| The way I prefer cable
Mountain: Longs Peak
Route: Cable Route
First TR hope you enjoy!
For two years, Longs has been on my and my fiancé's wish list. In wanting to get the full experience, I called the back country office in early July to try to get a Saturday night camping spot in the Boulder Field, as this is not an easy task in the summer. Luckily they had a spot open on Friday night August 3rd we gladly excepted. So comes August 3rd... A massive rain storm had come through and suffice to say we made it to the waterfall bridge in the steady, soaking rain before turning around....So the next morning we promptly booked the next available Saturday which was September 18th.
After waiting a little more then a month our Longs trip was here! In the month we had to plan (and wait) we decided that we were not looking forward to the crowds of the Key Hole, so we decided to put or skills to the test and go for the cable route. Yes, there are far more technical routes on Longs to get excited about, but this was right at our ability and experience level.
Our plan was to hike in Saturday morning to the Boulder field, camp then attempt the climb Sunday morning and hike out.
Friday night we got our gear out out and started going through what we thought we were going to need for the night in the Boulder field and the climb the following morning.
Sorting our gear for the climb
After digging through the route beta I could find, we decided that our rack would consist of 5 BD Camalots (#.5-#1.5), Stoppers and 4 shoulder length runners and a 60M rope (IMO this was a little heavy on the pro)
With our bags packed we went to bed so that we could get to the BCO in the morning to pick up our permit for the Boulder Field. If you are going to pick up your permit the morning of your trip, make sure to call the ranger to tell them you are coming so they don't give your permit away.
Our first view of longs
We arrived at the trail head around 10:30 am, basking in the fact we could take our time knowing we were camping in the Boulder Field that night. We signed the Trail Log and were off!
Katie starting the Hike
Me starting the hike
It was a beautiful late summer day and we gratefully enjoyed our hike through Goblins forest past the waterfall and on to tree line. I recall another TR on 14ers.com where a guy had a picture of himself crossing the falls many years earlier and then took another recently. I thought that would be really cool to do the same.
Standard waterfall pic
Getting to Chasm Junction was the first time that we could grasp the challenge we were in for. This is the point were I kept telling myself that we would at least hike to Chasm View and evaluate the route.
After eating a snack and taking in the sights of Chasm Junction, we decided to get moving on our way past Mt. Lady Washington and on to the Boulder Field. On a side note there was a forest fire that day on the NE side of of the park. Once above tree line we could clearly see it, I'm not certain but I think it was the "Cow Creek Fire"
We are almost to the Boulder Field!
Reaching the Boulder Field
We had been told by the Rangers that stream in the Boulder Field has been starting to freeze. Not wanting to deal with a frozen brook, we filtered our water for the night and the climb as soon as we found a decent pool. (we never saw any frozen water and could have made it to our camp without lugging all of the full water bottles and our packs )
Making the packs oh so heavy
After filtering 4 bottles, we regrouped and made the final push to our site. Once we reached our site we carefully unpacked the tent and made sure to secure any loose items under a rock. It wasn't windy, but every once and a while a gust would come through that would be more than happy to steal your unanchored tent.
Shortly after unpacking the tent poles, I realized that one of the female ends of the pole had split...(last person to use my tent was a co-worker going to the Conundrum Hot Springs... someone owes me a six pack). I had some duct tape but the edges were sharp so I used a patch of mole skin. It held just fine through the night with up to 40mph gusts
Mole skin- not just for blisters
As the sun was drifting over the Key Hole our camp was set and we prepared for dinner and to watch the stars.
Longs Peak Hilton
Moon over Chasm View area
Time for dinner! we used the MSR Wisperlight to make some concoction of instant potatoes, velvetta cheese and packaged chicken. Over all it was quite good and filling, even though it looked like gruel from a Charles Dickens novel.
Last thing before heading off to bed, s'mores courtesy of MSR ( No I don't like to think of the burned fuel and other fumes that were on those marshmallows.)
We spent a semi restless night falling asleep and being awakened by the large wind gusts that make the Boulder Field home. I was slightly nervous as this was the first real test my new 4 season tent had been through. With it well staked and 4 guy lines out, it held like a rock.
Day broke over the Eastern horizon, my Fiance and I sat comfortably in our sleeping bags poking out of the vestibule to watch. I liked the thought of all of the climbers that had left at 2am and were probably just making Chasm Junction while here I was closer to the summit then them and still in bed.
Watching the sun rise from the Boulder Field
After a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, we were up and getting the packs ready for the climb. The anxiety set in as we loaded up and viewed our objective. We decided to fully break down the camp and stash everything, but our climbing gear, in a hole between the boulders. This ended up being great as we would have likely not looked forward to the clean up after the climb.
The Cable Route
With everything from camp left to the mercy of the Marmots, we set off for Chasm View and the base of the route.
Heading to Chasm View
Reaching the base of the route with Chasm View in the back
We arrived at the base and like other climbs we have been on, the anxiety lessend and we decided to give it a go. We made the final adjustments to the rack, Katie jumped on belay and I headed up.
Looking up the cable route
Reaching the crux chock stone
After making it past the chock stone there is a nice ledge in which to set up a sling on one of the old iron rods left behind from the cable. Continuing up the nice, solid, right facing dihedral there was a 4 foot section of thin ice covering the normal route. I placed a cam and worked my way around the ice on the slab to the climbers right. I made my way to the next set of iron rods, slung them and made my exit. At the top I set up the belay and Katie was on her way up. Unfortunately Katie had the camera and I couldn't take any pictures. We coiled the rope and made our way through the class 3-4 section to the summit.
Looking onto the traverse over the Diamond
At this point we decided it was better to focus on climbing rather than take pictures. The Route up from the top of the 5.4 section is actually well defined if you keep your eyes open. After getting accustomed to being so close to the edge of the Diamond, we picked our way to the summit!
Edge of the Diamond
Knowing that for us personally this was a great accomplishment, we topped our climb off with a refreshing Durango Brewery Colorado Kolch.
Celebratory Colorado Kolch
Celebratory Colorado Kolch
We hung out on the summit for about an hour then came to terms that we still had to make our way back down.
We worked our way carefully back to the top of the Cables section, brought out the rope and prepared for the rap down. We broke the rap into two parts; one to the ledge above the chock stone; and two to the base of the route.
Setting up the rap
Katie on the second rap
Katie finishing the 2nd rap
After the rap we made our way back to the Boulder Field and collected our gear, to our liking the marmots had not found our packs. We were too tired at this point to really reflect on the climb so we packed up and made our way to the trail head.
This was a great climb, we did not see another person on the route from Chasm View to the Summit. If going in the summer I would recommend a very light rack and just to sling the Iron rods. I really cant wait to try this route in the snow!
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