Towering over Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range of Colorado, Long’s Peak peaks out at 14, 259ft. One of the states most famed “14ers,” it is a favorite hiking and climbing destination for locals and visitors alike. But this mound of earth doesn’t merely make for a pretty skyline, Long’s is a beast of a mountaineering and climbing experience not for the faint of heart. And, because she regularly claims lives, Long’s is a lady to be respected as the badass Mother that she is. Read on to discover her many mysteries and to find out how you should treat this lady so you can be in her company for years to come.
The Keyhole Route:
The most popular non-technical route on Long’s, the Keyhole, is not something to take lightly. This 14 mile roundtrip trek has to be started well before sunrise if you wanna make it to the summit and get below tree-line before storms roll in. Consider this description of the route from Rocky Mountain National Park’s website before you tackle it:
“The Keyhole Route is not a hike. It is a climb that crosses enormous sheer vertical rock faces, often with falling rocks, requiring scrambling, where an unroped fall would likely be fatal. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs.”
For those of you who wanna skip the long haul and just climb, Spider Man style, The Diamond is a world famous, 900+ foot, “big wall” comprised of sheer, vertical rock. Seriously, it’s a climber’s wet dream with a 5.10- being the easiest route up, all the way to a gut-wrenching 5.13. Climb during the weekends, as this is a popular and highly trafficked destination.
Hell Hath No Furry:
As was mentioned before, Long’s claims the lives of hikers and climbers nearly every season. Now you might be thinking, “ Not me. I’m an experienced mountaineer and climber. I have all kinds of cool gear and I’m super awesome. I’ll climb her in the dead of winter and not think twice.” Go ahead, but this mountain deserves respect, whether you’re summiting during the prime season (June-September) and especially if you’re visiting her during the winter months. No matter how experienced you think you are, avalanches, lightning strikes, and hypothermia don’t give a damn about how many years you’ve been playing in the mountains. Take all of the necessary precautions, pack the right kind of survival gear incase of an emergency, and always tell a couple of friends if you’re planning on having a private date with Long’s. Just like any woman, if you treat her right and respect her, you’ll live to die another day.