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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 KeeneIU11 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:31 am

Longs was my first 14er as well. I was out here just for the summer as an intern in college 3 years ago and went with another rookie and two experienced hikers. The other rookie and I did a small amount of research (Wikipedia, saw the 1 death per year stat) and were warned by the two hikers that this hike needed to be taken very seriously. Still, we had no idea what most 14ers were like and I think it was better that way. As a novice 3 years ago, had I hiked a Class 1 or 2 earlier that summer I don't think I would have been in the right frame of mind to hike Longs. I felt much more mentally engaged on Longs than I have on any of the others I've completed, and I think that helped keep me safe and conscious of each step and hold I made.

Longs is challenging and a little dangerous, but you will be fine if you understand and prepare for what's in store. It's a beautiful mountain and a great one to check off the list early. Have fun!

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby djkest » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:32 am

jomagam wrote:
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 ?


Longs Peak was my first 14er. We were successful on our first attempt. However, we did train for it. Our two training hikes were-
1) To Chasm Lake and back
2) To the Keyhole and back

I was fairly comfortable with scrambling.

A really excellent training hike, to tell you if you are truely ready for Longs peak would be this- Lawn Lake Trailhead to lawn lake, to the pass, and then summit Hagues Peak. If you make it all the way to Hagues and back, you should be ready for Longs Peak. There is even some class 3 at the end.
http://exploringandwine.blogspot.com/2012/06/mummy-trio-part-1.html

BTW I recommend you stick to the Keyhole route.
Life is a mountain, not a beach.
Exploring and Wine, my personal blog

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby dnye » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:39 am

Not trying to freak anyone out, but accidents do happen on Longs:

http://listsofjohn.com/Accidents/Longs.html

August 4, 1999

Jim Page became off-route in whiteout while ascending the Loft and slipped on a wet slab, falling 50 feet. "We were ascending the Loft Route, but got off route in a whiteout and descended (as part of the ascent) a steep gully in the Palisades. Midway down the gully it suddenly started pouring. Cliffed out and without rope, we climbed back up toward the Loft, but Jim slipped on a steep, wet slab and fell about 50 feet to a talus ledge below. He died there a few hours later."
Source: Sam Page
August 14, 1999

A climber had turned back due to strong winds near the Homestretch and fell 450 feet to his death near from The Ledges. The fall likely was attributable to the wind.
Source: Denver Post
August 15, 1999

A French male was traversing from the Keyhole to The Trough when he fell 150 to 300 feet from the narrows. His wife had witnessed the fall and found another climber who was a pediatrician to check his vitals, and found he was dead.
Source: www.bugsinthenews.com
February 7, 2000


Erin Colby Sharp fell 300 feet down a cliff to his death near The Loft.
Source: Rocky Mountain News

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby djkest » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:27 am

Longs Peak is the single most deadly mountain in Colorado as far as I know. It's claimed more than 60 lives. Much of this has to do with it's popularity and proximity to major population centers.
Life is a mountain, not a beach.
Exploring and Wine, my personal blog

Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Steve Climber » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:35 am

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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 Valesia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:01 am

DeTour wrote: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.


From MI? Upper by chance? We do alot ALOT of backpacking up in Pictured rocks. Love it up there. Its not mountains but still a great place to spend time!
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:21 am

Im not new to hiking/Climbing its just been hard getting our group to go out of the way for mountains on our trips. they have always been more into the lakes and waterfalls. Ive spent a great deal of time Backpacking, Hiking/Climbing just not much on the offical list's because we spent more time in the Tetons NP, Zion NP, Arches NP, Yellowstone, Ect.

