Your guide to outdoor adventure since 2019. Is the weather changing or likely to change? Don’t hesitate to turn back for any reason – your life may depend on it. But….do not rely on the presence of others if you need help. This website is where I share all our adventures along with tips and advice to help you get outdoors too! There are so many factors that go into preparing oneself for a mountain like Longs. Longs is a class 3 fourteener, and oftentimes there are no trails leading to the top of class 3 fourteeners. What are the symptoms of high altitude sickness? Our professional guides will safely lead you on this extremely difficult hike. This peak features some exposure and Class 3 climbing. Time for the 15 mile round- trip averages 10 to 15 hours. These are actual risks, but often we are less likely to think of them because we can become fixated on perceived risks. The terrain requires route finding skills and the ability to assess and adjust to unexpected or changing weather conditions. Q: Where is it A: On the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado in the US. Longs Peak is the northernmost fourteener in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. In the past, some visitors have mistakenly assumed that a “non-technical” rating meant “safe.” Exposure and other risks along the route exist all the time. 53. Distance: 26 miles. How physically fit you are plays no role in whether you get altitude sickness. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. The designated, maintained hiking trail ends at the Boulder Field, about five miles from the trailhead. Check the weather daily, up to a week before you climb and the morning of. Your email address will not be published. Q: When is it usually climbed? Longs Peak-Keyhole Route Frequently Asked Questions. The Keyhole Route crosses enormous vertical rock faces, is exposed to falling rock, and requires scrambling on all fours. However, too many people do Longs without having any clue what they are doing, and they end up experiencing irrational fear while not preparing properly for that which can actually cause them harm. Keyhole Route is one of the most popular 14er routes in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. When you face Longs, whether it is for the first time for the hundredth time, be sure to avoid the crowds, come prepared, and check yourself before you wreck yourself. It is a good idea to do some easier fourteeners (like Grays and Torreys) before trying Longs. Check the Longs Peak Conditions page or call the park Information Office at 970-586-1206 to find out the most recent available conditions along the Keyhole Route. From here you walk and scramble over boulders toward the Keyhole feature. To quickly answer – The risk factors that make Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived. Take the time to fairly assess your physical condition and the ever-changing conditions on the mountain before you tackle the most difficult part of the climb ahead. It is common to see hundreds of people along the route and on the summit. The last 1.5 miles is by far the most difficult, exposed and hazardous portion of the route. Well, whenever one embarks on an outdoor expedition, whether it be a simple day hike or a two week rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, there will always be aspects of the trip that one perceives to be the most dangerous, but actually aren’t very dangerous at all. The worst danger lies not in the exposure, length, or weather. Let’s use rock climbing as an example. Be sure to adequately plan, prepare for, and manage your climb – don’t take it lightly. I know I should carry common sense, what else should I carry in my pack? It arguably leads to the largest amount of human error and consequential death in the outdoor industry. Longs Peak will await your return. Longs Peak has more routes than any other mountain in the country – over 120, from exposed scrambles to cutting-edge difficulty, and pure rock to ice and mixed climbs. Much of this route is above tree-line so give yourself plenty of time to be back below tree-line before afternoon thunderstorms and lightning develop. A successful hike up Longs Peak via the popular Keyhole Route requires a pre-sunrise start and 8.4 miles and almost 5,000 feet of climbing to a 14,259-foot summit. As with any high altitude mountaineering route you will encounter hazards along the way. Or, maybe they got blown off of the mountain due to extreme winds (yes, this does happen). (970) 586-1206 On Longs, there are many exposed and steep sections that people obsess over because they are afraid of heights and think that they will fall off of the mountain. 1. Many people have fallen while shortcutting or continuing ahead after losing the route. Required fields are marked *. Longs is, well, long. From the Keyhole, you only have a mile left of scrambling before you reach the top. Why it’s good for beginners – It’s not. Too much focus on the summit can lead to poor decisions! A slip, trip or fall could be fatal. It is totally worth the trek. To successfully summit Longs Peak - it is in your best interest to spend time acclimating and hiking other lower elevation summits before attempting Longs Peak. Honestly, you would have to be completely oblivious to get lost on Longs. All you need to do is climb Longs on a weekday or in late fall. Do not rely on GPS systems or other technology to “show” you the route. While it is not as difficult as the toughest 14er summits (Little Bear Peak, Capitol Peak, Crestone