Rocky Mountain National Park High Point Trip Report
Longs Peak (14,256 ft)
Date: July 27, 1986
Authors: Dave Olson and Doug van Zet
It is time for an easy 4th class ascent of Longs. We left late, starting from the Longs Peak Ranger Station at
10:45 AM. Nothing to report up to the boulder field. We saw a climber ascending Kieners route; we saw a
climber descending the cable route. We went through the Keyhole, found the couloir that matched the
description in the book, "when the Ledges start descending", and ascended to a broad window. It was a
series of steps and ledges. At the top of the window was a 20-30 foot pitch with pretty bad exposure.
It was do-able but not 4th class. It also looked like we had gotten on the False-Keyhole route. We poked
around up at the top of the couloir, then descended to the Ledges and tried the next couloir to the south.
This was it. It had an easier grade and when we got to the headwall there was a crack on the left, topped by
chock-stones forming two caves. Doug investigated the lower cave, no go. Dave went up to the upper cave
(easy face climbing) and found the tunnel to the left onto the boulder slope above the cliff-step and
chock-stones, 18 inches from the cliff-lip. We then went up more easy ledges to the top of the ridge and followed
the ridge, a bare spine of rock for a fair distance, to the top. We made it at 5:50 PM.
We descended by the Keyhole route, passed four or five tents in the Boulderfield (on a Sunday night!) and
got back to the car at 10:30 PM, using our night vision mostly. We did not see much of the typical Longs
The existence of the West Couloir route keeps Longs Peak off the 5,000-foot He-man list.