Saturday, July 16, 2011

Solo Day on Long's Peak

Date Climbed: 07/16/2011
Peak: Long's Peak (14255')
        Ascent Lambslide to Loft route- moderate snow Class 3
        Descent- Northface Class 3 with 2 rappels
Start: 4:40 am  Summit: 9:40 am  End: 1:20 pm
Gear: Crampons, Ice Tools, 50m rope, helmet, belay device, harness

Sunrise on the trail
I had been wanting to do Long's peak since I came to Colorado, but I always tried to get a partner to come. After failing multiple times to obtain a partner I decided to go alone since I have become more confident in my climbing skills. I left Boulder at 3:40 am and started hiking an hour later. I made it to tree-line in about an hour and to Chasm Lake in the next hour.
Chasm Lake and Long's
Long's East Face
Mt. Meeker (13911')
At the base of the Lambslide I put on my crampons and started up the snow.
Long's Gigantic East Face from Chasm Lake
The Lambslide
The snow quality is definitely suffering. There were a few occasions where the snow broke loose under my feet and I almost started sliding. After I got to the top of the Lambslide I continued to the Loft, a giant football field sized flat saddle in between Mt. Meeker and Long's. I kept an eye out for the cairns that mark the route to the summit. The route was hard to find at times since it is not very popular (though this says nothing of the quality and fun of the route).  The Loft route is an exposed class 3 traverse. I'm pretty sure some of the route was class 4.
Traverse from the Loft
Right before the route connected with the more popular Keyhole route at the Homestretch, I had to once again don my crampons for the surviving snow aprons on Long's south face. Once I got the Homestretch it was a simple scramble to the top of the mountain.
The Homestretch
I spent about 20 min on the top and had some lunch.
Toward Boulder from the summit
The rest of the Rockies
After lunch I threw on my harness, and set off down the Northface. The class 3 climbing on the Northface was pretty easy. When I got to the anchors for the rappel there was already a group of three making there way down it. It took them a very long time to exit the rock fall zone, so I had to wait for them to clear out completely so I wouldn't pummel them with stuff I might have knocked loose. I was finally able to set up my rappel, but I stuggled with the rope tangling over and over. I finally got it figured out and took both rappels to the snow slope below.
North Face
Last look at the North Face and East Face from the Boulderfield
The snow slope led to the boulderfield and the standard Long's peak trail. The hike down was painful, but uneventful. Long's was one of my favorite mountains, I would try another route again.

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