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Longs Peak

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NPS Longs Peak Conditions
Condition Updates  
Route: Cables
Posted On: 6/15/2024, By: justiner
Info: It is almost summer out there my dudes. Small snowfield on the approach -- a lightweight axe is nice, didn't feel the need for crampons. The money pitches are pretty wet, but doable. Any snow higher up is easy to cross with a lightweight axe (no crampons again). Keyhole is also mostly snow-free or able to be avoided, save for the Trough, where there's a bit of snow to climb high up -- most everything else can be avoided. There may be spots of snow on the Ledges as well-- again lightweight axe is nice, crampons are probably unneeded. Water is flowing literally everywhere. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 6/12/2024, By: jeffmpls
Info: From the Keyhole to the Trough, the Ledges are a mix of rock and snow. I put on my crampons about 1/4 of way down the Ledges and kept them on until the top of the Trough, although there was significant gaps through the Ledges with bear rock. The Narrows and Homestretch were 90% snow free and I did not use crampons from the top of the Trough to the summit. The Trough will likely hold snow for another 2 weeks or more, and the Ledges might melt out in 8-10 days. The Boulder field to the Keyhole was 80% snow free and melting fast. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 6/4/2024, By: viejo
Info: Up Keyhole, return Cables. Typical shoulder season drifts/slush piles from Goblin Forest to tree line. No flotation needed. Spikes useful in the early AM. Dry or well consolidated snow above treeline to boulder field. Good snow approach from boulder field to Keyhole. Ledges punchy in places. Lots of side hilling. Switched to crampons here. Packed snow in the trough. Narrows in good shape, packed snow or rock. No drifts. Some rock and mostly packed snow on home stretch. Rock hopped the old cables trail for a few hundred feet vertical before the snow traverse to top of the cables. Rap pin totally exposed. Lower dihedral pretty much filled in, with dry rock crack to midpoint pin. Pretty good packed snow from midpoint pin to exit. Exit somewhat thin. Continuous snow from base of cables down into boulder field. 
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Route: North Face/Cables Route
Posted On: 4/14/2024, By: Camden7
Info: Snow starting immediately from the trailhead all the way to the Boulder field, which is mostly dry. The trail is mostly packed in to about 10,600 ft, then floatation is absolutely necessary. The shortcuts had no tracks on them yet and we had to break trail, probably would have been easier to just take the trail. North face route has good stable snow up to the base of the rock. Currently mixed conditions with ice and snow in cracks and ledges. Mostly very easy travel that I would have been happy soloing but there were maybe 2 moves as hard as M2(?) that I appreciated the rope on. Above the eyebolts shallow snow and easy 3rd class rock made for quick travel. Such a beautiful mountain, always leaves me wanting to come back. 
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Route: Keplinger's Couloir
Posted On: 4/17/2024, By: slawrence2011
Info: Attempted a ski of Keplinger from Copeland lake TH. Started around 3:45, mostly dry trail till around 9-9,500 range. Then could skin all the way to base of couloir. Snow was stable until we started climbing couloir, then it immediately felt cohesionless, even sections that didn't have sunhit yet, so I expect there was a very poor overnight freeze compared to forecast. Made it about a couple hundred feet below homestretch traverse, which we knew was out in those conditions. Dropped around 12:30 to very soft snow, I even fell into a fake bergschrund a couple feet deep on a turn - that's never happened before. Could ski all the way back to snow line, but a lot of flat. Fortunately, Shou be getting a refresh this weekend. Next time, we will attempt to approach via loft to get to the top faster 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 2/18/2024, By: Ryan987
Info: Did not summit, turned around just before the base of the trough due to unsupportive snow and high wind. Trail all the way to just before Boulder Field is surprisingly packed in. Postholed and boulder hop all the way after that. No snowshoes nor spikes, put on crampons at the keyhole and kept it on until we returned to the shelter. I triggered a small 4'x4' avy slab slide on my way back so be careful out there. Will try again when the snow is a bit more stable and the forecast is more optimal 
