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Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby Valesia » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:26 pm

Hello Everyone

We just attemped longs Via the Loft route last weekend. we had a blast even tho we did not make it to the summit. Our issue was finding the correct spot to climb up and meet the keyhole route. I spent a good amount of time leanring the route and studing pictures and maps however when I got down the backside of the loft I could not seem to locate the correct spot. Im not sure if i didnt climb down far enough or if I just needed to stay right and go up. Im uploading a few pictures that someone in my party took looking down from the loft (one of me looking up at the homestrech trying to find my way). If someone could take a look and see if I was even close or give me some info that would be great. I had such a great time on this that I cant wait to get it right next time!!
Looking for cairns
P1030331.jpg (203.52 KiB) Viewed 471 times
Me kinda lost
P1030326.jpg (197.77 KiB) Viewed 471 times
Looking down from the loft
P1030325.jpg (185.82 KiB) Viewed 471 times
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby geojed » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:02 pm

I think you descended too far off the backside of the loft. Bill has a good route description here on the site.

Pics 9-13 are what you want.

In the first pic you posted, I think the cairns and route are actually behind the person taking the picture.
Last edited by geojed on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby Monster5 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:12 pm

I agree with Big Day Jedi

I can't tell where you are, but I've gone through Clark's a few times. My advice is to head towards SE Longs from the Loft. Once the slope starts to increase, hook a left and turn the corner. Do not ascend the slopes towards SE Longs.

After turning the corner, drop a dozen feet or so and you should see the start of the Clark's Arrow route (cairned) working through weaknesses on the right. The total elevation lost after leaving the Loft and prior to the Clark's Arrow dihedrals should not exceed a couple dozen feet, if you took the left at the slope change. Clark's Arrow is mostly 3rd with a single class 4 downclimb move. It descends left of a large detached boulder (dropping another ~70 ft). Right of the boulder is tempting, but quickly cliffs out.

Scramble down the dihedrals and then work your way on an ascending line just beneath the Palisades (shear cliffs on right) until you hit the top of a large gully and a notch (Keplinger's). Hook a left here (do not pass through the notch) along a wide, junky ledge system (holds snow) until you can scramble up and right on easier 3rd class terrain to the Homestretch.

It is also possible to avoid all 4th class moves by dropping an extra 80' from the Loft. The route-finding there is a bit trickier, though the scrambling is easier. That might be what you did. Your last pic looks familiar. I think you're supposed to head just left of the shady cliffs ahead and right of the sunny boulders, however you're a bit far left.
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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby Presto » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:25 pm

by Monster5 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:12 pm
... however you're a bit far left.

As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby Valesia » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:40 pm

So from the sounds of it I should have just snuck around to the left of the slop up to the notch. Im pretty sure I just droped down 40' but not close enough to the slop to notice a route. If anyone has a picture of this area please shoot it my way. I feel soo stupid for missing this but the trip was still a blast and I would do it again just to get those views!
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby flyingmagpie » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:54 pm

I've done the Loft to Longs past Clark's Arrow a couple times. Both times I returned to the Loft and then caught Meeker. I've done Longs via the Keyhole route, then descended and traversed to Clark's Arrow, then descended the Loft route another couple times. Each time I found Clark's Arrow, though the paint on that vertical slab was getting quite worn. It was still visible. In those days, if you knew where the Arrow was, you could see it from the summit of Longs with binoculars from near the "Roll No Rocks" sign on the summit.
I don't have photos (other than non-digitized 35mm prints and slides) but I will try to give you the best description of how to find the route that I can. Smack dab in the middle of the Loft is a bivy rock that is tilted vertically at just the right angle and height to block the west wind. It is about as long horizontally as a man is tall, and is maybe 2 1/2 feet up from the ground. It is a flat slab tilted up vertically like the lid on a coffin. It is marked by a white quartz cairn. I always have been able to find it. There is a hollowed out space at its base just perfect to lie down in. Hence, "bivy rock". From there, if you look to the northnorthwest, the way to the Clark's Arrow route is marked by other cairns, each of which contains some white quartz. "Follow the white quartz road." There are a couple of different cliffs from which you can drop down onto the Clark's Arrow route. The cliffs are both maybe 15 feet of easy Class 3. Both drop-down points are surprisingly quite high on the Loft. This is important--You do NOT go to the low point on the Loft to drop down. You quarter towards Longs, then drop down either of two cliffs pretty high on the Loft. One drop-down point is marked by a humongous cairn you should be able to spot if you look carefully. From there, the route is spottily cairned. You have to LOOK BACK the way you came, towards the Loft to see the vertical slab on which the circled Clark's Arrow is painted. You can't see the Arrow moving forward towards Longs from the Loft. When you finish traversing the ledges that take you toward the talus gully that leads up to the backside of the Notch, you break left before you reach the Notch itself, and head up toward the Homestretch. There is one place that holds snow until late in the season. From the snowfield (if it is there) you have to climb up onto a huge, skull-shaped rock outcropping. This rock is pretty smooth, like a forehead, with only a few good cracks, and if there is ice on the outcropping, it is dangerous and is the crux of the route. This late in the season ice shouldn't be a problem. Up above you, you should already be seeing the throngs of people moving toward and up the Homestretch. Join them! Be happy you came up another way. Hope that helps. Print this off and carry it with you.
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Re: Longs Peak, Clarks Arrow to Summit Questions

Postby Valesia » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:31 am

Thanks guys, I see right where I messed up. too bad I need to wait a year to come back and fix it!!!!
Life does not come with cairns to guide you, you must follow your dreams.

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