Needle, Sunlight Peak), Longs has plenty of difficult, class 3 scrambling. Sometimes attempted in a single day, Longs is more commonly climbed as an overnight. Length 14.8 miElevation gain 5039 ftRoute type Out & back Is the Keyhole Route a hike or a climb? The factors are human, they are internal. It is important to watch for these symptoms in yourself as well as others in your group. If you can do this, then suddenly the risk of falling won’t feel like that much of a threat anymore. Torreys Peak (14,267 feet) – near Keystone, CO. Torreys Peak is slightly more difficult than Grays … Let us explore this concept. Be just as focused and alert, or even more so, on the way down! Like, almost impossible. The best treatment for high altitude sickness is to go to a lower elevation as soon as safely possible. Longs Peak is a true icon of Colorado. It is unquestionably the monarch of the Front Range and northern Colorado. Once at the Keyhole, the best route follows red and yellow bull’s-eyes painted on the rocks. However, the difficulty of this route is often underestimated. This is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. In general, the most snow-free and ice-free time of year to climb Longs Peak is mid-July through mid-September. Attempting the summit in the afternoon greatly increases your risk – the round-trip from the Longs Peak Trailhead averages 10 to 15 hours. How is cell phone coverage? However, Longs is no ordinary class 3 fourteener. The Narrows section is an exposed ledge that occurs around 6.5 miles into the hike. Are you still providing “technical” and “non-technical” ratings concerning the Keyhole Route? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The actual Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. However, in spite of the Narrows’ reputation, it is actually a straightforward traverse across a ledge that is at least 5 feet wide, with plenty of hand holds and some rock protection on the exposed side. Disregard for the mountain environment any time of year has meant danger, injury and even death. Longs isn’t the cursed fourteener, or something like that. Longs Peak is the only (“14er”) peak above 14,000 feet located with Rocky Mountain National Park. Make sure that you are not only used to the mileage, but also the altitude. However, the fact that deaths on Longs have become way too common is no accident. Park employees no longer provide a rating of the Keyhole Route. For a shorter trip that's also not too exposed, check out the Crags route. This one is easy. It's 'Diamond Face' is known as one of the best vertical face climbs in the world. Your goal should not be to summit, it should be to have a rewarding experience and simultaneously stay safe. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222. Once you are on the narrows, you will be completely exposed on the south side with a drop below you that could make anyone feel light headed. Stay left on the East Longs Peak Trail and switchback up and easy slope to reach the north end of the Boulder Field, near 12,400'. The actual Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field. I spend as much time in the mountains as possible. No one plans to get hurt or killed on Longs Peak. Trailhead: From Estes Park, take Colorado Highway 7 south about 9 miles to the Longs Peak … Description: This is an ascent of the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park (14,259 ft / 4,346 […] In spite of the fact that many people end up worrying about problems on Longs that most likely won’t lead to their death, there have been many deaths on Longs. From the Longs Peak Trailhead to the summit of Longs Peak along the Keyhole Route is 7.5 miles. But why are they falling? Let me be clear here - Longs Peak is probably not a good mountain for the novice hiker or climber. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222. From the Longs Peak Trailhead to the summit of Longs Peak along the Keyhole Route is 7.5 miles. If I'm not training for my next 100 mile trail race then you can probably find me exploring a new trail with my family. There is no “trail” to the summit of Longs Peak. However, despite how scared they may be of their rope breaking and their body plummeting to the ground, the likelihood that their gear will fail them and they will actually fall is extremely low. Longs Peak. It is not only the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder County, but it is also the 15th highest peak in Colorado. Look for patterns in the current weather and changes in the weather predictions. This may have a lot to do with the ratio of men versus women climbing the mountain, but could also suggest that women take less risks or are much more careful. Distance: 8 miles one way. Longs Peak will lie directly towards the south, and in between is the famous notch known as "The Keyhole". This high failure rate likely comes due to the peak’s popularity and its difficulty. It's close proximity to Denver and its pure majesty make it the most popular climbing mountain in the state. Longs Peak (1) 3: Keyhole Route: CO: 14,255' 62. Although there is no trail through the rocks, the entire route contains very obvious yellow and orange bullseyes that will direct you towards the safest and fastest route to the top. Some have died or sustained serious injury because they were travelling alone or chose to separate from the rest of their group. At 14,259 feet, it’s one of the state’s proudest 14ers, and the only one within Rocky Mountain National Park. Rather, it is human error that