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Ascent of Longs Peak in 2011-08

Climber: Shaun Hansen

Others in Party:Mike Caldwell
Date:August, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Longs Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14255 ft / 4344 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started out hiking at 2:00AM. The weather was beautiful and the sky full of stars. As we made it up the trail the lights of Longmount became prominent. With a look behind you can see the many hikers trying to ascend this wonderful mountain. They are like fireflies dancing in the night. As steady line of headlamps that light up the path and make it noticeable from above. The trail I got to say was pretty easy going compared to some. When we got to the base of the boulder field I could see the legend of the keyhole. The elevation didn't bother me but drove me to continue. Passing the boulder field was fairly easy, but time consuming. A continuous battery of jumping from boulder to boulder and being careful not to twist an ankle or break a leg. We got to the keyhole in great time, a couple of other hiker turned back at the sight of clouds rolling over the peak behind Long's. But it was merely early morning clouds that would eventually burn off when the sun appeared. We got to the back side of the Keyhole and it exposed a whole new world that was never before thought of. Sure you see pictures of the boulder field, the keyhole, the summit. What you don't see is the majestic beauty the is behind the Peak. The valley's, the mountains in the distance all shared this space that only the few that push passed the keyhole get to see. If you time it right, the beauty of watching the sun rise filter through the Keyhole and light up the peaks behind is a sight worth the effort. After managing our way down the trail and around the back of the mountain, lays my biggest challenge that I have faced. The Trough. This is 600 feet of the most grueling, exhausting, time consuming, self-challenging part of a trail that I have ever been apart of. With its near vertical hand over foot climbing methods to boulders falling from above due to other climber, it tested me and will test you. But if you push on the summit is just a reach away. Once you conquered the Trough, you come to this spot in the trail that will make it or break it. The Narrows. With nearly 300 feet of cliff face to your left and over 1000 feet of fall to your right. All you got is a 1-2 foot jagged trail to follow. It is indeed the most exposure that many will face in the climbing careers. It only last for a few feet. Then the Home Stretch. This monolithic slab is the only thing between you and the summit. It is daily steep. You find yourself using rock climbing techniques to climb up. Finding cracks, footholds, handholds. It actually is quite fun to climb. But with Long's Peak there is not false summit, what you see is it from this point. When you get to the top of the Home Stretch, take it in.. Your there. It is the most beautiful sight that you can see. I got to the summit by 7:30-8:00. The morning clouds loomed over the lower peaks. Making it a picturesque landscape. I dreamed of standing on this summit for nearly 4 years. Climbing mountains all that time just to prepare for this day. With a wave of emotion that came over me all I could do is give out a yell over the valleys below. Indeed one of my greatest adventures to date.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4850 ft / 1478 m
    Elevation Loss:4850 ft / 1478 m
    Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4850 ft / 1478 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Keyhole route
    Trailhead:Long's Peak trailhead  9405 ft / 2866 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4850 ft / 1478 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:Keyhole and Old keyhole trail
    Trailhead:Long's Peak trailhead  9405 ft / 2866 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 30 Minutes



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