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1st Attempt: Longs Peak

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:00 am

Hello,

My wife and I are going out to RMNP in a few weeks, One of my goals for the last few years has been to do Longs. Ive always planned on doing the Keyhole route but recently Ive been reading up on the Loft route. now what I would like to do is the Loft route up and the Keyhole down. With this being my 1st time up longs Im not sure if the loft route is a good plan or not. Many have said the the route can be hard to follow and with less people than the keyhole it would not be as easy as just looking for someone else (or at least I dont think).

Can anyone give me some input on the loft route? Is it so few people that you wont see any other hikers at all or is it simply less people? How much harder is the loft than keyhole as far as the climb goes? (I know they are both class 3) and lastly would the GPS coords help at all with staying on route?

Thanks for any thoughts and advice.
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Steve Climber » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:36 am

I personally prefer Loft...IMO, either would be fine first routes (conditions permitting and with proper research) if you are comfortable scrambling class 3/4. The Loft has a few very short sections of hard-ish scrambling on the down climb to Clark's Arrow, but not super exposed. The only spot on Loft route that I can remember feeling exposed is the traverse across the top of Kep to Homestretch (but wasn't terrible). One tip I wish we would have paid more attention to is: Once you are up in the saddle on top of the loft, make sure you stay right (toward the base of SE Longs) when you start downclimb (pretty well cairned in hindsight)...if you drop too early, it makes for more and harder scrambling, as well as a bunch of added route finding to get into Keplinger's without getting cliffed out. Keyhole is a great classic route as well, but you will likely be dealing with hoards of people and in the Trough, lots of feet tend to produce lots of rolling rocks. Get an early start and try to skirt the edges of Trough as much as your comfort will allow and you should be fine. I might suggest a cached copy of both routes in your phone, or printed pictures to assist in landmark finding.

Either way, be safe and have a blast. Longs is an amazing chunk of rock :-D

Cheers!
Sam
Last edited by Steve Climber on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Hungry Jack » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:40 am

My friends think I have a GPS built in my head, so maybe I am not the best to comment. But I think the Loft route is quite clear if you have a good map (or mental image of the terrain on Longs). In ascending the Loft, the route is quite obvious as it generally circles the peak via the only feasible non-technical route available.

The only areas where some routefinding might get tricky are locating the exit ramp from the upper Loft couloir (the cliffs ahead block your route), and then finding a good descent line into Keplingers. Some people want to really find Clark's arrow, which is at the bottom of a class 4 gully which can be hard to locate once you have traversed the Loft toward Keplingers. We missed this gully on my trip there a few years back, and ended descending a broad loose gully into Keplingers below Clarks arrow. From there, the route up and out of Keplingers is quite obvious, especially if there are hikers queued at the Homestretch.

The Loft is a spectacular route, IMO, but is more taxing than the standard route due to loose rock and a lack of tread once past the lake and into the Loft couloir. But it is a great way to tour Longs. If you are in good shape, it is a great option.
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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby MtnHub » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:48 am

Is this your first 14er attempt, or just first Longs? You don't show a personal list. And when are you planning to attempt it?

I will be in EP July 22-25 and plan to do another Longs climb. My climbing schedule that week is still not completely firmed up yet, but if I don't find another partner for a different route, I'd be happy to do the Loft/Keyhole loop with you (and maybe add on Meeker again too!)

Send me an email and we can see how our schedules mesh.

Cheers!! :-D

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:12 pm

MtnHub wrote:Is this your first 14er attempt, or just first Longs? You don't show a personal list. And when are you planning to attempt it?

I will be in EP July 22-25 and plan to do another Longs climb. My climbing schedule that week is still not completely firmed up yet, but if I don't find another partner for a different route, I'd be happy to do the Loft/Keyhole loop with you (and maybe add on Meeker again too!)

Send me an email and we can see how our schedules mesh.

Cheers!! :-D



Oh wow, We are going to be there July 24-31st so we will still be getting getting use to the alitude. This is my 1st 14er, Ive done 2 13ers back in 2004. I just registed so I havnt completed a list yet.
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:46 pm

I would suggest other peaks before Longs for a first 14er.

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Steve Climber » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:55 pm

Longs was my first 14er, and I've taken several people from lower elevations up it for their 1st 14er...It's all a matter of comfort level and awareness. Don't over commit yourself and don't be too proud to turn around if you're not feeling it. Longs is a long day (unless you're Anton) with a lot of elevation no matter what route you take up. Be smart. Stay alert regarding your surroundings (loose or wet rocks / weather / other climbers / etc). Be aware of what your body is telling you...and you SHOULD be fine.
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby rickinco123 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:02 pm

Have you considered trying to get a camp site or back country permit somewhere up higher to break it up?

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby jomagam » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:16 pm

Somewhat of a prick wrote:I would suggest other peaks before Longs for a first 14er.


That's my hunch as well. Unless you are experienced in scrambling or technical rock climbing and in great shape. I know people whose first 14er was Capitol, but they satisfied both criteria. Which 13er routes did you do ?

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:42 pm

Ive done Audubon, Mt and I know one other but it was so long ago I dont even remember what one it was. Its not my 1st time on this type of climb I just like to have a good understanding of my route before setting out.

Thanks everyone for your input!!!
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby dwoods15 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:45 pm

I'd agree as well. Not to discourage you, but Longs isn't the easiest "first" 14er. However, it was my first 14er, but then again i'm a Colorado native and am used to the elevation. I've done it twice and i'll never do it again. Long, long, day indeed!

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby 81trucolors » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:56 pm

I would also consider choosing a different first 14er. Longs is considerably tougher than Audubon.

That said you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding your way. If you print a route description or bring a map you'll be able to navigate fine.

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