Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,255 feet
Date Posted:  07/26/2009
Modified:  07/27/2009
Date Climbed:   07/25/2009
Author:  Alby426
 Longs a different way!!!  

Longs Peak Camel / Northwest couloirs Route (Class 4+)
What a day: summiting Longs Peak via a new route!

After reading two reports that described new to me sections of the mountain, I decided to give it a go. What I discovered was a great new route to go up Longs Peak.

The two reports in question are as follow:
The Camel Couloir shortcut

And the Northwest Couloir:

Both of these reports describe the routes extremely well. I would recommend looking at them and the pictures included (My camera went stupid on me, so I have limited pics of the route, sorry)

I started the morning at 3 AM and quickly made it up to the Mills Moraine, where I split from the main trail and headed toward Chasm Lake. At this point, it was still quite dark, but finding my way to the lake was easy. As I approached the bottom of the couloir, there was enough light to see my way up.

The route to the Chasm Lake, obviously taken during the day.

A view back at the lake early showing the way to here.

From here, please refer to flyingmagpie report for more pics and description.

So, the way up is quite obvious: follow the big rocks up, next to the big rock face. the whole ascent to the Camel is no more than class 2. There are a few areas of scree, but the ascent feels quite good and, there is even a sometimes faint trail.
As I got towards the top of the first slope, the Camel appears and I could see my goal. As described in the report that I refer to, I climbed all the way up to the bottom of the upper rock face and crossed there, as there is the trail and solid ground.

The route to follow:

Once across this section, the finish is quite direct to right in front of the Camel, on solid rock.

The final section of the couloir ascent.

The Camel

As you get to the top, there are some perfect steps awaiting you to guide you to the top of the ridge and a fabulous view of the Boulderfield:

From here, I went directly towards the Keyhole on a good solid rocky traverse. The trek to the keyhole was easy and had a great view of the Cables Route.

Looking back

Going past the Keyhole following the Ledges, all of the sudden I see what was my cue that I had found the bottom of the Northwest Couloir and, my way up Longs summit. (Here, read the report "The Northwest Couloir (Class 4) " for all the best pics as my camera didn't work well after that.)

Here is a picture taken last year with Tiffany and the 4 taluses that I climbed toward:

The ascent from here is on very good rock and would be rated as Class 4+. It's mostly class 4 with a few moves in the lower Class5. As the climbs consists on scaling from a step/ledge, to the next. The exposure is minimal and no section is longer than approximately 15 feet; it never feels difficult nor uncomfortable. A ROPE IS NOT NECESSARY!

Finding my way up the gully was easy and, often, I had options in the way I wanted to go. After a few hundred feet of fun climbing, the narrow passage with the "Hole" becomes very visible. In order to get to it, I had to climb up a narrow ledge on the right, traverse the ledge to the left and reach the bottom of a narrow chimney.
Above the chimney, there is a traversing climb to reach the hole:

A close up of the climb:

Even though the rock was wet, there are some very good hand and foot holds, so the ascent was easy and felt very secure. I found it to be easier than the description of flyingmagpie report.
So here was the really fun part: getting into the hole, crawl to the back, take the backpack off and passing it up, exiting the hole from above the slab I had just gone under, retrieving my pack and continue the climb!

Above this, the terrain gradually lessens in slope, aside from a few more ledges to ascend. You can see the end of the couloir. Above that, the ridge was waiting for me. What a way to reach the summit: Majestic!!!
The ridge is wide and made of very solid rock. The view is amazing, with the Boulderfield on one side and the west face on the other.
As I reached the top, an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment came to me.
I had just completed an amazing climb.

I descended via the Keyhole route and enjoyed the rest of the day.

I would highly recommend this route for anyone that wants to do Longs a different way with great views and a semi technical option.

Here are a couple of views of my GPS track on Google Earth. Red shows the way up via the Camel Couloir. The Green is the Northwest Couloir and the descent.

 Comments or Questions

Thanks for the great report!
07/27/2009 14:05
I‘m looking at this route for a winter ascent, so thanks for the great report and pics, very helpful. Glad you had a great day! Gettin‘ off the standard route(s) is really fun on Longs, no? Thanks again,


07/27/2009 14:32
Great to see a non-Keyhole TR go up, way to really explore your options! Tom this must be the guy we saw at the top of the Camel on Saturday...


New Route!!!
07/27/2009 18:15
Yeah so I‘m down at the Crestones and get a msg, ”Ryan, I opened up a new route on Longs!!!” Me???? Great climb dude, the NW ridge has to be worth it considering what you have to do to get there.


Way to Go!
07/28/2009 14:38
It is a fine, fine route, isn‘t it? Your techno-savvy using Google Earth to illustrate the entire route, and the arrows to show the cave or hole really should make it easier for others to repeat this climb. And it deserves to be repeated. Congratulations on your ridge finish from the couloir exit to the summit! What a view, huh? Great job!



Thanks flyingmagpie
07/29/2009 00:28
Thank you. Reading your reports really put a fire under my but to do it and, it was well worth it. I discovered a new route (Not opened, of course). I would promote it to anyone that wants to climb Longs without the use of ropes. For the most part, this avoids the crowds too.

Thanks again.


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