
Image
The Ledges

Image
Looking back at what we just crossed on the ledges

Image

Next is the dreaded Trough. This section is straight up and probably took us a hour just on this one section. I dont do well with steep climbs, so it was hard for me. And it is STEEP. Please be careful not to knock rocks loose. It is a very busy climb and most everyone did not have helmets (including us).
Image
Matt below the trough

After the trough you have to climb over the choke stone. No one seems to really prepare you for this part...But this was the hardest part of the whole entire trip. You almost need people to help lift you over this thing. The rock is very smooth and slippery...It scared the crap out of me! But I overcame it and was finally on to the Narrows.
Image
The choke stone

The Narrows seems to be the part of the climb that most people hear about with Longs. They say it is so scary because it is a straight drop off and you have to stay in a single file line the whole way because it is so narrow. NOT TRUE!!!
This was my absolute most favorite part of the climb! I LOVED the narrows. It is not scary if you just focus on your footing. There is plenty of room to pass people. Most of it is about 5-7 feet wide. I never felt unsafe or worried that I would fall off a cliff. It is not near as scary as pictures show.
Image
Matt on the Narrows

Image
Looking back at The Narrows

Image
Me on the Narrows

After the Narrows we came to a rock wall that you have to climb over before the Homestretch. There were very nice guys at the top giving everyone a helping hand to get over this section. Thanks guys!
Image
We finally reached the Homestretch. Pictures make it look much scarier than it really is. There is a lot of exposure here. But keep in mind that the rocks are very sturdy and as long as it is dry, you shouldn't have a problem. Think of it like climbing a ladder. Coming down this section felt like crab crawling on my butt.
Image
Image
Matt on the homestretch

Image
Whoa, this pic makes this section look terrifying.

Finally! The summit! Much flatter than I had imagined and it was so big.
Image
So big and flat!

Image
Summit shot of relief

Image
Image
Chasm Lake (i think)

On our way back we ran into a little friend that was storing away his nuts for the winter. Love this pic!
Image
a fat furry friend


When we got back to our campround, 14 hours later, we found a note in our tent from our fellow camp neighbors telling us that a black bear had gone through our campsite around 10 am and broke into their car. It pretty much tore through their back seat trying to get into the trunk. There was shattered glass everywhere. It didn't touch our tent and I was definitely grateful that we started our hike so early that morning.

Overall I loved Longs! Out of all the peaks I have done so far, Longs is by far my favorite. There is so much variety to this hike. I would recommend the Keyhole route to anyone. As long as you are prepared, there shouldn't be any problems and I think anyone could do it.

 


  • Comments or Questions
Presto


Are we related!??!?!?     2010-11-30 10:20:31
Hmmm ... I'm just sayin' that first photo reminds me of some of my relatives. You are a delightful trip reporter (and what a cute couple you two are). Love your attitude ... great photos ... the "ding dong" comment is priceless. Thanks so much for posting. Happy trails! ... oh, and yes, that is Chasm Lake.


Doctor No


Nice shots!     2010-08-19 15:15:29
The Keyhole route always brings back fond memories for me.


HarknessHooligans


Thanks!     2010-08-19 15:30:30
We love hiking and love taking goofy pictures. We must be related


wooderson


Homestretch     2010-08-19 16:20:11
It is amazing how photos of the homestretch make it look almost vertical, eh? Those are the shots you send to family back home to scare the bejeezus out of them... so fun.

Great photos and report!


JA_son27


enjoyable!     2010-08-19 16:43:32
i loved your TR, it is still one of my favorite mountains!


iluv80sgirl


Thank you!     2010-08-19 16:44:34
Great job and great report! What an accomplishment!


Roald


Ant trail     2010-08-19 17:32:29
Nice report. What a major ant trail it looked like on the way to the summit.


robby40

Harkness...?     2010-08-19 18:56:07
”Harkness” any Exeter connection?

You are waaaaaaay better looking goofy than he is...

Thanks for the report.


kushrocks


Great Post     2010-08-20 13:42:14
Thanks for the awesome report. I was thinking of starting at 2am but if you got the last spot maybe I should go a little earlier. Great pics to by the way. Thanks


JE242

Way to capture it!     2010-08-20 14:46:42
This report has some of the best shots i have seen of the keyhole route. I feel your shots do a GEAT job @ illustrating the scale. Thanks!


HarknessHooligans


Thanks Everyone!     2010-08-20 16:46:36
I appreciate all the compliments! Longs was my biggest accomplishment so far. I love taking pictures (my husband would say I take too many). And robby-40, we dont have any Exeter connection. Never even have heard of that name before.


greenwok


Longs Summer!     2010-08-20 21:25:42
I echo the comments above from others on a fantastic TR! Thanks for posting and providing the narration - was like being coached on the route. Enjoy the remainder of your summer!


Exiled Michigander


Job Well Done!     2010-08-21 10:45:25
Loved the report--took me right back to the Keyhole Route. I really dig the photo of Lady Hooligan at the boulderfield highlighting the Keyhole! That was a neat idea. Keep up the great climbs and reporting!


CHWitte


Awesome     2013-07-29 15:01:31
Thanks for all of the pictures. I climbed longs almost 16 years ago and it sure brought back good memories. I was 11 years old at the time! You both look like you had fun.


robby40

Harkness/Exeter links     2010-08-22 17:29:00
OK, so no connection. So F.Y.I. the Harkness/Exeter connection--

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harkness_table

http://www.exeter.edu/admissions/147_harkness.aspx


Climbing-Flatlander


Great Report!     2010-08-25 07:41:22
Thanks so mcuh for the great report...you guys look like a blast...my kind of people!!!

I sent your trip report to my boyfriend to help ease his anxiety...he's not all that experienced in this realm of fun, but I am planning a trip for us to climb Longs next month. I can't wait!


Toni

Great Report!     2010-08-28 08:38:17
You guys Rock! You had GREAT explantations of areas and fun, and have helped me about thinking of some concerns, as I am doing longs with my partner this weekend! Thanks so much great report!


Toni

one more     2010-08-28 08:42:59
Seemed like a lot of people what day was it a sunday?


HarknessHooligans


Toni...     2010-08-29 07:39:47
We hiked on a Saturday. THe weekends are always much busier. But honestly, it didn't bother me at all. It made me feel safer and the hike is so long that everyone eventually spreads out. Good luck on your trip. I look forward to hearing about it!



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2015 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.