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1st Attempt: Longs Peak

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

Postby catfreak6 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:14 pm

Long's was my first 14er, and I am not a Colorado native. I did prepare for it, doing both long hikes and high elevation hikes. Getting to the top is exhilarating and really is not all that difficult if you take the standard route, I've done it 3 times. Its just long, with alot of climbing and the fun part is that the terrain varies. Once past the keyhole you follow the bulleyes. And while on most hikes I'd rather not run into a bunch of people, I found that on my first attempt that having other people up there was somewhat comforting. You might find a friend up there. Coming back down Long's is the hard part. And when you get back down to the boulderfield the next hard part is the 6 miles you still have to get to the trailhead. Camping would break that up. I always just hike down the same day. My 2 cents worth.

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby MonGoose » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:52 pm

I've always wondered why so many people are attracted to Longs Peak as their very first 14er. Longs Peak is considered to be a "Difficult" peak, ranked as the 14th hardest 14er to climb by the members of this site and has more deaths than any other 14er. For those of you who climbed it as your first or plan to do so in the future, what's the appeal of Longs over the 57 other peaks?

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby SilverLynx » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:30 pm

MonGoose wrote:I've always wondered why so many people are attracted to Longs Peak as their very first 14er. Longs Peak is considered to be a "Difficult" peak, ranked as the 14th hardest 14er to climb by the members of this site and has more deaths than any other 14er. For those of you who climbed it as your first or plan to do so in the future, what's the appeal of Longs over the 57 other peaks?

Saved money on gas (it was the closest to me), I could see it from where I lived in Fort Collins, easy to get to (paved road), lots of other people up there, sentimental appeal...
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
~Nelson Mandela

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
~Steve Jobs

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby DeTour » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm

Longs was my first 14er, coming from Michigan with no mountain experience of any kind. For my group, we chose Longs because my brother knew it and had climbed it twice while living in Longmont years ago. We had no idea or plans of hiking 14ers on an annual basis at the time. It was quite the experience. But it started my family (brother and daughter) on a tradition we now treasure.

Longs is certainly a tough mountain to do for your first, but it has one great advantage for a 14er rookie: the can't-go-wrong route markers. Valecia, don't underestimate how important route-finding is on 14ers. A little disorientation from the altitude mixed in with fatigue can turn a fun hike into a scary situation really quick. I would encourage the standard route for that reason alone. I haven't done the Loft yet, but I would be cautious about adding any routefinding challenge to the many other challenges already offered by Longs.

Besides, the Keyhole route has fabulous variety and unique features that are better enjoyed on the ascent - Boulder Field, passing through the Keyhole, the Ledges, Narrows, even the chockstone at the top of the Trough. It's also a very stable route, that is no loose rock other than a little inconsequential rubble in the Trough. That's an underestimated factor in the ease of a route, especially if you don't have experience on loose rock.

The death count on Longs (50+) is sobering, but in large part a natural result of the much higher traffic this mountain sees. Not just the hordes of people on the standard route, but the many technical routes the mountain offers, and the many years it has been very popular. If you filter out technical routes, winter ascents, etc., and look at it in terms of total number of people on the mountain over the years, I believe it doesn't seem as dangerous as the raw death count suggests.
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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Mtnman200 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:00 pm

My first 14er was a June climb of Longs Peak when I was 11 years old, only two days after arriving from Texas. My dad and I climbed Longs from Chasm Lake, back when camping was allowed there. The sign at the trailhead called Longs a technical climb due to the snow, but we were able to avoid most of the snow by careful route selection. At the time, we were working on climbing every peak over 13,000' in RMNP, so naturally Longs Peak was one of our goals. My dad had already climbed Longs twice, and his first time (and first 14er) was via the north face(!) with my mom who likewise had no climbing experience at the time. Obviously, it's possible to climb Longs Peak without much experience and not run into trouble, but we all know that it's also possible to run into trouble even with lots of experience. That's why I would suggest the Keyhole route for someone with only two 13ers under his belt. Just my $0.02...
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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby 2giqs » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:59 pm

