Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,259 feet
Date Posted:  11/12/2020
Date Climbed:   08/12/2020
Author:  Hiking_TheRockies
 My first Longs Peak summit! - keyhole route   

Longs Peak is by far my favorite 14er I've ever done... but that's not saying much as I've only summited 5 of them so far! I hiked Longs with my Dad, Uncle and Great Uncle, who had each summited multiple times before, so we knew what we were doing and managed to finish in just over 10 hours. I definitely recommend doing Longs if you haven't yet, it's fun and a challenge! Now, onto the report!

We woke up at 3 in the morning at our Cabin, which was a little over 15 minutes from the trailhead, which was handy. I had a big breakfast of cereal and an energy bar, and we were out the door by 3:50. My grandfather, who was also at the cabin, was kind enough to wake up at the same time and drive us to the trailhead, so we didn't have to worry about parking. The Grizzy Creek and Pine Gulch fires were raining ash onto us, which didn't smell great and made my eyes sting, but it stopped when we got above treeline.

A hazy sunrise

It got colder as we gained elevation, which was no surprise, but we were lucky to have almost no wind on our way to the Boulderfield.

A nice shot of Mt. Lady Washington, the Diamond in the distance
Taking a rest break
The Boulderfield at last!

We reached the Boulderfield at around 7, we ate a second breakfast and put on more layers in preparation for the climb ahead. We each used the bathroom and then began the climb to the Keyhole.

The Keyhole in sight

It was really windy at the Keyhole, so we quickly went through it and swung around onto the side of Longs. The Traverse was probably the most exposed I had ever been, even though it was only Class 2/easy Class 3.

My Great Uncle just out of the Keyhole
Me on the Traverse, the Trough in sight
A great look at the backside of Chiefs Head

We made good time on the Traverse, but the Trough was discouraging to see. I would call it Class 3, as it was pretty steep and the rock was mainly loose scree for the first part. Luckily, the rock was much better in the upper half.

Us at the start of the Trough

I went fairly slowly, which made it easier to find good rocks and map out my route. My Uncle, who is a serious hiker, went much faster and had to wait for us at the top.

Looking back down
Getting Closer

I made it to the top of the Trough and took a big gulp of water. I looked over the side and my heart almost flew out of my chest. In reality, the drop wasn't that far, but the exposure got to me. We had to do some technical moves to get onto the Narrows, which was difficult for me as I'm not very tall, but we managed to get onto the Narrows and begin the final trek to the summit.

The Narrows

We made pretty good time on the Narrows, but my head was hurting due to all the time we had spent above 13,000'. We reached Homestretch, which was way steeper than I thought it would be, but I was so excited to summit that I didn't really care. I would say Homestretch is solid Class 3, but it has plenty of good hand and foot holds. I was on my hands and knees the entire time.

The final 100 feet, Homestretch. My boot got stuck in between some rocks
Almost there!

After a long, tiring climb, we had made it to the summit. There would've been nice views if it weren't for the haze from the fires, but we could still see the Mummy Range fairly well. It was pretty cold, and my headache was growing, so we took a few pictures, ate lunch, and then started our way back down.

The summit at last!

We made good time getting back down Homestretch and the Narrows, and moved back down the Trough fairly quickly. I took us a bit longer to do the Traverse as we accidentally went the wrong way and started going to the False Keyhole before we realised we were going the wrong direction, so we had to backtrack for a little bit. We made it back down to the Boulderfield, where I ate a second lunch and used the bathroom again.

Back at the Boulderfield

We started hiking back to the trailhead after eating some food. We were all pretty tired, but it was good to be back on a dirt trail.

One last look at Longs
Back in the trees

After a tiring, hazy, and amazing hike, we made it back to the parking lot. My feet hurt really badly, but it was worth it.

Back at the trailhead.

I really recommend Longs for anybody who hasn't climbed it yet. I hope you found this helpful, and thanks for reading.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Enjoyed this report
11/12/2020 11:32
Keyhole route looks completely different dry! I might be crazy, but some parts look easier with snow

11/12/2020 13:25
That's pretty impressive. I've done Long's many times, and it is one of my favorite routes up a 14er. It's very special that your dad, uncle, and great uncle were with you ... those are great memories that will last you a lifetime. You did a really good job on your trip report, too. Thanks for posting. Keep climbing and happy trails!

Excellent report
11/12/2020 15:40
That was a great report, with wonderful photographs.
Longs peak is definitely my favorite 14er.
Thanks for the memories, and for posting this.

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