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Jeff W

Longs Peak Keyhole Route?

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Because I am stuck working in Kansas for the rest of this year I need to look at climbing opportunities closer than the Cascade Range of Washington. Colorado is a reasonable trip from my location in Kansas. Doing a search for possible climbs I came across Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route. 15 miles round trip with about 4800 feet elevation gain all on class 3 granite. Sounds like an ass kicker. Anyone done this route and can comment about whether or not is worthwhile?

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It is just a scramble. I was not even a rock climber when I did it. LOTS of people. Lots of exposure. It was a fun hike. Wear really stiff ankle protecting high boots. Get started early and get down below the keyhole before 2pm. Lightening is a real danger up there. It is amazing and really is an ass kicker. The boulder field is about a mile of house sized boulders. I did the hike in the late 90's. After the keyhole follow the bulls eye targets, red with a dot of yellow if I remember right.

 

Here is the mountainproject link There is some good info about weather: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/longs-peak/105857350

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I did the keyhole route on Longs in 2009. Yeah it's a scramble, yeah it's worthwhile. I camped in the boulder field one night. The last bit to the summit commonly referred to as the home run is about 400' of what I would describe as low 4th due to the exposure. I saw some people backing down below that bit. Keep your eye out for elk, I ran across a herd of about 40 head at 11k on my approach. There are a lot of people up there but it's part of the fun IMO. I enjoyed meeting and talking with some of them along the way...

 

While I was there I did a hike up Hallet's Peak also. RMNP is exceptionally beautiful. Try to take time to explore it after your climb of Longs Pk.

 

Heed warnings about afternoon lightning storms! On my Hallet peak hike I got down early and was very glad I did, the last hour down to the shuttle lot a real bad storm struck as predicted. When I summited Hallet you could see very dark sky roiling and wind picking up, I quickened my pace down. I've been caught in lightning storms up high before (Tetons) and it's no fun... A lot of people and their kids ascending into obvious thunder heads as I was descending had me concerned but... They would ask me what I thought about this impending storm and I would tell them honestly that I would not go up into it, they would think for a little while, then head up anyway. Moms, Dads, kids, babies in strollers, dogs et al everyone continued up...

 

Nobody got killed that day as far as I know...

 

good luck,

 

d

 

 

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If you are looking for a more alpine route on Long's, read up on the Kiener Route. Lots of exposure with some class 4/5 climbing.

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