Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,259 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2018
Date Climbed:   07/14/2018
Author:  Tnesper
 A Saturday Hike I Swore I Would Never Take   

This is my first trip report because I've felt that most of the useful information for these peaks is already on this site, so why add redundant information? But after finally bagging Long's I think there is additional and useful information for weekday hikers, I hope. For context, we did this hike on Saturday July 14, 2018.

I swore I would never do Long's on a weekend. I had no interest in Bierstadt crowds on a class 3 hike. But due to a job change, any chance for a weekday hike was at least 2 years away. We had plans to go after Challenger and Kit, but due to weather went with plan B, Long's.

My fear with Long's on a weekend was twofold. First it was the parking, second was all of the people. We camped about 15 minutes away from the trailhead and made plans to wake up at 1AM so we could gear up and hit the parking lot by 130. We got lucky. As we rolled in the lot was already full and we grabbed one of the last spots on the side of the road just below the parking lot before the bend. So keep in mind for the weekend that even a 130am arrival may not be early enough.

As we left after the hike, we saw what must have been 100 cars parked all the way down the road, on both sides, in all of the no parking zones. I would love to see the forest service go through and ticket all of those cars so they can bring in the revenue and also discourage anyone not willing to hit the trail extremely early from heading up.

On to the second fear I had about Long's, the crowds. In my opinion, some of the commentary on the site from those who have the luxury to hike weekdays are overblown. Yes, it was crowed. But with our start time and speed we were within the first 10 (maybe 5?) individuals to hit the summit. It took us 4 1/2 hours from trailhead to summit, with a break at the top of the keyhole. We didn't spend a lot of time on the summit because we were nervous about hitting a big wave of people as we went to descend the homestretch. Although we did encounter a lot of people, most sections of the trail are wide enough for two way traffic or brief stops. Since we were the downhill party, along the narrows we would step up on the ledge and stop for a few seconds to let others pass. It was inconvenient, but nothing like what we expected based on research on the site. I know I've seen pictures of people queuing up for the homestretch, and maybe that happened after the horde of people that were heading up got to it, but if you start early enough and keep a good pace, I don't see it becoming an issue. So I would say a general rule of thumb is to predict your pace and start accordingly. If you don't want to be in the crowds, start as early as possible. I will admit that being in the uphill crowds we saw on the descent could drastically change the experience.

Also, shout out to the guy I saw hiking up in a pair of dockers, a polo, and dress shoes. I hope he had a date waiting for him at the summit. But what would a front range 14er hike be without spotting such attire?

Comments or Questions
Hatteras Jack
Hello again
07/16/2018 05:57
I was up in the Keyhole with you guys! Hello! What do you mean about parking though? I parked at ~7pm Friday evening at the Long's Peak trailhead, and I got one of many open spots in the lot. It ended up working perfectly. Did it fill up overnight before you got there at 1:30 AM?

Hello hello again
07/15/2018 09:00
Yes, the lot was full by 130AM. We had 3 people so we didn't want to sleep in the car at the trailhead. Plus, you aren't supposed to. Kind of hard to distinguish between a nap and car camping with 3 hours of sleep, and I know a lot of people do it, but we thought we would get a spot that early anyways.

Parking on Road is OK
07/15/2018 19:03
I ran Longs on Saturday and parked at 6AM. While there are areas of the road marked no parking, much of the road is fine to park on. It was good you started early - I passed 252 people on the way to the summit and who knows how many going down. Although I'd rather not see any people in the wilderness it is hard not to be impressed by how many people in Colorado take advantage of the beautiful outdoors and are able to climb Longs. That is why we all live here.

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