Im a very cautious person when out on the trail. I dont mess around with weather cause that s**t scares the crap out me. I have no problem turning back if I need to. I wont say that im not a risk taker, but when I do take a risk (such as taking the Loft route) I like to be very informed, Planning is part of the fun for me. I take alot of time studing my routes, getting the correct maps and speaking with people who have done it so I can learn from their experiences.
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:24 am

dnye wrote:Not trying to freak anyone out, but accidents do happen on Longs:

http://listsofjohn.com/Accidents/Longs.html

August 4, 1999

Jim Page became off-route in whiteout while ascending the Loft and slipped on a wet slab, falling 50 feet. "We were ascending the Loft Route, but got off route in a whiteout and descended (as part of the ascent) a steep gully in the Palisades. Midway down the gully it suddenly started pouring. Cliffed out and without rope, we climbed back up toward the Loft, but Jim slipped on a steep, wet slab and fell about 50 feet to a talus ledge below. He died there a few hours later."
Source: Sam Page
August 14, 1999

A climber had turned back due to strong winds near the Homestretch and fell 450 feet to his death near from The Ledges. The fall likely was attributable to the wind.
Source: Denver Post
August 15, 1999

A French male was traversing from the Keyhole to The Trough when he fell 150 to 300 feet from the narrows. His wife had witnessed the fall and found another climber who was a pediatrician to check his vitals, and found he was dead.
Source: www.bugsinthenews.com
February 7, 2000


Erin Colby Sharp fell 300 feet down a cliff to his death near The Loft.
Source: Rocky Mountain News


Always tough to hear the stories, but they do happen. Its better to know and learn than to pretend no one has ever died doing it.
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby FCSquid » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:35 am

Valesia wrote:Im not new to hiking/Climbing its just been hard getting our group to go out of the way for mountains on our trips. they have always been more into the lakes and waterfalls. Ive spent a great deal of time Backpacking, Hiking/Climbing just not much on the offical list's because we spent more time in the Tetons NP, Zion NP, Arches NP, Yellowstone, Ect.

Im a very cautious person when out on the trail. I dont mess around with weather cause that s**t scares the crap out me. I have no problem turning back if I need to. I wont say that im not a risk taker, but when I do take a risk (such as taking the Loft route) I like to be very informed, Planning is part of the fun for me. I take alot of time studing my routes, getting the correct maps and speaking with people who have done it so I can learn from their experiences.


This really needs to be emphasized with Longs. It's the biggest mountain anywhere around northern Colorado, and as such tends to get its share of inordinately bad weather.

Two things need to be considered:

1) The weather changes fast on that mountain
2) Since the mountain essentially sits in the jet stream, it has pretty low average temps. The result? Longs has just about the lowest treeline of any place I've been to in Colorado. If memory serves correctly, it's in the neighborhood of 10,500 - 11,000 ft. What that translates into is that you're a long way, ~3,500 vertical feet, from the summit to the safety of the trees when the boomers start rolling in.

In my mind, weather, combined with the fact that all the technical bits are above 13,000 feet are what make Longs so deadly. The mountain itself is a blast with good weather, but it can get ugly in a real hurry.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
-Benjamin Franklin

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Hungry Jack » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:37 am

Some pretty weird stories from Longs:

August 28, 1889: A person by the last name of Stryker was killed by a gunshot near the Homestretch.



August 27, 1966: C. Blake Hiester, Jr. fell from the Notch Chimneys on the East Face 1,250 feet to his death after refusing a belay.


February 25, 1978: Stephen Weiswell developed pulmonary edema while hiking up to Chasm Lake, and was discovered in his tent blacked out with his feet sticking out on two consecutive days before being carried out.


August 25, 1995: Jun Kamimura fell from Keplingers Couloir while descending too fast, hopping from boulder to boulder and losing his footing. Rangers watched him fall to his death 400 feet.
I need more dehydrogenase.

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby FCSquid » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:41 am

February 25, 1978: Stephen Weiswell developed pulmonary edema while hiking up to Chasm Lake, and was discovered in his tent blacked out with his feet sticking out on two consecutive days before being carried out.


I'm pretty sure that happened to me in college a few times ...
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
-Benjamin Franklin

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Re: 1st Attempt: Longs Peak

Postby Valesia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:12 pm

FCSquid wrote:
February 25, 1978: Stephen Weiswell developed pulmonary edema while hiking up to Chasm Lake, and was discovered in his tent blacked out with his feet sticking out on two consecutive days before being carried out.


I'm pretty sure that happened to me in college a few times ...



Being from WI, Im pretty sure this happens to everyone here!
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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