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Keyhole route advice

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby mtnview » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:22 pm

I would agree with the earlier posters. Let her build up to it. Bierstadt, Quandary, Gray & Torreys, Huron, then Elbert.

Then let her look at lots of photos of the route so she is familiar with it. I have good ones here. http://www.truedino.com/LongsPeak.htm

See that she has adequate gear.

Regards

Allan A
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of his return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
http://www.truedino.com/colorado14ers.htm

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby Phill the Thrill » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:30 pm

Kiefer wrote:Don't do Longs.
I guarantee she's gonna freak out once you reach the Keyhole. IMO, Democrat doesn't have exposure. Long's on the other hand... My advice is to skip Longs.

If it's a good intro class-3 climb you're looking for, first thing that jumps to mind is Kelso Ridge on Torreys. As Ike mentioned, Sawtooth is a good option too. Longs might have a bit too much exposure for her for the time being.
My .02¢


I agree with Kiefer. Longs is 5x the effort of Democrat and the exposure is significant for someone not used to it. Kelso and Sawtooth are good introductions to class 3 climbing, are close to Denver area, and each can be done in a few hrs. Plan on 12 hrs. or more for Longs.

Regarding soloing Longs, I don't think that's a big issue because no one really solos Longs during the summer months. Start early, like 2 or 3 am, to improve your chances of reaching the summit before the weather moves in.
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby MechE » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Phill the Thrill wrote:
Kiefer wrote:Don't do Longs.
I guarantee she's gonna freak out once you reach the Keyhole. IMO, Democrat doesn't have exposure. Long's on the other hand... My advice is to skip Longs.

If it's a good intro class-3 climb you're looking for, first thing that jumps to mind is Kelso Ridge on Torreys. As Ike mentioned, Sawtooth is a good option too. Longs might have a bit too much exposure for her for the time being.
My .02¢


I agree with Kiefer. Longs is 5x the effort of Democrat and the exposure is significant for someone not used to it. Kelso and Sawtooth are good introductions to class 3 climbing, are close to Denver area, and each can be done in a few hrs. Plan on 12 hrs. or more for Longs.

Regarding soloing Longs, I don't think that's a big issue because no one really solos Longs during the summer months. Start early, like 2 or 3 am, to improve your chances of reaching the summit before the weather moves in.


I have done Long's via the Keyhole Route. I wanted to ask your(Phill and Kiefer) opinion if the Kelso Ridge would really be any more difficult. It looks like such an amazing route and would be a much more fun way to climb Torreys than the standard route.

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby bohlsen » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:07 pm

MechE wrote:
Phill the Thrill wrote:
Kiefer wrote:I have done Long's via the Keyhole Route. I wanted to ask your(Phill and Kiefer) opinion if the Kelso Ridge would really be any more difficult. It looks like such an amazing route and would be a much more fun way to climb Torreys than the standard route.


Kelso Ridge is great, I'd personally say its easier but longer than the technical stuff after the Keyhole on Longs. Some people may disagree with this but its just a matter of what type of scrambling you feel comfortable with. On Kelso Ridge as the name suggests you're on a ridge which means there's always two options for skirting around obstacles and you never have to worry about people knocking rocks down on you. On the Keyhole there's potential for rocks being dislodged in the trough (although its unlikely since everything loose has pretty much gotten kicked off already) and there's fewer climbing options in the Ledges, Narrows and Homestretch. Bottom line though, if you did the Keyhole route and were comfortable you should easily be capable of Kelso and you'll probably have a much much better time of it than all the people in the Grays/Torreys conga line.
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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby Phill the Thrill » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:36 pm

My personal opinion is that Kelso Ridge is easier than Longs via Keyhole. It's a much shorter route than Longs. I would add that the Sawtooth (Bierstadt/Evans) is easier still, and the exposure is not as significant as the Kelso Ridge. But in good weather none of these pose any serious difficulties IMO.
"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it." - Andy Rooney

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby peter303 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:38 pm

Ben D wrote:Thanks for the advice. So here's another question because I personally have been dieing to climb Longs for whatever reason: Would it be a bad idea to go solo? (I know that I shouldn't really have to worry about being "alone" because of the amount of people that I hear climbing this route)

You may see few people if you are downclimbing in the evening. Thats when two deaths in the 2000s happened. One solo young guy took the wrong ledge and fell. Another solo young guy overshot the keyhole and fell. I would expected if they were climbing through the keyhole in the early morning hours when there was light and other people, they would have seen the path better.

I did solo all four times on July/August weekend in the past dozen years, starting before dawn. Plenty of light at keyhole time, other poeple showing the path and the infamous "bullseyes".

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby dnye » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:49 pm

Phill the Thrill wrote:My personal opinion is that Kelso Ridge is easier than Longs via Keyhole. It's a much shorter route than Longs. I would add that the Sawtooth (Bierstadt/Evans) is easier still, and the exposure is not as significant as the Kelso Ridge. But in good weather none of these pose any serious difficulties IMO.


I agree with this, but the knife edge on Kelso may change someone's overall perception on difficulty.

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby Jim Davies » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:49 pm

The knife edge on Kelso is no more intimidating than the chockstone in the Trough, IMO.

I agree that Longs is a bad next step for her. Try to get in something over 10 miles, and something class 3, first. Kelso is good, Sawtooth isn't (IMO) due to the commitment factor and the willows.

Maybe try Father Dyer east ridge to Crystal to Peak 10. If you can handle all that you might be ready for Longs, and in the process you might find out that peaks without crowds have advantages. :) If not, you can retreat simply in most places without endangering your life.
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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby RenoBob » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:26 pm

The Keyhole is not a good route for newbies
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=382
Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby DeTour » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:37 pm

when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby DeTour » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:01 pm

OK I know that preceding post needs some explanation, I just couldn't resist phrasing it that way. I agree with those who say it's not a good idea for your friend. But if you've got the bug to do it "solo," I say go for it - provided you respect the mountain with thorough preparation. That means studying the route so you know what to expect, being in shape, starting early, bringing the right stuff with you, and being willing to turn back if weather or your body say to.

The fact that the Keyhole route is marked all the way to the summit counts for something. Routefinding is a part of safely enjoying 14ers that's underappreciated by many newbies. (Including me, as I learned the hard way the year after I started on Longs.) It's still possible to wander off-route, primarily on the Ledges on your way down, especially if you're late/alone/exhausted. But overall, having a route laid out for you is a big advantage when you're new to 14ers.

It's a long, difficult and sometimes intimidating mountain, to be sure. But many people do it as their first 14er. The key is respecting the mountain with preparation and sober judgment.
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Keyhole route advice

Postby bob863 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:06 pm

DeTour....a very interesting story.....you're very lucky no one got seriously injured....your report makes it seem like you all took it as a joke...
unfortunately, too many people have been killed on that route without proper training.....

I'm glad no one in your group was killed or injured....

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