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Route: The Trough: Approach
Posted On: 1/30/2024, By: s_brummer
Info: Did the approach to the cliff bands at the bottom of the Loft on 1/29. Ended up turning around before starting the climb due to some menacing clouds/inversion in Spearhead basin that appeared to be creeping into Glacier Gorge and on the Keyboard of the Winds (it ended up disappearing on my way down when I was back to about Mills Lake). Started at 2:30AM, Black Lake by about 7AM (tons of little breaks along the way) cliff bands at the Trough entrance by a little before 9:30AM. Watched the clouds till about 11AM before making the hard decision of turning around. Back to my car a little before 2:30PM. The trench to Black Lake is pretty much packed the entire way. The slope to access the upper portion of Glacier Gorge was basically just drifts around the large boulders and was very solid. The tundra-and-talus that makes up the last bit of the approach was very mixed conditions for snow, there were a lot of bare areas (for stashing snowshoes and extra gear) it is littered with cairns too, although most of them appear to be for the lakes and other climbs in the Gorge. BE EXTREMELY careful of trapdoor snow down into the talus, (bone breaking and ligament tearing territory to say the least in current conditions) The Trough itself looked to be in great condition! The upper portion seemed like it could use more snow, especially for skiing and probably was laced with ice from the recent freeze and thaws. The cliff bands at the bottom seemed fairly easy to climb through! Hard to say how the Narrows and Homestretch were; however I think summit could be highly attainable the next few days via a climb of the Trough. Also, the Keyhole and the Ledges looked to be decently melted out too if anyone is wondering about the Keyhole Route! The snow on the way down was very potato-y by the lakes but was surprisingly still pretty solid on the main trench! 
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Route: Kiener’s + Cables
Posted On: 1/28/2024, By: runningbuff
Info: Up Kieners, down Cables. We didnt really have any problems with snow stability the entire day. Approach to Chasm was well packed below treeline, a mix of windswept and soft snow patches above, but it seemed like there were a lot of people there while we were on route, so it may be better now. One steep snow slope crossing on the approach to Chasm, didnt do any testing but it didnt show any signs of instability. Column test at Lambs Slide failed at 27 taps, 30cm of softer snow on top of a solid firmer slab bonded decently well. Entirety of Broadway/Kieners felt secure. Not too much postholing, just a few brief sections. Lots of minor wind slabs. Didnt get the best view of Cables as we were going down in the dark and pretty exhausted, but we didnt come across anything that seemed concerning. Freestyling across the Boulder Field was pretty miserable with everything partially buried. Gear-wise, we ended up protecting everything from the start of Broadway to the base of the Diamond Step. Lots of slings/alpine draws, a few quickdraws, and smaller cams. 70m rope, 60m would be fine, 50m might be too short. Never had to pull out my technical ice axe, the general mountaineering one worked fine the whole time. If I were to go back, now knowing the route, Id probably choose to solo most, if not all, of it given good conditions. A good harmony would be protecting the first two pitches of Broadway, just given the high consequences of instability, and maybe a pitch or two of Kieners itself if one is adept in steep snow climbing and low class 5 mixed scrambling. The whole thing took us about 18 hours car-to-car. 5 hours from trailhead to Broadway with a few breaks, 8 hours to summit from starting Broadway, 5.5 hours to descend. Ive round-tripped cables in ~3 hours in the summer to put that in perspective. Plan for a long day if attempting. Sorry for the lack of pictures! Cold hands made pulling out my phone on route seem pretty undesirable. 
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Route: Glacier Gorge
Posted On: 1/21/2024, By: Laxer04
Info: We didn't climb Longs, but rather the Spearhead next door. We put a nice trench in through Glacier Gorge to the base of Longs on the backside. I've attached some photos so you have an idea of conditions on Longs and Mchenry's. 
