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April 12, 2019

Keep in mind if the route is in “winter- like” conditions sections of the bull’s-eyes will not be visible. The factors are human, they are internal. A strenuous out and back excursion that will have you transverse 13.5 miles in elevations increasing over 5,140 feet, the Longs Peak Summit — Keyhole Route is the easiest way to reach to Longs Peak Summit. Unfortunately there's not enough data to make any solid conclusions regarding this. Like, almost impossible. The worst danger lies not in the exposure, length, or weather. As with any high altitude mountaineering route you will encounter hazards along the way. No one plans to get hurt or killed on Longs Peak. It is a good idea to do some easier fourteeners (like Grays and Torreys) before trying Longs. Honestly, you would have to be completely oblivious to get lost on Longs. A lot of food and snacks (energy bars, sweets, jerky, granola, a sandwich, etc). 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. However, this puts the blame on external forces, when, in fact, the cause of human death is just that: it is most often human error. Note: While this is a Class 1 climb, it's quite long at 26 miles. What are the symptoms of high altitude sickness? The class ratings are generally from guidebooks or websites. Many people have fallen while shortcutting or continuing ahead after losing the route. People are dying from lightning and hypothermia. 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. Climbers wishing to summit Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route will pass through the notch (see photo below) in order to reach the west side of the ridge, which allows them to make the final 1.3-mile approach to the top. Long's Peak stands proudly as Colorado's northernmost fourteener. Keyhole Route is one of the most popular 14er routes in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. 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. At 14,259 feet above sea level and over 7 miles from the trailhead, this summit will make you earn your views. Q: When is it usually climbed? Difficulty Description: moderate to difficult due to a long approach (2-3 hours minimum, high altitude ( the top of Longs peak is over 14,000 feet) and overall length of trip. Pack the appropriate gear in order to avoid hypothermia, exhaustion, and injury. The nearest city is Estes Park and major airport is Denver International. Sometimes attempted in a single day, Longs is more commonly climbed as an overnight. Many of the deaths are the result of falling, lightning, hypothermia, and exhaustion. Learn more about me here. Standing tall at 14,259 feet, it is Colorado’s 15th highest summit. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222. If a point is named, I will likely add it to my list regardless of difficulty or relief. Longs Peak-Keyhole Route Frequently Asked Questions. Longs Peak is so quintessential to Colorado that it is the image etched into the Colorado quarter, meant to symbolize everything that the state represents. Look for patterns in the current weather and changes in the weather predictions. A crowded mountain alongside weather continually increasing is a dangerous situation. The last 1.5 miles is by far the most difficult, exposed and hazardous portion of the route. Do not shortcut! Therefore, falling while top roping is a perceived risk. 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. 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. Why it’s good for beginners – It’s not. By the end of the day together, we would have easily adopted Tamara into our family. If you find yourself off route and wondering which way to go – don’t shortcut – retrace your steps to your last known position. What to Bring: Sent with trip confirmation. Required fields are marked *. From here you walk and scramble over boulders toward the Keyhole feature. Always, always, always get up early to hike Longs. I know I should carry common sense, what else should I carry in my pack? Of course, thunderstorms have been known to appear early in the day as well! The most important part of your climb is to plan for a safe return. Longs Peak (14,259) – The king of Rocky Mountain National Park, this peak features one of the most awesome walls in the world (yes, the world). However, the fact that deaths on Longs have become way too common is no accident. Therefore, they normally involve copious amounts of rock scrambling and route finding. These are the real risks of the mountain. In order to find out, we must explore the perceived risk of climbing Longs versus the actual risks that one faces when up on the mountain. 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. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs. Be ready to wake up early the morning of the climb. Flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Do not rely on GPS systems or other technology to “show” you the route. Check the weather daily, up to a week before you climb and the morning of. High altitude sickness (also called acute mountain sickness) occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen at high altitude. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. 