Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
Lady Washington, Mt  -  13,281 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2020
Date Climbed:   07/20/2020
Author:  ellenmseb
 Longs with quick detour from Keyhole to Lady Washington.  

tl;dr: You can boulder-hop to Mt. Lady Washington from the Keyhole with little lost elevation. There are no hidden booby traps on the traverse. No need to descend and follow the standard route to Mt. Lady Washington.

This fact may be obvious to everyone else, but I didn't really consider the option when planning my Longs trip, just tried it on a whim on during beautiful afternoon weather.

  • I estimate Lady Washington added ~350'. The saddle is 12,980'; "The Dove" snowfield extended slightly below this, and I descended to avoid it; mt Lady Washington is 13,281'.
  • Lady Washington is listed as class 3, but I couldn't find any class 3; just class 2 boulder hopping. you can probably find class 3 if you look for it.
  • The descent back to Longs trail was hell on tired knees.
  • "The Dove" snowfield provided a refreshing icy drink compared to the dirty puddles in Boulder Field. This snowfield may or may not be perennial.
  • Apparently, you can head to Chasm Lake from the saddle between Keyhole and Mt Lady Washington. When I was there, I hoped to visit Chasm Lake, but didn't know whether a route existed. I checked and did not see one. From looking at the terrain, it actually seemed unlikely for there to be an easy route to Chasm Lake. But apparently there is.

My approximate route: (I don't necessarily recommend my descent route, but this illustrates the easy traverse between Keyhole and Lady Washington)

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View of Longs' Diamond face from Lady Washington. this reminds me of El Capitan in Yosemite and made me a bit homesick. You don't get this view from the keyhole route. You probably do get it from the Loft route.

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The rest of my Longs trip was a great experience for me personally, but completely average and uninteresting to all here. It was my first solo class 3, 3rd class 3 overall. Scrambling was fun and easy, but long. A year ago on Mt Ida, I overheard someone say "Longs is just LONG!". I now recognize he didn't mean the 15 miles, but the 1000' of scrambling, compared to e.g. 20' of scrambling on Sawtooth. This experience lent confidence to try more class 3 solo when they don't have special risk factors such as isolation or bad conditions.

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

The best thing about MLW...
07/24/2020 07:18 the view of Longs. I never get tired of it.


Nice job...
09/01/2020 15:27
... on my favorite peak!

I'm unclear how you ascended however. Did you go up the Loft first and then circle back around via the standard trail like the purple highlight? A great loop, although I really prefer to ascend Meeker first and then head over to Longs via Keplingers -- my all-time favorite loop!

And FYI, yes, you can descend down to Chasm from the ridge. The Kneeling Camel rocks mark the exit. It's still just Class 2, but it is a lot of boulder-hopping and maneuvering through some looser scree and rocks in the steep gully, so if your knees were sore already, going down that way would not have felt good. This link highlights the route:

And I agree, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a Class 3 route up or down MLW. It's all Class 2. That ridge down to Granite Pass isn't very fun like you mention, and if you would've just headed down the eastern side of MLW aiming straight for the Chasm Lake junction, it would have been much easier going and much shorter too. That's how I ascended.

But great job in bagging solo! A super experience for you I'm sure!

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