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Route: Trough
Posted On: 1/11/2024, By: Steep Slabs
Info: This was my first time attempting the Trough route and I didnt get very far. I paid the RMNP fee using my phone and got an early start. There were a few inches of new snow on the trail right out the gate. Having gaiters on at the get go was good. I donned snow shoes at Mills Lake but probably should have done so a little sooner. Between Mills and Black Lake the trail vanished in deep snow. I followed a faint track to hikers right through a lot of trees and then up a steep incline which hit a big rock wall covered by a few inches of ice. It was pretty looking but really slippery and kind of sketchy. At this point I checked my GPS (which I should have done sooner) and realized I was quite a ways off route so I headed/slid back down. Once I got back on track the snow got even deeper. I was kind of post holing with snow shoes on. The temp was around zero degrees and the wind started to pick up. My Garmin warned me that it was going to shut down due to the cold so I threw it in a pocket with a hand warmer. I was deflated, tired and cold so I decided to call it. I was hoping to at least catch a glimpse of the Trough in its full glory but it just wasnt in the cards today. If you are going to try this anytime soon I would recommend always following the path/trench that goes to hikers left unless you want to slip and slide across a giant ice covered rock. I was about a mile away from Black Lake and it took me almost 3 hours. I kept my snow shoes on for a lot of the descent. I warmed up nicely on the way down. The wind slowed and the temp at the parking lot was in the teens. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 1/6/2024, By: shapovalovm
Info: tl;dr: did not summit, stopped at keyhole, you can consider the trench gone. Encouraged by a few recent ascents and despite bad forecast, I decided to go see it for myself. The trail to Chasm intersection is well packed and easy/fast going. Chasm intersection to Granite pass: the trail is visible but filled with snow. Granite pass to Keyhole, I lost the trail pretty fast, and just rock-hopped in the general direction and it was fine. No snowshoes or spikes were needed at all. Starting with Granite pass, it was properly windy and cold, but still manageable. But getting up to Keyhole from Boulderfield it became obvious pretty fast that this is where I would stop. Keyhole was basically a jet engine turbine. I went outside for maybe 10 yards and it was abysmally windy and cloudy and looked like a full-blown storm there. Being solo in these conditions on class 3 terrain felt outside my comfort level. Given a little of fresh snow + this wind, I would expect the trench to be gone (every step I would take was filled within minutes and that was on this side of Keyhole). FWIW, I could not see any signs of it there. Climbed Lady Washington as a consolation prize on the way back from the Boulderfield and guess what, the wind on top of MLW was comparable to the Keyhole. I'd post pics, but I took very few (like my fingers more) and they all are horrible (camera would freeze/fail to focus/shake/etc) 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 1/5/2024, By: yurkuns
Info: There was a pretty good trail to the summit. You can get to the keyhole in the regular running shoes without getting wet. But beyond the keyhole it would be great to have gaiters + micro-spikes. Also better have an ice axe to be able to arrest yourself in case you slip off (there is a long way down!). Took me almost 7 hours there and back in slow pace but without stops. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 12/30/2023, By: daway8
Info: Just a tiny refresh of the excellent update by Logan. Several other folks have now been up the route so it's getting pretty tracked in now. Ledges have a few divergent tracks but overall pretty easy to follow and most bull's-eyes are visible. Wore microspikes across the Ledges and halfway up the Trough until a minor wipeout when I found a large ice waterfall at 13,470ft that was coated with just enough snow that I didn't see it until it was too late. Wore crampons the rest of the way up but they weren't really needed and made walking on the exposed rock sections awkward so once I got back to the Narrows on the return I switched back to microspikes. The Narrows are easy now thanks to Logan's trailblazing (2nd time this year the guy has unexpectedly put tracks across a loaded Narrows for me - you rock Logan!). While the Narrows has a lot of snow, it's nowhere near as loaded as this spring as there's lot of exposed rock, so I felt much more comfortable this time vs then. Homestretch is almost 100% snow but very well tracked in. Leave snowshoes at home - totally irrelevant given the amount of traffic on the route. Crampons currently overkill except the one partly hidden ice waterfall partway up the Trough but be warned I saw water flowing in many places as the snow melts so I expect the amount of ice on the route to increase significantly with melt/freeze cycles coming up. Now is a great time to go grab this route - just watch your step past the Keyhole, the ice is so far limited but wickedly concealed when it is found. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 12/28/2023, By: Logan5280