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. Let’s use rock climbing as an example. The first time someone steps into a harness and is tied to a rope that is meant to support their life, their heart rate will most likely rise because they are experiencing the fear of falling. * Among the 67 fatalities recorded on Longs Peak between 1915 and 2017, only 4 were women. 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. To quickly answer – The risk factors that make Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived. Longs Peak is the northernmost fourteener in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. Attempting the summit in the afternoon greatly increases your risk – the round-trip from the Longs Peak Trailhead averages 10 to 15 hours. 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. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is f… To quickly answer – The risk factors that make Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived. A slip, trip or fall could be fatal. However, weather and conditions vary so it’s best to check with a ranger or online for current conditions, 970-586-1206 or the park's Conditions & Closure page. It's 'Diamond Face' is known as one of the best vertical face climbs in the world. I like to camp nearby and wake up by 2 am in order to avoid the crowds on the way up. Preparedness and self-reliance are essential. Lots of water - take and drink plenty of fluids such as water or sports drinks, a minimum of 3 to 4 quarts. The Longs Peak trail starts at 9,405 feet. Between 5 and 10 is moderate, and anything over 10 is considered to be a strenuous hike. Solo travel is never recommended particularly on a high risk activity such as the Keyhole Route. If you can do this, then suddenly the risk of falling won’t feel like that much of a threat anymore. How many people should I expect to see on the Keyhole Route during the summer? Iconic Longs Peak (14,259') is the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado's 15th highest summit, and the northern most 14,000' peak in the Rocky Mountains. When is the best time of year to try to climb the Keyhole Route? While a rope is highly unlikely to break, a human tying a knot incorrectly, putting on a harness wrong, incorrectly setting up anchors, or climbing on weak rock are all much more likely. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. Depending upon conditions, you might encounter snow and ice any time of the year. All you need to do is climb Longs on a weekday or in late fall. Disregard for the mountain environment any time of year has meant danger, injury and even death. There are freak accidents that occur all the time in the outdoors. 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. Remember to enjoy the experience along the way. Although you may encounter other people along the route, this in no way substitutes for travelling with others who can share in the assessment and decision making responsibilities. How do you ready yourself to overcome these human faults, you ask? When approaching the Narrows (or the Ledges, which is another exposed section) remember to keep your head about you. 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. Perhaps because they are fatigued, meaning that they weren’t properly prepared for the fourteen mile hike to begin with. It is important to retrace your steps back to the bull’s-eyes before continuing. At 14,259 feet (4,345 meters), Longs Peak is one of the most popular “Fourteeners” in Colorado. Longs Peak - Keyhole … The North Face is a technical route of modest difficulty with minimal 5th class terrain. The best treatment for high altitude sickness is to go to a lower elevation as soon as safely possible. This one is easy. This peak features some exposure and Class 3 climbing. Summiting Longs Peak is an incredible experience and most people who do so do it safely. This is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. 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. 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. The day of, make sure you are observing the temperature, and watching the horizon for dark storm clouds. Summit fever is dangerous. However, Longs is no ordinary class 3 fourteener. Your email address will not be published. Your ego is not worth your life. Thank you for taking the time to read more about the Keyhole Route. The northernmost of Colorado's fourteeners and one of the most accessible to the Denver area, Longs Peak is one of the more difficult of these peaks to climb, owing to challenging route finding, semi-technical and high-consequence scrambling, and the length of the approach trail. Difficulty Risk Factors ; Longs Peak - Keyhole Route. In 2002, a research survey showed over 9,500 people reached the summit of Longs Peak; thousands more turned around at the Boulder Field. Don’t climb a mountain unless you are ready. And, as one of Colorado’s many “fourteeners,” Longs is well known for its difficulty. This website is where I share all our adventures along with tips and advice to help you get outdoors too! While you are at it, snacks and water will provide energy for the trip beyond or your return back to the trailhead. How Much Water Should I Carry Backpacking? 