is the greatest risk one faces on Longs: overpopulation, under-preparedness, and overconfidence are the real problems that one needs to look out for when climbing the mountain, in both themselves and other people. The first few hours stick to smooth but steep trail, then at the Boulderfield the route becomes a rocky scramble with occasional narrow sections above cliffs where a slip could kill. This is not a “walk in the park.” This is much more than a hike. Kaiti Kinshella is a Spanish teacher and freelance writer who lives, works, and plays in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The peak dominates the breathtaking landscape with its height topping out at 14,259 feet. An under prepared or overconfident person doesn’t look at the weather report the night before and the morning of. And yet, they are totally preventable. In 2002, a research survey showed over 9,500 people reached the summit of Longs Peak; thousands more turned around at the Boulder Field. Solo travel is never recommended particularly on a high risk activity such as the Keyhole Route. Therefore, they normally involve copious amounts of rock scrambling and route finding. It is a prized playground for the budding hiker/mountaineer, the intermediate to advanced rock climber, the intermediate to advanced mixed/ice climber, the middle-altitude big wall aid climber; and it even sports a few high-end rock routes. They naturally don’t trust the gear, because they have never used something like it before. The Keyhole and Longs Peak via Longs Peak Trail is a 14.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Allenspark, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Longs Peak is the pinnacle of mountains here in Rocky Mountain National Park — quite literally. I am sure that when the artist decided to depict Longs on the quarter, they were imagining that Longs represents the beauty of our Centennial State and the adventurous spirit of its residents. This stubbornness is cause for consequence, and all of it comes to a head when the mountain is overpopulated and the route gets bottlenecked. Therefore, falling while top roping is a perceived risk. The 9 Best Hikes near Leadville, Colorado, Overland Vehicle on a Budget: Under $7,500 Spent. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Conditions are constantly changing and influenced by altitude, wind and sudden changes in weather. Along the Keyhole route there are numerous areas where an un-roped fall can be fatal. Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. People are falling off Longs Peak. Those who are hesitant to climb Longs and those who injure themselves or die on Longs are actually extremely similar in that they both tend to fixate on the perceived risk of ascending the mountain while ignoring the actual risk. The North Longs Peak Trail heads off to the right. Come follow in the footsteps of the famous explorer John Wesley Powell as we traverse Longs Peak, the highest peak in Rock Mountain National Park. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs. They also are unwilling to turn back, even though a giant storm cloud is looming in the distance or the wind is literally bowling them over. Trailandsummit.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. High altitude sickness (also called acute mountain sickness) occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen at high altitude. How have people been injured or killed on the Keyhole Route? Many accidents on the Keyhole Route occur on the way down from the summit when fatigue or the false assumption that “I’ve done the hardest part” can lead to inattention and poor decision making. Longs Peak is a high and prominent mountain in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. I generally try to camp near the mountain and wake up around 2 AM, so I am on trail around 3-3:30 am. Elevation Gain: 7,500 feet. And, as one of Colorado’s many “fourteeners,” Longs is well known for its difficulty. Summit fever is dangerous. Longs Peak (2) 5.4: North Face: CO: 14,255' 63. The class ratings are generally from guidebooks or websites. What do I mean by this? Related content: The 9 Best Hikes near Leadville, Colorado. Difficulty: Class 3 Total Elevation Gain: 5,100 feet Round-trip Distance: 14.50 miles. Keep in mind if the route is in “winter- like” conditions sections of the bull’s-eyes will not be visible. Contact | Privacy Policy. Be ready to wake up early the morning of the climb. Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. The 14,259-foot fourteener is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, 9.6 miles southwest by south of the Town of Estes Park, Colorado, United States. The North Face is a technical route of modest difficulty with minimal 5th class terrain. While you are at it, snacks and water will provide energy for the trip beyond or your return back to the trailhead. At 14,259 feet (4,345 meters), Longs Peak is one of the most popular “Fourteeners” in Colorado. For the first six miles, there is a clear, dirt trail that leads you directly to the boulder field just before the Keyhole. It is one of the 54 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado. The most important part of your climb is to plan for a safe return. She loves to spend her free time backcountry skiing, mountain biking, climbing, and watching Game of Thrones. In fact, as of January 2018, 67 deaths have been recorded on Longs Peak, according to data collected by Rocky Mountain National Park. 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