Longs Peak is as famous as the Colorado Rockies (baseball team, that is) when it comes to the Front Range. Thousands of visitors mob the small town of Estes Park, just outside of Rocky Mountain NP each year. A smaller number travel to the southeastern side of the national park, to test their endurance on the trails that encompass the park’s crown jewel: The infamous Longs Peak. Standing at 14,255 ft, it was named after Major Stephen H. Long who led various expeditions throughout the Rockies in the early 1800s. The standard route to summit this beast is a rugged 15 mile round trip trek, and shorter routes to the top are all technical climbs (require crampons, ropes, etc).
The standard route is named ‘The Keyhole Route,’ due to a giant hole in the rock where the trail traverses. Just below the notch, there are stepping stones in the path, and even solar toilets! Not quite roughing it, if you ask me. After the Keyhole though, things get interesting. Route section names such as The Trough, The Narrows, and The Homestretch lie just ahead. They sound like a game, but are daunting. Click HERE for further route details. On a late summer day this class 3 route is difficult enough. If you plan on hiking before mid July, expect snow and thick ice to accompany the exposure as well. Did you bring crampons, an ice tool, and a change of undies? For your sake, I hope you did! Click HERE for route conditions.Check back later this week for more details and images from © Rodeonexis Photography…brought to you by Jeremy Weir