Peak(s):  Longs Peak  -  14,259 feet
Date Posted:  08/07/2021
Date Climbed:   08/02/2021
Author:  jweber1400
 Longs Peak Key Hole Route   

I prepped and studied Longs since April (climb Aug 2). With 12 14ers under my belt I felt ready - yet nervous. I loved it - best 14er yet. However, not for a novice or first timer, or under trained. First, as you've heard it is long and can zap your energy to continue past the keyhole. The trail up was wonderful. The boulder field was less pleasant - more of a nuisance to get to the Key Hole clearly in sight. Make a bathroom break here - and use that foot pedal to tread mill your nasty out of the bowl. We had low thicker clouds rolling in, but made the call to continue on to the ledges. Unless, you are familiar with CO mountain weather, don't gamble at this point. Turn around. Our hunch was correct that the clouds were too low and no rain fell. The ledges are intimidating at first, if you've been used to Grays and Democrat, etc. But they are safe if you have good footwear and determination to move on. Yes, the pictures are worse than reality -but the exposure is real. The trough was not as I expected. True climbing with concentrated route finding. The bulls eyes are awesome and well marked from the ledges to the narrows. Follow them. You can scramble if you get off course, but they are lead the way. This is where a helmet is good gear as if you climb on a busy day, anyone above can inadvertently kick rock down. Light gloves are great too for the amount of hand use and if it is cold. We climbed Aug 2 and I think it was 40 degrees. Goes without saying changing out gear for light jackets (waterproof) and hats may be necessary. MOST of all good shoes. Approach shoes are great after the Keyhole. Many climbers said the Trough was the hardest part. It's long, but I found the Home stretch to be the hardest - and scariest. It is very steep. Straying out into the middle yields less footing and direct slip and fall. Sticking to the sides and following the bulls eyes is best, but it is significant climbing that most are likely not used to. Backing up, the Narrows was really straight forward. Yes, exposure, but a descent and protected path. Wonderful climb and thrilled I did it. Won't do it again. Too many others on the list - which honestly look more challenging. Yieks.

Comments or Questions
Nice report
08/14/2021 14:49
Beautiful report on a wonderful mountain.
Longs peak is indeed my favorite 14er.

Try the Loft!
09/16/2021 17:00
You could always try using the Loft and Clark's Arrow for something different! That's the route I took last time, and came down the Key Hole to make it a loop. I am going up and back via the Key Hole tomorrow, however. Nice report!

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