Northwest Ridge from Highway 82
Standard route through the keyhole
My friend, Robert, and I decided to do Longs Peak on a Monday because it was easier for him and plus we thought the crowds would be much smaller. Well, there still were crowds. Probably about 40 or 50 people that we saw. At times like those, 13,900ft peaks seem much more appealing. Still, Longs Peak was a fun hike albiet Long – a total of about 15-16 miles roundtrip.
We got a very early start (about 4:30).
After crossing Granite Pass, ascending to the Boulder Field, and crossing the Boulder Field, you get to the keyhole. The real fun begins once you pass through here and traverse along the backside of Longs Peak.
After traversing along the west side of the mountain, you get to “The Trough” which is a broad rock gully where you gain most of the elevation on the climb.
When you get to the top of the Trough, you’ll have a great view (provided there’s not much cloud cover) of the Indian Peaks to the south. Also, here is where you traverse along the south side of Long’s Peak, aka “The Narrows”.
In my opinion, the Homestretch is the toughest part of the climb because it involves steep climbing up relatively smooth rock. Although it’s quite easy to descend on two feet, just about everyone that we saw was scooting down on the seat of their pants. This part of the climb would probably be quite dangerous in bad weather, or rain or snow.
The Homestretch extends for about 500 feet to the broad summit.
Then, we wandered back to the east side of the summit and downclimbed to the Diamond to take some pictures.
Climbing down to the Diamond was quite scary. We had no problem traversing or eating lunch on the edge of a 200 foot drop but approaching the 1500 foot sheer east face of Longs proved much different.