Peak(s):  Meeker, Mt  -  13,911 feet
Date Posted:  07/27/2017
Date Climbed:   07/26/2017
Author:  bforrest
 Grand Slam Attempt Turned First Ascent on Newly Created Meeker Route  

The date was Wednesday, July 26, 2017. This was not a good day to attempt the Longs Peak ‚Grand Slam.‚Ě In fact, this was not a good day to do anything. Alas, life is short, we're young and dumb, and shallow glory was awaiting! YOLO, am I right?

I work at Cheley Colorado Camps and my cabin neighbor and I decided to conquer the Longs ‚Grand Slam‚Ě as so many before us has done. Before I go further, please note that people around Cheley consider the Grand Slam to consist of Meeker (via the Loft), Longs Peak, and Pagoda. I mentioned that this only adds up to 3 and the Grand Slam is a misnomer. Nobody listened to me. However, it is also worth noting that many trip reports on this website hit 5 peaks for this Grand Slam route, which makes no sense either!

But I digress, let us move forward with my first ascent glory story. My cabin neighbor, let's call him Sam (because his name is Sam), and I hit the Longs Peak Trailhead at 2:10AM on the dot. It was a chilly morning, but we were sticking to the iPhone weather report of 9AM moisture. I let Sam lead and he punished me for that decision. We reached Chasm junction in a brisk 1hr 15 min. We pushed fast and hard because we knew we'd need time to locate the Loft route and safely ascend in the dark.

Cue heavy fog and broken dreams. We continued towards Chasm Lake and hit a small snowfield above Peacock Lake. In the foggy dead of night, it was an abyss below the snow field that was comprised only of an 8 inch wide trail to cross. We didn't have spikes, but we crossed it without hesitation. I only mention this because on our descent, we watched entire groups turn around at this snowfield for fear of slipping to their deaths. I guess at 3AM, Sam and I had already thrown safety precautions out the window.

We managed to locate the base of Chasm Lake and knew that the Loft would start just to the left of the Ship's Prow formation.
Image
Our intended route


Cue even heavier fog. Everything went downhill (figuratively) from here as we went uphill (literally). At 3:30AM, the fog was so thick that our headlamps reflected the light and we only had about 5 yards of visibility. We could not locate the Ship's Prow for the life of us and decided we would hike up and left to avoid it and hopefully end up on the Loft.

This is where I have absolutely no idea how we got so far off course. We kept a general direction of up and left. In my mind, we were avoiding the Ship's Prow and still pushing towards the summit. The heavy fog remained and we kept pushing. We finally came across some buttresses and went left to avoid the cliffs. I vaguely remembered this part on the Loft route description‚¶?

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Our Newly Forged "Upper Crust" Route


We were finally above the fog and clouds and looked around us. Uhhh wtf? We were on the east face of Meeker.
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Above the fog and clouds...for about 15 minutes


Those buttresses were the Iron Gates route and we somehow circumnavigated that too. ‚Whatever,‚Ě we naively told ourselves as we looked up and saw a summit.

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Resting on Meeker's East Face. How did we end up here?


I slowly began realizing that was probably the east summit and knew there was a knife edge involved. ‚Whatever,‚Ě we stupidly told ourselves again as we ascended towards the visible summit just as heavy fog returned (and remained). After some struggle, we hit this east summit at 6AM! Hooray!

Or not. The fog was bad. And i mean bad. We literally could see nothing around us and had no idea where the ridge was or the actual summit or Longs Peak or which way was north. The only two things we could see were jack and shit.

‚Ok," we said. Let's just wait for this batch of fog to pass so we can be sure which direction the ridge is. And we waited. And the rain came. And we waited. And the wind came. And we waited. And the fog stayed. ‚Ok,‚Ě we said, ‚We might be fucked here.‚Ě

Finally, after 45 minutes on Meeker's east summit, the fog cleared for just a moment to reveal a high point in the distance. Alas! Land ho! The ridge we needed was located. The ridge we located happened to be the knife edge. The knife edge happened to be soaking wet, just as our hands and boots were. ‚Ok,‚Ě we thought. ‚We actually might die here.‚Ě

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Finally had a 15 second window to find the knife edge and make a wet and cold go of it.


‚Whatever,‚Ě we pessimistically said. ‚Let's just get off this damn summit!.‚Ě So we set forth onto this knife edge with only 10 yards of visibility and no sure footing.

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Looking back towards Meeker East Summit. This photo shows better visibility than what we experienced on the whole.


After what seemed to be a stressful eternity, we saw the true summit! JK. False summit. After a bit further, we finally did hit the true summit!

I tried to take a photo on my iPhone. Oh, I guess I shattered it on a rock at some point on the knife edge. That's cool. Let me bust out my nice Canon70d that I brought all the way up here so I could capture the great views We took a couple summit shots and moved onward.

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Summit Pic (Finally!)

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Me on the summit...dying a little on the inside


We hit the top of the Loft route and looked at each other. A silent understanding was had, but a verbal confirmation was issued. ‚We can't see Longs. I'm over this. Let's go.‚Ě

Amen! We descended the Loft Route and were amazed at how much easier it seemed. That is, until we hit some cliffs. I am guessing scaling cliff walls isn't part of the Loft. Sam and I didn't care. We simply down climbed some class 5 rock in pouring rain with terrible footing because WE. WERE. OVER. IT.

We finally got back to Chasm junction, cracked open our summit beers, and contemplated how bad we F'd up this morning.
Image
Back at Chasm junction with some dissipation finally!


We traversed the entire north face of Meeker and up the south east face to cross the knife edge in wet, windy, freezing conditions. I would be surprised if anyone had ever done a route quite like that up Meeker. Our cabin we live in is called Upper Crust. We dub our route ‚Upper Crust‚Ě and we claim the first ascent!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
eskermo

The route...
07/28/2017 10:00
...is published in Gerry Roach's "Colorado Thirteeners" book. Route 1.5 under Mt. Meeker, called the Northeast Ridge. The variation of this route, The Iron Gates, is a blast.

Congrats on surviving downclimbing the headwall at the Loft and getting down safely!


bforrest
@eskermo
07/28/2017 13:13
No doubt! I was aware of the Iron Gates route and I am not surprised the ridge itself was a route, but I am assuming there is no set route that starts at the base of the Loft and then decides to cut back across the entire north face to the ridge. Either way, it was a doozy!


polar

Unfortunately
07/29/2017 11:49
Re: "there is no set route that starts at the base of the Loft and then decides to cut back across the entire north face to the ridge", actually, that route is called "Lost". Many before you have gotten "Lost" before, most were very low key about it though.


jerseybrian
The Grand Slam
07/29/2017 19:51
This is Long's, Meeker, Pagoda, Storm, and Mt Lady Washington. That is the the Grand Slam. It was conjured up by Roach and that is why people on this site follow it. Your camp mates have it wrong. Roach wrote the book on this and you can read it yourself. The Radical Slam adds Estes Cone and Battle Mt with 50 push ups at the end. Good job getting down safe but that weather would've told me not to come in the first place. Be careful if you actually try the Grand Slam. If you're getting lost on the loft route it's not a good sign to try the entire thing.



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