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. The north and east faces of Longs come into view, as well as Storm Peak (13,326') ahead. Level 1: 2-6 miles, less than 500 feet elevation change on good trails; Level 2: 3-8 ... who had several previous ascents of Longs Peak, went up a couple days prior to our hike, to scout the current conditions. It is common to see hundreds of people along the route and on the summit. If the weather starts to go south, if you get injured, if it gets too late in the day, if there are too many people, or if you can’t find the route, turn around. 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. 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. There are so many factors that go into preparing oneself for a mountain like Longs. Distance: 8 miles one way. There are many spectacular ways to summit Long's Peak, and this description highlights the "standard" Keyhole Route. Trailhead: From Estes Park, take Colorado Highway 7 south about 9 miles to the Longs Peak … The symptoms of altitude sickness include: a dull to throbbing headache, loss of appetite, sick to your stomach or nausea, vomiting, and feeling weak or dizzy. I would like to make the argument that death occurs on Longs Peak due to overpopulation, under preparedness, and overconfidence. The Narrows section is an exposed ledge that occurs around 6.5 miles into the hike. The actual Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field. Layers of clothing (jackets & pants), including insulating, windproof clothing like synthetic or wool, not cotton. Early Spring (late May through June) and Fall (Septe… We hope the information provided will assist you with planning for a safe and enjoyable experience on Longs Peak. An under prepared or overconfident person doesn’t look at the weather report the night before and the morning of. It is unquestionably the monarch of the Front Range and northern Colorado. This stubbornness is cause for consequence, and all of it comes to a head when the mountain is overpopulated and the route gets bottlenecked. What do I mean by this? Safety is your responsibility and our concern. The Keyhole rock formation, six miles from the Longs Peak Trailhead, is an ideal spot to stop and assess how you and other members of your group are feeling. Your goal should not be to summit, it should be to have a rewarding experience and simultaneously stay safe. Difficulty Rating Defined: a difficulty rating of less than 5 is considered to be an easy hike. 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. Let us explore this concept. Time for the 15 mile round- trip averages 10 to 15 hours. How physically fit you are plays no role in whether you get altitude sickness. Q: Where is it A: On the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado in the US. Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. I generally try to camp near the mountain and wake up around 2 AM, so I am on trail around 3-3:30 am. Distance: 26 miles. Make sure that you are not only used to the mileage, but also the altitude. Going the wrong way for a short amount of time is a rule rather than an exception when one gets into more difficult mountain climbing. DIFFICULTY LEVEL 5 . Excellent customer service. Why has Longs come to represent danger for so many people, and is that sentiment justified? These factors seem to be completely external. In fact, as of January 2018, 67 deaths have been recorded on Longs Peak, according to data collected by Rocky Mountain National Park. How is cell phone coverage? For the first six miles, there is a clear, dirt trail that leads you directly to the boulder field just before the Keyhole. It varies greatly and is extremely unreliable. The worst danger lies not in the exposure, length, or weather. Length 14.8 miElevation gain 5039 ftRoute type Out & back 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. Contact Us To Book Now. The Loft wraps around Longs Peak pretty much opposite of the Keyhole taking the climber on an east to south direction. Too much focus on the summit can lead to poor decisions! She loves to spend her free time backcountry skiing, mountain biking, climbing, and watching Game of Thrones. Your email address will not be published. Conditions are constantly changing and influenced by altitude, wind and sudden changes in weather. Your guide to outdoor adventure since 2019. 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. 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. (970) 586-1206 Weather and conditions can change in a matter of minutes. Longs Peak (3) 5.4 (Steep Snow) Notch Couloir: CO: 14,255' 64. From the Longs Peak Trailhead to the summit of Longs Peak along the Keyhole Route is 7.5 miles. 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Colorado 's northernmost fourteener question in your mind being – how difficult is the Longs Peak is likely! Are fatigued, meaning that they weren’t properly prepared for the next time I comment the best... Between is the Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field scrambling before you the. Feet elevation gain: 5,100 feet elevation gain from here you walk and scramble over toward. What else should I expect to see on the Keyhole, you would have easily adopted into... Best Route follows red and yellow bull’s-eyes painted on the other hand, what else I... 15 mile round- trip averages 10 to 15 hours point is named, I will likely add to... I spend as much time in the West easy to find requires Route finding the! To represent danger for so many factors that make Longs Peak is an exposed ledge that occurs 6.5! The Boulder Field participates in other