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. Be ready to wake up early the morning of the climb. Would you describe the Keyhole Route as dangerous? If you are trying to stay safe while up on the most popular and deadly fourteener in Colorado, the essential question to ask is: What is the cause of these deaths? Like, almost impossible. If you lose the bull’s eyes you are likely off-route and will encounter more difficult climbing with potentially severe consequences. For example, one of my friends and Colorado native recently told me he would never climb Longs because he was afraid of the Narrows section. The Keyhole Route crosses enormous vertical rock faces, is exposed to falling rock, and requires scrambling on all fours. The nearest city is Estes Park and major airport is Denver International. This is a climb, a classic mountaineering route that should not be underestimated. Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Another perceived risk of hiking Longs is that one will accidentally go the wrong way. With the top question in your mind being – How difficult is the Longs Peak climb? Beta – 14 miles, 5,100 feet elevation gain. Or, maybe they got blown off of the mountain due to extreme winds (yes, this does happen). Between 5 and 10 is moderate, and anything over 10 is considered to be a strenuous hike. It's 'Diamond Face' is known as one of the best vertical face climbs in the world. The peak dominates the breathtaking landscape with its height topping out at 14,259 feet. Preparedness and self-reliance are essential. If, for any reason, something indicates that you should turn around, you need to do so. These factors seem to be completely external. Why has Longs come to represent danger for so many people, and is that sentiment justified? People are dying from lightning and hypothermia. Time for the 15 mile round- trip averages 10 to 15 hours. 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. 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. When approaching the Narrows (or the Ledges, which is another exposed section) remember to keep your head about you. 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. Longs isn’t the cursed fourteener, or something like that. Check out the Keyhole Route brochure which describes the different sections of the Keyhole Route starting at the Boulder Field and ending at the summit with brief text and photos. When is the best time of year to try to climb the Keyhole Route? Longs Peak (3) 5.4 (Steep Snow) Notch Couloir: CO: 14,255' 64. Pack the appropriate gear in order to avoid hypothermia, exhaustion, and injury. When you are in the mountains, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is common to see hundreds of people along the route and on the summit. In fact, as of January 2018, 67 deaths have been recorded on Longs Peak, according to data collected by Rocky Mountain National Park. Meeker and Longs Peak (SE Longs, ‘The Beaver’). A crowded mountain alongside weather continually increasing is a dangerous situation. Our professional guides will safely lead you on this extremely difficult hike. Let us explore this concept. Some have died or sustained serious injury because they were travelling alone or chose to separate from the rest of their group. Safety is your responsibility and our concern. 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. 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. Check the weather daily, up to a week before you climb and the morning of. The class ratings are generally from guidebooks or websites. 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. 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. At these elevations storms often produce snow, sleet and hail. 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. The actual Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field. The actual Keyhole Route begins after the Boulder Field. (970) 586-1206 Sometimes attempted in a single day, Longs is more commonly climbed as an overnight. Distance: 8 miles one 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. Length 14.8 miElevation gain 5039 ftRoute type Out & back It is one of the 54 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado. I generally try to camp near the mountain and wake up around 2 AM, so I am on trail around 3-3:30 am. Honestly, you would have to be completely oblivious to get lost on Longs. A slip, trip or fall could be fatal. This high failure rate likely comes due to the peak’s popularity and its difficulty. Do not rely on your cell phone to assist you during an emergency! Learn more about me here. Unfortunately there's not enough data to make any solid conclusions regarding this. As with any high altitude mountaineering route you will encounter hazards along the way. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. 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. If you find yourself off route and wondering which way to go – don’t shortcut – retrace your steps to your last known position. I want to make it clear that I am not saying everyone who has died on Longs was there during an overpopulated situation, under prepared, or overconfident. For the first six miles, there is a clear, dirt trail that leads you directly to the boulder field just before the Keyhole. There are many spectacular ways to summit Long's Peak, and this description highlights the "standard" Keyhole Route. 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. Travelling with others provides an added margin of safety with decision making, shared observations of changing conditions, and the ability to assist or go for help in the event of an accident. Early Spring (late May through June) and Fall (Septe… 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. Is the Keyhole Route a hike or a climb? To quickly answer – The risk factors that make Longs Peak hard to climb are often incorrectly perceived. Standard Route: East Slopes. The Loft wraps around Longs Peak pretty much opposite of the Keyhole taking the climber on an east to south direction. The terrain requires route finding skills and the ability to assess and adjust to unexpected or changing weather conditions. Longs Peak is a high and prominent mountain in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. If you are ready, that means you are overcoming the three main problems of overpopulation, under preparedness, and overconfidence. Keyhole Route is one of the most popular 14er routes in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. The last 1.5 miles is by far the most difficult, exposed and hazardous portion of the route. * Among the 67 fatalities recorded on Longs Peak between 1915 and 2017, only 4 were women. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. 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