12 Summits
> Summit 6: Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (14,255 ft)

September 5th - 6th, 2005
Longs Peak
Mountain Scrambling
Early Mornig Shadows
(Panoramic)
Summiting Longs Peak

Jamie, my younger brother, moved to Denver in August to kickstart his career as an Architectural Engineer, so, I used this opportunity to visit him, and welcome him to the west by insisting that we climb Longs Peak around Labor Day. Long's Peak is a major 14er located in Rocky Mountain National Park, and is such a unique peak that its infamous Diamond face will appear on Colorado's state quarter when it is issued next year. Our goal was to hike up to the Boulder field, and then camp for a night, before attempting the summit early the next morning. Acclimating to the elevation is very important, in my opinion.

The Keyhole route on Long's Peak is a very hard class 3, borderline class 4 climb that ascends up some very rugged terrain. Fortunately, it is located in the most scenic portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, allowing you to be in one of the ultimate natural cathedrals of the west. My brother and I made it to the Boulder field at the base of the mountain in a few hours, where we set up camp, made dinner and rested. At camp, we met Brian and Jason, two brothers from Kansas City that were also gunning for the summit in the morning. Like my brother, they had never climbed any mountains before, so it was set that we would all climb together the next day.


Around 5 in the morning, I woke up at the first glimpse of light on the horizon, made some ginseng tea and some nasty reconstituted eggs for breakfast, and then started the climb with my brother. We met Brian and Jason at the top of the Keyhole, and then continued our trek onward to the top of the summit. As we ascended the west side of the mountain, the Glacier Gorge area lit up like a giant cathedral as the early morning sun poked through the ridgeline.

My brother came down with AMS (altitude mountain sickness) about a hundred feet from the summit, and had to descend down to lower elevation. Yet, Jason, Brian and I finished the climb. I stood on the peak for about a half hour, and then returned back down to meet my brother, before heading back to Denver.

 
Some video I took of the trek up to the summit of Longs Peak.
Mile High for Miles
The Colorado Rockies
Layers of Mountains
The Narrows
Abstract Mountain Art
The Homestretch
The Keyhole Descent
(Panoramic)
Summit Down
Images and text copyright 2005 by GT Wilson.
Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from Gary T. Wilson