Climbing Longs Peak
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  1. #1
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    Climbing Longs Peak

    I'm doin' it. Well going to try anyway. We leave tomorrow morning. Will climb Sunday and Monday.

    I think we have a good plan. We reserved a camp spot at the Boulderfield camp ground for Sunday. So we plan to hike there, stay the night and hit the peak the next morning and come back all the way down. I know alot of people make the hike in one day but we are in no hurry. The only thing I dont like about our plan is carrying a bunch of camping crap 2/3 of the way up. The other thing I dont like about it is, i will be camping on the side of a mountain with no beer unless someone has a brilliant idea. I checked into having it airlifted but my funds didnt allow.

    Looking for any last minute advice, suggestions and pointers. Things I have to have and things I could live without. One question I wanted answered was what kind of shoes or boots should I wear? I thought light hiking shoes (my Keens) would be better than heavy boots (my Rocky's).



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    Really depends...what is your hiking experience/fitness level?

    I haven't climbed Longs Peak, but have done various day hikes up mountains. Hiking and camping in the mountains is tricky because you want to pack and travel light (lugging camping equipment up a mountain is going to get old, quick). But at the same time, weather can be a problem, so you'll likely need to make sure whatever you take can cover you in case of some freak thunderstorm half-way up or something (I have no idea what the weather is like, tbh. Use your best judgement).

    As for shoes to take...well, really depends on the trails and what you'll be carrying. If you're carrying substantial weight and the trail is uneven, you'll want to protect your ankles. But the cost of high ankle protection usually is the loss of some agility/flexibility. To be honest, if you can lose some unnecessary gear, you may be better off taking both: wear a pair of heavier boots and pack a pair of lightweight shoes for the day you summit from camp (if you aren't taking gear with you that day).

    Things to have: Again, really depends on the typical weather for the area...I honestly don't know.
    A fleece or lightweight sweater (Alternatively, if it doesn't get too cold, you can sub this with a full-sleeve shirt or two)
    Rainjacket
    Pants (if you can get those pants that unzip to shorts, you can kill two birds with one stone).
    Extra socks

    Others:
    Duct tape. No. Seriously.



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    It might be a little late, but I would not recommend hauling your camping gear all the way up to the Boulderfield campsite. It's windy up there and it is not a pleasant place to camp over night. Rocks is all that is up there and getting water is a trick as well. You're on your hands and knees listening for a water stream and then when you find one you lower your hose between the two huge rocks and start pumping away.

    I reserved a campsite at Goblin's Forrest when I did it, which is only 1 mile in from the starting point but a much more pleasant, traditional camp site. The only downside is that you typically need to summit before noon which puts you on the trail around 1 a.m. in the morning. It sounds bad, but the trail is actually pretty busy at that time, kind of a fun experience.

    As far as shoes, doesn't matter if they are hiking boots or hiking shoes, just do not take shoes that are brand new. You will get blisters fast and it won't be fun.

    During the hike to summit, pack plenty of high calorie snacks, water, and your water pump. Also get a trail map and take a camera, you are going to see some unbelievable views.

    Have fun. I made it to the top with some friends, now I am waiting for my kids to get older and want to summit as a family.



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    You'll want:
    Big Coleman cooler on wheels
    Portable DVD player
    Lots of canned goods
    Laptop + extra battery
    Lots of rocks to throw at bears

    Just my 2 cents.


    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    I did it in one day, and I think if you camped in the boulder field, this would be a slam dunk. That's a smart call IMO, because if you're hiking by sun up, you'll be on the summit by 9AM, easily, which gives you plenty of time to amble down and just enjoy yourself. It is windy up there, but just make sure you have cold gear. I saw a TON of people camping in that area when we climbed it (2001?).

    -I think light hiking shoes would be ok. The advantage is that they might be a bit more nimble and responsive in some of the Class 3 areas, like the top of the Trough, and the final scramble of the Homestretch. Heavier shoes might feel better on the way down.

    -As far as booze, I'd look into packing a few bottles of wine. One for the night before the summit, and one to enjoy on your way down. Few things are as awesome as the adrenaline of having climbed a mountain, and a nice little buzz. Wait until you're back through the Keyhole before boozing, lol.

    -My dad and I have day hiked about 35 14ers, and have only back packed on one. We've been pretty successful in getting most peaks we set out to climb, and probably the biggest secret to our success is how light we travel. Just have enough, and the right kind of, clothes to stay comfortable and sufficient food/water. So many people think "you gotta have this, you gotta have that" and you see so many guys with refrigerators on their backs who are just doing day hikes. Since you ARE back packing, you'll have the luxury of carrying more stuff, but when you attack the summit, I'd keep it minimal. Hiking pants/shorts. Dri-fit t shirt. Fleece. All the food and water you will need goes in a Camelback.

    Good luck, and have fun! Long's is a great hike!


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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    Beautiful hike and climb. I did it in 2000 (Jesus! Can't believe it's been so long!) We started late in the afternoon, camped when it got dark and started out again at 2 AM so we could get to the top before storms hit in the afternoon. There was a guy who was doing some technical climbing the day before on one of the rock faces that got hit by lightning and killed. They were still trying to get to him the day we climbed. Poor guy was just hanging there on his rope, which was a little distracting!


