Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
Date Posted:  10/02/2016
Date Climbed:   10/01/2016
Author:  pbakwin
Additional Members:   justiner
 Van Diver's West Wall  

It has been getting harder to find routes for the Longs Peak Project (climbing Longs by a different route each month). I hoped to get one more "summer" climb in October, before the snow really flies. The weather was incredible the last few days of September, and it was a bit of a nail biter to see what would happen by October 1. Fortunately, the good pattern held!

Justiner & I ended up climbing an unjustifiably obscure 5.2 route that goes right up the center of the West Face, providing about 900' of really nice, moderate scrambling that skips the entire Trough, Narrows and Homestretch sections of the Keyhole Route. This route is listed as Van Diver's West Wall in Rossiter's guidebook, but beyond his brief description I was unable to find a single mention of it on the entire internet. To correct this, and in lieu of a full trip report, I put up a route description on Justiner also posted a nice recap on his Instagram.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
10/02/2016 09:45
A new route TR! And a 5th class one at that. Nice, congrats. Hey, a couple of questions: Did you do it in boots? I assume so, just wondering about the feasibility of a winter ascent. More edging vs. smearing? Unroped? Again, congrats and thanks for posting.


10/02/2016 12:23
I used approach shoes, Justiner used trail running shoes. Footwear is a very personal choice. We were soloing. If it was wet/icy I'd want a rope. Seems like generally good pro. It can be darned cold back there in winter!


10/02/2016 16:37
I think this would be a viable, if not adventurous winter route, as you follow a huge crack/flake system to the top. Lots of pro placements, although I don't think we were concerned about scoping out best places to belay - but they're certainly there. The steepness is pretty similar to say, the Third Flatiron, and the holds have a similar feeling... EXCEPT of course that ever-present huge crack that'll just gobble up larger cams. In other words, you can sew this one up.

The unknown really is how snowy/icy the route gets. The West Wall may be too steep for snow to accumulate in anything but deep inside the crack, and sunny enough were ice isn't going to form thick. I'd like a recon before committing ;)

Thanks guys
10/02/2016 16:57
Your comment about the route getting sun after 11am caught my interest, hence the winter questions. The NW Couloir is nearby and was a great winter route, was curious about this line. For sure I'd want to ease into it...or if too spicy just run away! Thanks again and congrats.


comp to NW Couloir
10/02/2016 17:39
We soloed the NW Couloir in February with Microspikes. I'd say this is way more serious - the NW Couloir has about 25' of 5th class which is pretty secure. This has a few 100' of 5th class. But, yeah, as Justiner says you could easily protect this route. We found that the NW Couloir was surprisingly protected from WIND, which is a big deal in winter on Longs. Don't know if that would be true on the West Face. I look forward to your report!


10/03/2016 09:18
wish I could of joined Peter. This one definitely looks worthwhile. Way to go out there and just do it you guys.

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