Friday, July 5, 2013

Sun, June 30 - Longs Peak RMNP

What a great climb to Longs Peak!  From the boulder field it's a scramble up rocks to "The Keyhole" where I was surprised to find a stone shelter.  The view from the keyhole was fantastic and it is at this point that the climb really gets interesting.  Narrow, rocky, and with lots of exposure.   The route has you many times down on all fours, grabbing for handholds, or wedging your feet in cracks.  You have to be careful not to roll rocks down on other hikers.  Most of the snow has melted but the last part of the climb had rotted snow in a steep snow chute that lead to the summit.  The ranger said someone fell 25 yards before self arresting a few days ago so we found a crack and climbed to the right of the snow chute and made the summit in calm sunny weather.

You could see storm clouds building as we made our way back down to the boulder field.  Some light hail, rain and fog as we made our way safely down to a trailhead on the east side.  Then a series of five car hitches got me back to Grand Lakes with a very scenic drive over the divide and through thee Rocky 
Mountain Park.  Back at the Shadow Cliff Hostel there was a fantastic rainbow after the rain storm.

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