Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
Date Posted:  03/09/2013
Date Climbed:   03/08/2013
Author:  zephyr_pelicante
 I'll embrace dreams again when I can breathe again, until then I won't be needing them  

3/8/2013: Longs Peak 14,225'

Start Time: 4:30 AM
Summit: 11:00 - 11:30 AM
Return to car 5:00 PM
Total Time: 12.5 hours
Distance: 14 Miles
Elevation Gain: 5100'

When I climbed Longs Peak the first time last summer, it was a life changing experience that exceeded and surpassed any outdoor activity I had ever done. It was so magnificent I climbed it 4 times last summer.

Each time I climbed Longs it was equally enjoyable, but I knew that some first time experiences could never be recreated. These unforgettable experiences included topping out of tree line to see the night lights of the front range, walking through the keyhole for the first time, finishing the trough looking down into Keplinger's couloir for the first time, and topping out on the summit to see a blanket of clouds blessing the land.

I was wrong.

Climbing this peak in the winter makes it a totally new set of sights, feelings, and experiences.

Twin sisters at sunrise

Longs Peak is this gorgeous color for a very special ~5 minute window

God bless the folks who built this!

All of the things I knew and loved about Longs were fresh sights that evoked just enough nostalgia to send shivers down my spine.


Longs Peak

Philip on Ledges

The climb was awesome, and we would have beat my summer time were it not for my slight ankle twist on the decent. Some parts, namely the trough and the homestretch, are far easier in the winter.

A major thing worth noting: CRAMPONS ARE INCREDIBLY USEFUL for this climb. Several parts on the trough and ledges are short snowfields. I went over one with my microspikes on, and felt adrenaline pulsing through my veins but after I put on the CRAMPONS and used the ICE AXE I felt tremendously safer, and had no scary moments the rest of the climb.

How hard is it to learn crampons?
If you can put crampons on, you can use crampons! (Just be careful to not rip your pants)


Philip on homestretch

Me climbing up to summit

We thought we were the only people on Longs the whole day, but enjoyed a tasty slice of humble pie when we saw Anton's signature on the summit register, to later find out he had started after we started and finished before we reached the summit. Anton also notably monopolized the summit register in that a good percentage of the signatures on that page were his. It was pretty sweet to know we shared the mountain with a man who is rivaled by only a very few number of athletes in his sport.

Look who it is!



I've hiked with Philip many times before, but this was our first time just the two of us. Throughout the hike I had the opportunity to get to know my friend better and had we had some great conversations about mountains, life, philosophy, girls, and careers. His experience and assistance on the trail were indispensable to our success.

No shirt summit actually felt quite nice

Summit pano

Longs in clouds

I'm very grateful and lucky to have a 5/5 success rate on Longs. She has been good to me and I'm very thankful to again have the opportunity to say:
"I survived Longs Peak"

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Heck yeah!
03/10/2013 03:38
Other than the depressing lack of snow, there are so many great things about this TR. Way to get after it.


What Bean Said
03/10/2013 13:11
Where the hell is the snow? Awesome report though guys. Nice job!!


03/10/2013 13:59
Thanks guys! I'm super happy I got to do this. There is 10 - 12 more inches of snow up there since these pics were taken.


03/10/2013 20:35
Yeah, Longs is a special place! The more I become familiar with it, the more I love it! But have never had the opportunity of climbing it in winter. Good job in getting it in! Thanks for your post!

Exiled Michigander

03/10/2013 21:27
Photo # 2 is a great shot. Good work, Zeph!


Nice job!
03/10/2013 23:17
Love the pics. Looks like you had a FANTASTIC day!


The Loft
03/11/2013 20:02
Wow I can't believe how barren of snow the Loft is. Might be worth a shot much earlier this year.


03/11/2013 20:45
The short window of Golden Light in Image #2 is what photographers live for.


03/13/2013 15:02
This was a great trip report. Thank you for posting it. The Narrows look sick!


03/21/2013 03:22
Your description of the 'life changing experience' definitely resonates with me. Did it in September of last year and, in spite of the 14ers and great climbs that had come before it, it literally blew my mind. From the start in total darkness to the last mile, I'm not sure its an experience I can top. This trip report gives a good perspective on what is possible on longs in the 'off' season.


03/26/2013 01:35
”Climbing this peak in the winter makes it a totally new set of sights, feelings, and experiences.” So true.

Image 14 - nice! And of course, Image 2. Just gorgeous!

Great job. Welcome to crampons and the quiet side of the year! : )


04/04/2013 14:51
I am incredibly jealous. I would love to do it in the winter but I think homestretch covered in snow would be terrifying!Great job, great pics and thanks for sharing!

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