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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    Agree with most of the advice on here.

    Acclimate as much as possible. It sounds like you're not spending a ton of time here before you hit the mountain, so get up to Estes as quickly as possible, get a bite to eat, maybe even a light jog. I've seen altitude sickness, it's not fun and much easier to get if you come from lower elevation and don't acclimate.

    Camping in the boulderfield is a good idea. I assume you have to reserve those sites, correct? Again, bring only as much as you need. Water is an issue to think about. Backpacking stove (REI has a sale on Snowpeaks and I love mine). If you like coffee, I'd recommend buying the Starbucks instant coffee packets and cooking some up, I could have gotten twenty bucks a cup as jealous as people were when we brewed it in the keyhole.

    Get up early and make it to the shelter right before the keyhole. This fills up quickly, especially on weekends, and nobody really starts going through the keyhole unless there's enough light. Will be nice to get out of the wind.

    I certainly understand the booze conundrum. When I'm hiking I usually bring whiskey (it's the peanut butter of the booze world, most dynamite per weight) but I would not recommend drinking a lot. I was dizzy enough going across the narrows without alcohol in my body. As Al said, I wouldn't drink anything above the Keyhole.

    Shoes could go either way. I've known people who have done it in running shoes. There's some Class 3 there, but nothing too sketchy if you take your time.

    The trough takes forever. Look up, note where you think the end is, and it will take about 3 times what you think it'll take to get up.

    Have fun! I usually stop at Estes Park Brewery after that, although you'd have to drive through town. Oskar Blues (in Lyons) is not a far drive from the trailhead either, with much better beer.



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    I did it in the winter in 1998. We did it from the Black Lake (west) side.

    Some great advice above. Acclimatizing will really help out, even if its only a day or so. We always took vodka, because you could mix it with a lot of powder drinks. If you're staying on the east side (I'm guessing), storms can be on you in an instant. When we were backpacking, we always used boots, but had tennies along in the summertime for day hikes.

    Stepping through the keyhole is like entering another world, really cool.


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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    Sorry to sound like the old man, but drinking can wait till you're back in town. There's enough going on out there on the trail without the added complications of alcohol. I've never done a climb or hike and once thought, "man I need a drink!" Anyway, sermon over. Please take it in the way it is intended - just looking out for you!


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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    Quote Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsCy View Post
    Beautiful hike and climb. I did it in 2000 (Jesus! Can't believe it's been so long!) We started late in the afternoon, camped when it got dark and started out again at 2 AM so we could get to the top before storms hit in the afternoon. There was a guy who was doing some technical climbing the day before on one of the rock faces that got hit by lightning and killed. They were still trying to get to him the day we climbed. Poor guy was just hanging there on his rope, which was a little distracting!
    Day before I did it, someone fell off the Diamond, although we didn't see it. My neighbor friend and his sister did Longs the day after a guy fell off the Narrows, I guess his body was still there with a tarp over it that you could see for a good part of the hike. They actually shut down the trail for 45 minutes to evacuate the body.

    Not to make you scared to hike it, but people do die on it. In the case I'm talking about, a guy got separated from his group and bad weather kicked in. Just be careful (hence, no booze above the Keyhole).



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    I remember reading about the Narrows and being scared **** less of falling off, but the way I remember it is that you're almost never in immediate danger of doing so as long as you keep your wits about you (again, the "no booze" thing).


    In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.

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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    I was joking about the booze. No way am I climbing this thing hungover. The beer will taste great when i get to the bottom though.



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    I have hiked it twice. Planning another trip up next year.

    Gloves, gloves, gloves.

    Take a pair of mechanics gloves (thin gloves that have a coating or similar). The rocks up the trough and homestreatch can be rough on the hands. Last thing you want to do is loose your grip.

    Good luck. My final piece of advice is to not be afraid to turn around. If things start turning for the worse (running late in the day, storm rolling in, etc.) dont be afraid to cut your losses and turn around. This is a huge mistake on this mountain that has taken more than one life.

    Storms are supposed to roll in tomorrow afternoon so keep an eye on the weather.



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    Re: Climbing Longs Peak

    A few friends and I have done this a couple times. The first time I was all freaked out because they made it out to be some crazy stuff. It was a sunday stroll till the boulderfield and then you had to start paying attention. I agree w/ the advice here, I would say wear hiking shoes, Ive always felt I could feel where I was stepping better in the lighter shoes. I also brought gloves, they were motocross gloves but similar to receivers or mechanix gloves. I would hate sleeping in the boulderfield but maybe it will be cool who knows, watch out for the marmots (sp?) We did it in a day and left around 4 am. We ran the whole way down made it in prob 2 1/2 hours, storms started rolling in and that is freaky as ****. When we got back the ranger says "hope the bear didnt cause you any problems in the forrest, hes been pestering hikers that leave before daylight." My advice is go to the ranger station the day before and ask if theres anything you should know.



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