Longs Peak at Night

Colorado peak questions, condition requests and other info.
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adamferdy
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Longs Peak at Night

Post by adamferdy »

Considering climbing Longs for the first time early August at night for a cool experience and dodging crowds. Has anyone here hiked up in the dark? I suppose I am worried it would be easy to misstep on the narrows and trough in the dark but maybe its not much different with a headlamp. I live in Colorado and am an Ultrarunner so the altitude and hike itself aren't intimidating just haven't done longs before. Any specific experiences would be greatly appreciated!
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Hiker Mike
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by Hiker Mike »

adamferdy wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 3:57 pm Considering climbing Longs for the first time early August at night for a cool experience and dodging crowds. Has anyone here hiked up in the dark? I suppose I am worried it would be easy to misstep on the narrows and trough in the dark but maybe its not much different with a headlamp. I live in Colorado and am an Ultrarunner so the altitude and hike itself aren't intimidating just haven't done longs before. Any specific experiences would be greatly appreciated!
Certainly possible but you do not get a good sense of direction when wearing a headlamp. You can see where you are but not necessarily where you need to go if that makes sense. There is a lot of route finding once you get past the Keyhole.

Mike
Last edited by Hiker Mike on Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Wentzl
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by Wentzl »

I have done it at night, with a pretty good moon. Didn't use the headlamp most of the night.

That said, not sure I would have gone at night if I had not already been up there a few times. Finding the "bullseye" blazes once past the keyhole will be most problematic.
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justiner
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by justiner »

If you're doing the Keyhole, the big blunder you wanna avoid is on the Ledges: there's a section where you actually descend for a fair bit before wrapping around a tower, and start up the Trough. If you miss that, you'll be traversing around harder and harder terrain/ledges, until you finally hit an impassé. I've done that a few times with full sunlight!

The rest I think is pretty straightforward. You'll most likely be hitting people starting up, as people do so at 2:00am for a "normal" summit.

As far as exposure goes, I mean, it's there, but if you can't see it... is it really exposure? :twisted:
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Skimo95
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by Skimo95 »

I’ve only done Longs once, but it was my first winter 14er ascent. That being said, I believe it’d be doable for someone that has route finding experience. I would be willing to turn around if off route, and a GPS would help greatly. I’ve done a handful of twilight 14ers, but nothing over class 2. The newer Petzl headlamps are amazing compared to the cheaper BD and others as a tip. One thing I do remember is staying a little high going back to the keyhole, and having to backtrack on descent. Be safe and have fun if you go! The solitude and peacefulness at night above treeline is unmatched.
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nyker
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by nyker »

I'd say most people who do Longs likely start in the dark and probably do at least half of the standard climb in the dark up to the keyhole or beyond or if people start very early or are fast or combining another goal. With that said I don't think I'd want to do beyond the keyhole in the dark one for route finding reasons and also because it's so beautiful on the other side I'd like to see it as I ascend.
wondering_hough
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by wondering_hough »

I was fortunate enough to to make a sunrise summit on a dark September morning. As other mentioned, The ledges require a little more attention and a bright headlamp/ general knowledge of the way without the spray painted cairns. I missed a couple of them in the dark but really enjoyed the experience so go for it
You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.
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ellisme
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by ellisme »

My son and I did the Keyhole Route two years ago. We had no previous experience navigating a trail following blazes. We got to the Keyhole as it was just getting light to the west, so it was still quite dark after the Keyhole and we had to keep our headlamps on.

There are trail markers that are visible within the range of a strong headlamp, but it often required quite a bit of scanning to find them. Also -- and we never quite figured this out -- there might be two sets of markers, one intended to be visible while ascending, the other visible while descending. A few times, we seemed to end up heading for markers in the wrong direction at points where the route turns (mentioned in earlier responses). We didn't get far off route, but it was a little frustrating and a waste of time/energy. I don't think we had a GPS, which, in retrospect, would have helped. At no point along the route, in either direction, did we feel unsafe from exposure.

The Keyhole Route is a really fun hike.
peter303
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by peter303 »

I have timed it to cross the keyhole at a dawn. Then I can follow the red pokadots to make sure I am on the correct ledges. In August that means starting the trailhead at 4AM to have dawns light st the keyhole.
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nmjameswilson
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Re: Longs Peak at Night

Post by nmjameswilson »

I plan on doing Longs via Keyhole in the first week of August. I plan to start from the TH in the dark and hit the boulders by first light.
I don't think I would do the whole route at night especially around the ledges but that is just me. If you have done it before then it might not be too bad.
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