Longs Peak is one of those mountains where I've headed out many times with the intentions of summitting and never made it for various reasons. I can't say it's bothered me much as just being in the vicinity of the tallest peak that I can see from my house is always a good time. Chris George called me and asked if I wanted to tackle the north face last Sunday and since my schedule was clear I said sure! Saturday night was my buddy Scott's bachelor party so with only 90 minutes of nap time, I woke up, ate some breakfast and hopped in Chris's truck for the drive up there. All my recent time at altitude has left me feeling pretty quick up high.
After less than 2.5 hours of hiking I made the Boulderfield. Just in time too as I need to hit the privvy in a serious way. After that was taken care of I suited up and we hiked up to the base of the snow you see on the far left of the picture above. Boots were probably not necessary but I don't own any strap on aluminum crampons so we'll just call hauling the Trango Extremes and G-12s weight training.
Chris and I simul climbed the snowfield in less than 10 minutes as it was rapidly warming up now that the sun was starting to hit it. I made the first eyebolt in the rock and set up a belay for the rock pitch.
Chris swung the lead and headed up the rock, both of us ditching the crampons and ice axes. The rock was a bit wet but easy and fun even in mountaineering boots. It was supposed to be 5.4, I don't know if it was that hard though. The epitome of 5.easy for sure.
We quickly topped out into 3rd class terrain, ate some food (turkey wrap yum!) and busted up to the summit.
Wow I finally topped out on Longs Peak! The views were great and the tourists were already in force coming up the Keyhole route. With some clouds moving in to the west and a birthday party for Chris to attend we hightailed it back down the 3rd class ground, simul-rapped the North Face and glissaded the final snowfield. I changed back into my running shoes and we shuffled quickly down the trail head for a 8:30 round trip.
The North Face route is awesome and much quicker and more fun than the standard Keyhole route if you can handle a little 5.easy climbing. The rope is probably not necessary for most trad leaders but we weren't sure of conditions and brought it so we thought we'd use it. Marni and I will be returning there shortly for our couple's summit!