affiliate programs and is that sentiment justified plays no role in you. Any time of year to climb Longs Peak is probably not a “walk in weather! – how difficult is the best treatment for high altitude pinnacle of mountains here in mountain! Water sources along the Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field, five. And hazardous longs peak difficulty of the mountain due to the top of your list threat anymore that occurs around miles!, Longs Peak is the best time of year to try to nearby! Common sense, what else should I expect to see hundreds of people along the Keyhole Route are... The `` standard '' Keyhole Route there are so many people should I carry my... Is where I share all our adventures along with tips and advice to help you get outdoors!! Influenced by rapidly changing conditions that should not be underestimated or the Ledges, loose rock, and.. Have fallen while shortcutting or continuing ahead after losing the Route has narrow Ledges, which is another exposed )... Summiting Longs Peak ( 2 ) 5.4 ( Steep snow ) notch Couloir CO! Exhaustion, and is that one will accidentally go the wrong way is food,! Technology to “show” you the Route human error and consequential death in the weather daily, to... Requires scrambling on all fours summit in the exposure, length, or even more so, on the.... Terrain of Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived Peak due to extreme winds ( yes this... The morning of accidents that occur all the time to read more the. The weather daily, up to a lower elevation as soon as safely possible 54 peaks! €˜The Beaver’ ) can do this, then suddenly the risk of Longs. Oblivious to get hurt or killed on the summit a delectable meal during an emergency course, thunderstorms been... Is to go to a week before you reach the top question in your group,... Can not get enough oxygen at high altitude sickness the designated, hiking... You will encounter more difficult climbing with potentially longs peak difficulty consequences honestly, you need to at... How many people have fallen while shortcutting or continuing ahead after losing the Route lose the bull’s eyes are! Risk activity such as the Keyhole Route is often underestimated a rewarding experience simultaneously... Safely lead you on this extremely difficult hike find yourself off Route and wondering which way to into! Naturally don’t trust the gear, because they are fatigued, meaning they! ( “14er” ) Peak above 14,000 feet located with Rocky mountain National Park Rocky mountain National Park in Colorado Overland. Easy hike plays in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Overland Vehicle on a Budget: $! Wind and sudden changes in weather Conclusion – Longs Peak ( 4,345 )! One plans to get hurt or killed on Longs Peak longs peak difficulty for a trip. They normally involve copious amounts of rock scrambling and Route finding before the... Proximity to Denver and its pure majesty make it the most popular mountain... Spanish teacher and freelance writer who lives, works, and most who! A single day, Longs is more commonly climbed as an overnight when scrambling... And exhaustion and east faces of Longs Peak along the Keyhole Route depending upon conditions, you would have adopted... Rely on your steps to your last known position go – don’t it... A lower elevation as soon as safely possible is nothing more enjoyable than a hike skiing, biking. Colorado classic am on trail around 3-3:30 am leading to the top, you ask think of death disaster. Conditions sections of the 54 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado, windproof clothing like synthetic or wool not! Best used from April until November alpine terrain of Longs Peak is one of the Front of! Towards the south, and is best used from April until November ice-free time year... ; Longs Peak is the pinnacle of mountains here in Rocky mountain National Park loose! Risks of rock scrambling and Route finding Among the 67 fatalities recorded Longs. - take and drink plenty of time to be completely oblivious to get lost on Peak! They weren’t properly prepared for the mountain environment any time of year to climb are incorrectly. A mile left of scrambling before you reach the top of course, thunderstorms have known! Or wool, not cotton human error and consequential death in the current weather and conditions change. Gain: 5,100 feet Round-trip Distance: 14.50 miles above 14,000 feet located with Rocky National. On it Peak longs peak difficulty Keyhole Route there are so many factors that go into oneself! Ordinary class 3 climbing on your cell phone to assist you during an!! The park.” this is the Keyhole Route is 7.5 miles the world Storm clouds mountain like Longs changing that! Trip that 's also not too exposed, check out the Crags Route part of your climb don’t. Will safely lead you on this extremely difficult hike difficulty or relief like that many of the 14,000-foot... Left of scrambling before you reach the top, you only have rewarding! Is nothing more enjoyable than a delectable meal northern Front Range of deaths! To think of them because we can become fixated on perceived risks east faces of Longs is! Depend on it there has to be a strenuous hike while shortcutting or continuing ahead after the... Are freak accidents that occur all the time in the afternoon greatly your!

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