Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
Date Posted:  08/22/2011
Modified:  08/23/2011
Date Climbed:   08/22/2011
Author:  CinciKid
 Long Day at Longs  

After a 19 hour car trip from my home town of Cincinnati, OH to Colorado on thursday/friday I decided that hitting another 14er was on the top of my priority list. A good friend of mine had the day off work so we decided that climbing a mountain was a good way to welcome me back to Colorado as well as get the native Coloradian his first 14er.

We set out from the Springs at 0400 and arrived at the trailhead just after day break at 0630. The trail head is well marked and the parking lot/Ranger station is well taken care of. Things went smooth for the first 4 milesish. Longs Peak and Mt Lady Washington came into view early in the hike. Hopes were high for a quick trip.
Things were going great. The weather was cooperating, our conditioning was good, and our pace was pretty fast. Then we got to...the boulder field.
This thing never seemed to end. Huge boulder after huge boulder really slowed our time but after much effort and thoughts of lunch the field ended with the key hole.
The view on the other side of the keyhole is amazing.
The next part of the hike was lunch. Turkey sandwiches on wheat plus carrots. We headed off and soon found that the next part of the hike is significantly different from the first part. The first part had been open ground, long strides, boulders, and no technical movements. After hearing horror story after horror story Brock and I were beginning to wonder if we were up to the challenge. A guy coming back from the summit was literally still shaking and told us that he never should have gone up the "narrows" which seemed to be a thing of lore by the time we reached them. First you have go through some ups and downs through very loose terrain that soon angles upward into a very hard pass referred to as "the trough." No pictures were taken of this section because by this point both of us were suffering from bad cases of altitude sickness. I once told Brock that if I removed the B from his name it would spell Rock. It was really bad. The Trough took us so long mainly because of our pounding headaches and stomach aches that allowed only for six to eight step movements. Next came the Narrows which we both expected to be the toughest test that a human being could face after hearing the horror stories from returning hikers. It's really not all that bad.
We busted through the narrows and found ourselves at the base of the final ascent. At this point we were laughing so hard at the stupidest jokes, which was a sign that we were very impaired. Looking back, we probably should have turned back at the keyhole when the headaches started but we were in no state to make cognitive decisions so we pressed on.
We reached the peak after about 6 hours of hiking.
A picture of Brock and I on top of Longs Peak. At this point we were very loopy and just looking forward to getting down to a lower elevation.
No big clouds to the West were evident until we reached the summit. We spent only about 5 minutes on the summit and busted it down. We got through the keyhole to the boulder field before it started raining. It rained the entire way through the boulder field but stopped shortly thereafter. With a little motivation from our headaches we booked it down the mountain passing at least 12-15 people. We had not been the only ones to be surprised by the weather. It took us 4 hours to descend the mountain. Along the way a man gave me advil and another lady gave me peppermint drops in the nose to cure the headache. It worked well and I was soon feeling great, and certainly descending in altitude didn't hurt my situation. We high tailed it to the next steak house and got big steaks plenty of water to end the day. Certainly a great day. It was by far the hardest 14er I had done yet (Bierstadt-Evans, Torreys-Grays, Sherman), but it was by far the most rewarding. If you plan on doing Longs, it is not easy. I am not in top shape but i am an athletic and determined kid and even for me and my Marine comrade it was a challenge. Thanks for reading!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/23/2011 04:02
Done! Knocked the big one down! Congratulations


Good Job!
08/23/2011 04:49
Though you don't appear concerned enough about the weather in that last picture


08/24/2011 00:26
I remember seeing you guys up there! You passed me coming down the boulder field. Glad you made it back safely!


08/30/2011 03:50
Do you remember the two guys just after the keyhole who told you ”It's about two more hours?” Was I right?


Glad you made it safely! Congrats!
09/01/2011 07:20
That was pretty gutsy going that high just after arriving from Ohio. I've attempted longs twice, the first time succesfull, the second (only 3 weeks ago) not, only got the Keyhole and decided I wasn't yet recovered enough from back surgery to safely go any further. Going up again Friday night but we will be starting the trailhead at about 1 am to avoid the weather. Congratulations on that climb though, it is not for the feint of heart. Just goes to show what a little determination will do.


thanks for reading guys
09/01/2011 14:44
@elkhiker- yea we remember, and because of our altitude problems it probably took us about 2 hours 45 minutes. we were strugglin bro. @jpfeif001 yes sir. Longs is tough. Makes me hesitant to do the 12 peaks rated as harder climbs


Way to persevere
09/13/2011 20:06
Great job. I did it on 9/11 after turning back at the top of the trough in August 2010. That time i camped at the B/field where it blew about 80 most of the night and continuous rain squalls coated the top of the trough and beyond with verglas. 15 mile round trip, most with a full pack, almost zero sleep and i chickened at the chockstone. This time my first look at the narrows had me seriously wondering. And the homestretch was no picnic either. So i am with you about the 12 harder peaks. But it sure feels good to get Longs - I look at it every day from my office window and it is kinda surreal to think that i was up there a couple of days ago!

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