|Peak:||Longs Peak (14er)|
|Route:||Loft - via East Longs Trailhead|
|Date of Info:||09/17/2011|
My party went up the Loft and descended the Keyhole today:
Overall, everything was covered in hoar frost and verglas. Our visibility was limited to about 150 ft most of the time with fresh snow falling (accumulation above Granite Pass). The snow varied between 0-5 inches, but it was less a concern than the frost. I would strongly recommend ice axes, trekking poles, and at least micro-spikes. A couple people didn't use any gear on the Keyhole, but they were comfortable and experienced on that terrain. Come prepared - I think only my group and another pair made it up today (of about 30ish log entries).
The Loft - extremely sketchy. The exit of the Loft couloir is covered in thin ice and we had to pull some interesting moves to get up. We reached a point where it was absolutely unsafe to descend and we banked on being able to meet up with the Keyhole route (no mother hens, please). Rest of the route required a couple awkward downclimbs, but we were able to meet up with the KH without too many problems. Used sgladbach's advice for finding Clark's Arrow (search forum) and it worked perfectly.
The Keyhole - fairly good. Light snow and ice, but plenty of holds/kick-steps to utilize. Hoar frost covers most of the rocks and requires careful footing. The bulls-eyes are still easy to follow, as well as the boot-track. The crux exit at the top of the Trough was icy and requires a bit of finesse (we slid down, but it looks like some people climbed up on the left). Narrows and Ledges were frosted, but standard enough. Homestretch is icy - follow the drifted snow in one of the left weaknesses (look for foot-steps). I would recommend micro-spikes for the Homestretch. An axe was handy in the Trough.
See "Longs Peak Season Over" thread for picture link