With the sumitting of Longs Peak today, I have wrapped up the most intense and fun period of running/hiking training in my life. 95 miles and 31,800ft of gain in 9 days. It included group runs at Pikes Peak and Longs Peak, a solo of Sanitas and Bear and pre-dawn runs of Green Mountain with Silke and Ryan. (By the way, Silke just WON the Aspen Backcountry Marathon today and Ryan starts the Transalpine-Run in Europe next week.)
Eight of us took the traditional route to the summit of Longs known as the Keyhole route starting from Longs Peak Trailhead. This was a 14.4 mile out and back with 5,300 ft of gain and a fair bit of scrambling on all fours. Garmin route here.
The weather could not have been better. Clear skies and a great early morning glow lit up the east face of Longs. We are heading towards the summit on the right.
This is the approach to the Keyhole through the “Boulder Field” on the north side of Longs. This is about a mile of picking your way through car size to house size boulders.
Looking back on the Boulder Field just below the climb to the Keyhole where the real fun will start.
The final few yards to the Keyhole on the right. On a windy day, I imagine the wind blowing through this hole could be ferocious as it faces directly west to incoming weather. The trip beyond the Keyhole requires the right gear, strong legs and some internal fortitude. Not having been here before, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
This is the view to the west standing in the Keyhole with McHenrys Peak and I believe Pagoda Mtn.
The last mile to the summit is marked by these yellow bullseye’s. This was the most technical terrain I have been on and I forgot I even had a camera until we reached the summit because I was so focused on the footing and hand holds.
This is looking back from the summit at the final climb. There are two of these steep climbs after coming out of the Keyhole. At one point, someone yelled “rock” and I turned around to find a softball size stone coming right at me. Not sure how I managed to catch it but no harm was done.
It does not get any better than this on Longs. No breeze, warm and on top of the world.
This is looking south towards the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness area where I have spent most of the summer running looking at Longs. Nice to reverse the view.
What else can I say?
I also went up on Bear Peak this weekend for the first time since the Flagstaff Fire. Just putting these out there for people to see the devastation that almost climbed over the ridge and into Boulder. Most of these are looking west towards South Boulder Peak.