Info: Managed to snag a Longs snowflake today! I've been looking forward to this one for a while. I wasn't too excited about the idea of doing the trough in its entirety, so I decided to go for the keyhole given the somewhat dry-ish start to winter. With a small willingness to posthole a bit here and there, snowshoes are not necessary. The trail is packed snow to tree-line, wind swept and scoured to Chasm Junction, then has a few deeper but short snowfields up to the boulder field. The boulder field is endless as ever, but had a surprising lack of trapdoor snow. The ledges are in decent shape right now. They consist of a lot of rock with snow in the gaps, with the except of a few deeper snowfields. Some of the snowfields have a little bit of a slab forming in places, but those spots are fairly isolated. The snow was becoming cohesive in places, but many of those spots didn't have enough snow to be too consequential. The trough is a mix of rock and variable snow, with the exception of a short section of water ice (probably avoidable) about half way up. A previous reported suggested that micro spikes might be helpful for the trough due to how much rock-walking there is, and I agree that it got old in crampons. The narrows were...interesting. The report from 12/22 showed the narrows conditions as some rock with snow around the walkway (which I was looking forward to), but they seem to have held a lot of snow from the storms since then. The new snow didn't seem to have much of a slab forming at all, but is was definitely unconsolidated, making for an exciting crossing. The postholing was helpful here, especially because my axe was getting minimal purchase. The homestretch has varying amounts of snow, from a few inches on rock, up to hip deep in places. Some parts felt reminiscent of spring. Axe purchase was a bit better here, thankfully, but caution is necessary since sometimes crampons were hitting rock. The summit was frigid, especially with the NNW wind, so I didn't stick around very long. However, the homestretch and narrows were wind-sheltered and were getting absolutely absolutely cooked by the sun due to the aspect, so I tried to move quickly on the return to the trough. The ledges have some stray tracks leading to somewhere on the Keyhole Ridge, so it's best to keep a close eye on the trail-blazes on the return. Overall, great day on Longs! 
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Route: Cables
Posted On: 12/29/2023, By: jbealer
Info: No need to update the route to the boulder field as that got covered in the other update. There are a lot of trap doors between the rocks getting up that slope to cables. We wore nothing till we hit the snow field below the start of cables, we put on crampons at that point, snow is firm, no sinking at all, no concern for avy yet. The first bolt is missing now, not sure how long that has been gone as my friend said it was there in April, if u want to protect your belayer bring some other gear for that spot. There is some ice and snow in the rocks but not enough to make it easy, still more of a rock climb. I still used 2 axes and my crampos to get up it, my friend used 1 axe but no really for holds, he did more rock moves. Above the last bolt the path to the left has some ice on it so go to the right above the last bolt and then traverse left, you will see our tracks. There is also a oddly placed blue sling up there, neither of us would trust that. We used a 60m rope, that worked great to lead up to the last bolt and for 2 rapps down. So happy to finish up my front range snowflakes today!!! 
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Route: Trough
Posted On: 12/22/2023, By: supranihilest
Info: Perfect conditions on Longs today. Trail is packed to Black Lake. Above that there's some postholing getting into the Trough but not terrible - we left our snowshoes at Black Lake. Microspikes were worn from the trailhead all the way til about the halfway point of the couloir, where the snow steepened and hardened enough that spikes were no longer sufficient. We switched to crampons here for a few hundred feet, then back to spikes when the couloir dried out enough that we were cramponing up talus. No use wrecking the 'pons. Snow in the couloir was variable, ranging from punchy to just pure powder to wind packed. No signs of instability. Wore spikes up the remainder of the couloir, across the Narrows (which were snowy but easier than expected) and up the Homestretch to the summit (also snowy, but there's steps kicked up the whole thing). Kept spikes on from the summit until the rocks in the couloir ended, switched back to crampons for the rest of the couloir, then wore spikes all the way back to the trailhead. Snowshoes weren't useful today but they might be after the storm this weekend. That said, ALL conditions could change after this weekend, so bear that in mind. Gear: helmet, ice axe, crampons all mandatory. Microspikes were actually our most used piece of gear but they aren't mandatory. 