When I did Longs I went up via Keyhole and down via Loft. Saw only one other person on that Loft route. And I followed him. And avoided the crowds and congestion that I likely would have encountered returning via Keyhole and which you might encounter if you go up Loft and down Keyhole.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby ChrisRoberts » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:25 pm

Longs was my 2nd 14er. I really don't think it makes a difference how far into the 14ers you've delved when you climb Longs, whether #1 or #50-something. What matters is your experience, preparation and judgement before you set out and while you climb it.
If you have scrambling experience(and can deal with exposure) and know altitude sickness is not an issue for you, Longs should be fine if you start early and make smart decisions along the way regarding weather. I can't attest to how the Loft route will be as an intro to the peak(my guess though? Probably not the best way to start) but the Keyhole is a fine experience in itself. No matter how you decide to go bring a lot of water/water filter, its a long dusty trail to the car on the way back.
Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to terrapin
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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby ChrisRoberts » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:32 pm

MonGoose wrote:I've always wondered why so many people are attracted to Longs Peak as their very first 14er. Longs Peak is considered to be a "Difficult" peak, ranked as the 14th hardest 14er to climb by the members of this site and has more deaths than any other 14er. For those of you who climbed it as your first or plan to do so in the future, what's the appeal of Longs over the 57 other peaks?

It dominates the landscape for miles. Plus it sits in one of the nations most popular NPs
Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to terrapin
Read all about my schemes and adventuring at NoCo Chris Latest TR: Fairchild Mountain

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby jomagam » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:59 pm

Valesia wrote:Ive done Audubon


I'd say Longs is as hard physically as Audubon from the winter trailhead done twice. Then add the technical challenges which depend on your scrambling experience.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby jpfeif001 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:41 am

Longs was my 2nd 14er, have now gone up it 3 times, once with my 8 year old who is now 10. Word of caution, that mountain will fatigue the hell out of you, more so coming down. My long time friend found that out last year when we were descending the home stretch and he took a stumble. Thankfully he caught himself before pitching head long down the mountain, scared the fear right back into him and it took a minute before my heart found its way back down into my chest. Just be prepared, drink lots of water. It is feasable though and that mountain does have an appeal that is hard to define at times. Almost everytime I go up I swear I will never climb it again, and yet, I keep going back. Good luck with your adventure, I hope you find it exhilerating!!
The spaces between is where I reside, In the moment is where I live, and my family and friends are who I love.

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Steve Climber » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:04 am

MonGoose wrote:I've always wondered why so many people are attracted to Longs Peak as their very first 14er. Longs Peak is considered to be a "Difficult" peak, ranked as the 14th hardest 14er to climb by the members of this site and has more deaths than any other 14er. For those of you who climbed it as your first or plan to do so in the future, what's the appeal of Longs over the 57 other peaks?


Aesthetics vs. Accessibility.

Not many other mountains can be reached as easily, yet are so awe-inspiring. We moved here 7 years ago and from the first morning I walked out my front door to the sight of that amazing rock dominating my view, I knew I was going to climb it. As for it being my 1st 14er...I had no idea what a 14er even was when I went up. I just went up and followed the trails and signs. Told my neighbor across the street I was going and he was like :wft: Learned many valuable lessons that day (like when Anton runs by you, it doesn't mean you should necessarily follow him). Didn't find out about 14ers.com until after, but not sure I would change it. Had I done proper research, I likely wouldn't have gone and wouldn't have the story about how I tried to follow Runner Jesus to the top.

Longs Peak is a mountain that creates life long stories and memories and I will continue to climb it as long as my legs will carry me.
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 peter303 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:29 am

The advantage of the classic keyhole route in July and August is you probably will not get lost or into trouble. The class 3 parts are marked with bullseyes. And there are usually ample people on the correct route in the morning and afternoon.

I must qualify my remarks that a couple Longs deaths in the past decade did occur on this route according to an REI presentation by RMNP climbing rangers. These were both in the dark by first timers hiking alone. One missed the correct ledge downclimbing from the homestretch after sunset. The other overshot the keyhole notch upon return before dawn. This shouldnt happen if you look for the bullseyes and other people during daylight.

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