Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,259 feet
Date Posted:  06/21/2021
Date Climbed:   06/20/2021
Author:  Jeff Sherman
 Longs Peak Keyhole Trail Run- Fail   

I decided to attempt a trail run up the Keyhole route on Longs on June 20th 2021. Obviously as you can tell from the report name I didn’t make it. Here’s how it went down.

I got started at about 6:30ish and ran/power-hiked up to the keyhole from the Longs peak trailhead in 1:55 wearing shorts and a long sleeve. Up to the Boulder field winds were about 15ish mph from the NE.

Past the toilets and up in the keyhole the winds were ripping (sustained 35 mph with gust close to 50) stopped in the Agnes vail shelter and put on my wind jacket and thin gloves. I talked to another trail runner who had turned around at the trough due to the snow. I decided to continue on, and started the scramble behind the mountain and into the shade. Not much ice and snow at first, but the winds had only calmed down a little (20-25 mph) and it was even colder here in the shade (around freezing w/ windchill) however, as I neared the trough and had to traverse on some exposed snow, I realized that the snow (due to not being in the sun on this cold day) was extremely hard, I was unable to kick steps, and my micro spikes barely gripped. Also I didn’t have an ice ax, which could have been helpful. I decided to turn around here, but mostly due to the cold which was freezing my hands in their thin gloves.

So, all in all here’s what I recommend right now. 1. Bring wind proof and warm gloves, even if the forecast is warm, it will be very cold on the backside where the keyhole route goes, and you need fully functioning warm hands. 2. If you are a trail runner and can go reasonably fast, wait until a day without any forecast afternoon storms, and leave later in the day, say plan on getting to the keyhole by around 10:00 so that the sun has started to reach the backside and warmed things up a bit. 3. If you can I highly recommend an ice ax, if the snow hasn’t softened and the ice hasn’t melted. 4. If there’s still ice and hard snow, real crampons and an ice ax are pretty much the only safe or really possible way to do things. 5. If the snow becomes soft and most of the ice melts away, this can be done in just micro spikes, as long as your willing to take a bit of extra risk, and your reasonably experienced, you can kick steps in and make it up without too much trouble




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
GMane
RE:
06/22/2021 15:12
Thanks a ton for sharing!

My group and I are attempting this coming weekend after a camping night at the boulderfield - hoping the warm weather earlier this week and some of the rain later this week will have melted off most of the snow in the trough by the time we bid summit on Sunday morning.

Do you have any other pictures looking up at the trough that you can share?



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