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Route: Cables
Posted On: 11/28/2023, By: daway8
Info: Failed to summit but never failed so gloriously in all my life!!! I'm in awe of this mountain now! My Frozen Finisher aspirations just turned to solid ice (at least for now) as did all pretentious hope of snowflaking Longs unaided via Cables (barring a freak storm that creates the walk-up conditions I found this spring). Utterly schooled by this route - didn't help that I didn't manage to start until 7:30am or that I had absolutely way too much stuff in my monster pack, though I persevered until almost 13,500ft, which is just below where the route really gets serious but also where the most epic views of the East Face I've ever seen are! That alone was a consolation prize adequate to redeem the day for me, though the pictures don't do it justice. But as for conditions... snowy from the get go but no flotation or traction needed yet. One super brief pile of snow right at treeline. Lady Washington pretty bare. Even the Boulderfield wasn't that bad to pick across. But going up to Cables I chose the snowfield - good grief - every flake that's landed on Longs this season is piled up right there. Waist deep at times. Avy antenna were firing like crazy since this was the one zone CAIC called out as some possible moderate danger. In the end, with some careful study and slow progress I deemed it ok to proceed up but not without a touch of unease remaining (I saw minor slides here last spring when I descended this route). Probably not huge danger yet but for sure keep your eyes on this slope. Only a slight wind slab on top that I noticed but that could change. By the time I got there with my way too late start there was no way I could have finished safely even if the above route wasn't being blasted by crosswinds and splattered with snow and ice (not sure what form of madness led to my delusion that I would cruise up a route pretty much everyone ropes up for in winter - temporary insanity I guess). Looks like I'll be looking at other options if I want to flake Longs this season... This could be a very epic climb for someone properly prepared but be ready for a little of everything if you go now - steep, deep snow; scattered ice and powder on class 5 rock... Not a route to be trifled with at the moment. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 11/19/2023, By: Logan5280
Info: Attempted Longs today, but I turned around at the Keyhole as a storm rolled in. The forecasts couldn't agree on the weather for today, and it seems like the more pessimistic ones were correct. As I reached tree-line, a pretty intense wind started to cause issues, and then clouds started rolling in once I reached the boulder field, greatly reducing the visibility. At the keyhole, the visibility was near zero, with knock-you-off-your-feet winds. I took a quick break in the shelter there (it offers amazing wind protection), before descending. The visibility improved slightly as I left the boulder field, but I was still glad to have turned around. The ascent to the keyhole currently ranges from a dusting of snow on trail, to knee-deep wind drifts, to trapdoor snow. From the minimal amount of the ledges I could see, they seemed to be in okay condition with crampons, but it was difficult to tell. I stopped at Chasm Lake on the way down (final headwall to the lake is currently a sheet of ice) as a consolation prize, which was well worth it in dramatic snowy conditions. 
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Route: Keyhole Route
Posted On: 10/23/2023, By: Eagle Eye
Info: For yesterday (Sunday10/22) the Keyhole Route had both great trail conditions AND great weather. Wind didn't factor in: it was just a little windy around the keyhole feature/shelter. In my opinion microspikes were necessary to safely ascend/descend the Trough, though not needed elsewhere. The majority has snow and powder on & between rocks and then under that, ice on climbers right. At the crux people mostly took the climbers left side detour (a couple of small shelf areas) Otherwise dry conditions (Ledges/Narrows/Homestretch) Also a "person off route" type rescue happened without incident. The person was above the route near the false keyhole on the Keyhole Ridge. 
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Route: Clark\'s Arrow
Posted On: 10/21/2023, By: _coloradical
Info: I approached Clark's Arrow after doing Mt. Meeker via Iron Gates. The entire route is clear and good to go. I descended down the standard route and the trough is the only spot of concern. Microspikes is all you need right now, but ice is starting to form near the western side of the trough. Boulderfield has a small section of snow, otherwise it's clear. 

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