The East Face of Longs Peak
Photo: Tom Dunwiddie
Traversing Broadway in Winter
Photo: George Bell (12/21/97)
Longs Peak is located about 40 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado, in
Rocky Mountain National Park.
At 14,255 feet, it is the northernmost "fourteener"
in Colorado, the 15th highest peak in the state, and
the 48th highest mountain in North America.
Instead of the classic pyramidal shape, Longs is perhaps more akin to
a loaf of bread.
The summit area is as big as a football field.
Two things distinguish Longs from most other peaks in Colorado:
first, it is composed of high quality granite (that has not been
broken up into scree).
Second, it is a
massive and complex peak with many steep walls on all sides (the
biggest and most famous being the Diamond).
These two factors make for a large number
of high quality climbing routes and ensure that there is no easy way
to the summit.
Although there is a "trail" up the peak it corkscrews
around the peak in search of easy terrain, and many places near the top
a misstep will plunge you off a cliff.
Richard Rossiter's book,
Rock and Ice Climbing Rocky Mountain National Park
lists 109 routes for Long's Peak (most, but not all summit routes),
which must be a record for a Colorado Peak. In fact, it's hard to think
of a mountain world-wide that might have more than 109 routes on it
(real mountains, not mile wide cliff bands).
In the summer climbing the peak is extremely popular with 100 people
reaching the summit on a busy weekend day, most via the trail.
In the winter it is a different story as the peak is often blasted
by winds of hurricane force, and there is no terrain more tedious
that the boulderfields which surround the peak when covered by a couple
feet of snow.
I have climbed Longs 11 times now via 10 different routes.
Not that this
is any kind of record, I believe Roger Briggs has climbed
it several hundred times, at least 80 times via the Diamond!
The all time record may be held by the guide Enos Mills,
who amassed a lifetime total of 297 ascents
(current ranger Jim Detterline reportedly has several hundred ascents).
This is a list of my climbs (successful and not)
in the area of Longs.
7/83 Roped solo of the Cable Route (North Face),
continue down to the Loft and then
climb Meeker. I descended by glissading the Lamb's Slide.
An excellent introduction to Longs. Ascent #1 of Longs and Meeker.
6/88 Chris Brislawn and I attempt the Casual Route
twice but are rained off.
8/92 Arthur Mizzi and I attempt the Casual Route. At the base of the
N. Chimney we turn around as the weather is questionable.
8/15/92 Ascent of the Cable Route on Longs Peak on a gorgeous
day with Esther, Angie, Scott Parrish, Steve, and Pierre.
We descend via the trail.
Ascent #2 of Longs.
8/20/92 Ascent of Diamond (Casual Route) with Arthur Mizzi
on a flawless day, after three attempts.
Six people ahead of us slow us down but we persevere.
We descend via the trail.
Ascent #3 of Longs.
7/16/94 Climb D7 on the Diamond with
( trip report).
Long day with 3 50m aid pitches.
Leave Boulder 3AM and return 8PM, descend Cable Route.
Ascent #4 of Longs.
5/11/96 Climb Dream Weaver on Meeker with Bill Wright.
Second time up Meeker.
6/1/96 Climb the Notch Couloir on Longs with
Fresh snow makes this scary, we simulclimb almost the whole thing.
We are wasted at the notch, but drop down the other side and ascend
a ramp to the homestretch, summit by noon (left car 4:30 AM).
We descend via the Loft and glissade the Loft Couloir, pegging
our Avocet altimeter watches at -600 feet per minute! This is
a great way down in the spring.
Ascent #5 of Longs.
7/26/96 Bill and I climb Pervertical Sanctuary on the Diamond.
14 Hour day.
The two 5.10 pitches really wipe us out. Last pitch in a hailstorm.
Ascent #6 of Longs
(although we didn't tag the exact summit,
went down the N Face after the step-around).
8/25/96 Stettner's Ledges with
Bill Wright, 10.5 hours car to car.
Beautiful day, hard snow getting to base of route but my instep crampons
save the day. The crux pitch seems much harder than 5.7, maybe even 5.9!
We finish with the Hornsby Direct variation
and scamper over and simulclimb Kieners,
descend via Cable Route.
Ascent #7 of Longs and the third ascent in 1996!
3/8-9/97 The bold plan with Wayne Trzyna is to climb Alexander's Chimney
to a bivy on Broadway, then continue the second day the the summit via
Alexander's is very thin and scary, takes us an hour a pitch.
I am leading the last pitch to Broadway, and take a 20' screamer lunging
for a hold as darkness descends. The second time I make it and we find
a ledge right there to bivy. Wayne's stove isn't working well and then
a blizzard descends. Miserable sleepless night as the wind drives
spindrift into my face. Sky clears a few hours before sunrise and
I get an excellent view of the comet Hale-Bopp. Weather is good the
next day, but we are wasted and the stove does not work so we descend
the Lamb's Slide.
3/16/97 Another Longs winter attempt (Kieners in one day)
but we turn around below timberline due to horrendous winds.
12/21/97 Wayne Trzyna and I finally summit Longs via Kieners.
It is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year.
15 hour day, leaving the cars at 5:30AM, summit at 4PM,
and returning to the cars at 8:30PM. A perfect, windless day with
hard snow conditions, except for the area above the technical pitches.
This is post-hole territory and, we simulclimb to protect us in
case it avalanches (anchors in rock every 100' or so),
this section takes us nearly 3 hours.
We descend the Cable Route.
Ascent #8 overall and my first winter ascent.
7/12/98 Climb Directissima on the Chasm View Wall with Andy Moore.
It is my second attempt on the route (the first stopped by rain
and lightning). This is a gorgeous route. Quite crowded on the
Diamond across the way. Summit Lady Washington just for fun.
8/12/00 Run/hike up the Keyhole route as final training for the Pikes Peak Marathon.
Leave the parking lot about 6 AM and summit in 2:23. After a five minute
break on top, down in 1:54 to finish before 10:30. My friends Kraig Koski
and Bill Wright pass me and log ascent times of 1:49 and 2:04, respectively!
Ascent #9 and my first time UP the trail!
5/24/03 Climb and ski descent of Longs with Andy Moore and Bernard Vachon.
We leave one car at Wild Basin and leave the usual Longs Peak Trailhead
at 4:45, following the Loft route to the summit, reaching it about 11:00.
Ski the Homestretch (marginal), then Keplinger's Couloir.
Great ski down the valley to Sandbeach Lake, keep the skis on to about
9700' for over 4500 vertical feel of skiing.
Then a long trudge to the car, just over 12:00 car to car.
6/1/03 Climb Flying Dutchman Couloir (left of Lamb's Slide) with
Warren Teissier, Martin Leroux, John Prater and Lori Kepler.
Crux involves a short pitch of mixed climbing.
We summit Meeker (#3) and descend from The Loft in a raging blizzard!
9/5/05 Climb Keyhole Ridge with Todd Pett.
Rather windy day and we barely have enough clothing to keep warm,
we stick to the leeward (east) side as much as possible.
The wind lessens as we reach the summit, we then descend the N Face.
There are tons of routes on Longs!! You could easily climb it 20 times
and never repeat a route.
Here are some routes I hope to do over the next 10 years.
Let me know if you have any beta on them (especially the Diamond routes).
An ascent from the south side (Wild Basin Trailhead)
Kor's Door to Zumie's Thumb or Teeter Totter Pillar
Dunn Westbay (aid route on Diamond)
Quadfecta (Meeker, Longs, Pagoda, Lady Washington, all in one day)
Longs Peak Triathlon (start from Boulder via bike)
West Face Route
- Last Update 7/2/2006 -
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