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Long's Peak Summit via Keyhole, 9-1-2005


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#1 lovetohike

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 10:29 AM

Date: Thursday, September 1, 2005

9:45pm Wednesday: drove into the Long's Peak trailhead parking lot. My original plan was to catch a few hours of sleep in the back of my car, and be on the Long's Peak trail at 3am. This worked fine until about 12:30am, when cars started arriving in the trailhead parking lot. It was impossible to sleep soundly after 12:30am with all of the car doors slamming. So, I dozed fitfully until about 2am. There is a sign at the entrance to the parking lot stating that car camping is forbidden. It's not clear whether I was car camping, but in any case, you would be foolish to do it in the trailhead parking lot if you want to get any sleep. If I had to do it again, I would park somewhere else more quiet and then drive to the trailhead about 2:30am. When I arrived at the trailhead at 9:45pm there were about 5 cars in the parking lot; when I began hiking at 2:45am the parking lot was 2/3 full. The place must really be a madhouse on the weekends smile1.gif

2:45am signed the register and hit the trail. It was clear, 40F, with little wind. I had plenty of company. After gaining around 800 feet, I could look back and see headlamps bobbing all along the trail. I started with 3 liters of water.

6am arrived at the Keyhole. Still clear with little wind.

8:30am arrived at the Long's Peak summit. Clear with a light wind.

9:15am departed the Long's Peak summmit. Clear with a light wind.

11:30am arrived back at the Keyhole. Clear with little wind.

3:15pm arrived back at the Long's Peak trailhead. Clear, 80F, with little wind. Ended with 1/4 liters of water.

Additional Notes:
+ the trail between the Long's Peak trailhead and Keyhole is no different than any of hundreds of other hikes in Colorado. The Keyhole to Summit trail (the "Fried Egg" trail) is a different animal altogether.
+ the Fried Egg trail is conventionally divided into four sections: the Ledges, the Trough, the Narrows, and the Homestretch. When evaluating the risk associated with traversing a section of rock, I consider two things: the consequences of falling (ranging from none to certain death) and the quality of foot- and handholds (ranging from outstanding to non-existent). The risk associated with an entire climb equals the highest risk associated with ANY section of a climb. It doesn't matter if 990 feet of a 1000 foot climb is safe - if 10 feet are unsafe the entire climb is unsafe. Sadly, I consider the Fried Egg trail to be unsafe because there are two places where the traverses were outside of my comfort zone. The first is at the top of the Trough. There is a large boulder blocking access to the ridge, and it's necessary to scramble around it. The quality of the handholds/footholds here were marginal, although a fall here would most likely only result in moderate injury, not death. The second section was certain places along the Homestretch. In these places, a fall would almost certainly be fatal and again the quality of the handholds and footholds were very low. I don't go into the mountains to take unnecessary risks. There are plenty of great hikes in Colorado where you can get some exercise and enjoy the natural beauty - why take risks if you don't need to? For this reason, I won't climb Long's Peak via the Fried Egg trail again. Of course, there are plenty of adventurous folks who thrive on taking unnecessary risks - more power to them. I am wired more for safety than risk.
+ since I was climbing in near-perfect conditions and felt great physically and mentally, the Ledges, Trough (excluding the top), Narrows, and most (but not all) of the Homestretch were well within my comfort zone. However, this could change quickly if something was wrong. Some examples: having to rush to beat an approaching storm, suffering from altitude sickness or excessive fatigue, presence of wet rock, or nearby lightning. For many dayhikers, the key go/no-go decision will be at the Keyhole. Keep in mind that although the view from the top of Long's Peak is great, there are many other peaks in Colorado with views equal or better that can be reached with far less risk of personal injury or death.
+ For what it's worth, I'm a Colorado Mountain Club hike leader (in training) with a fair amount of hiking experience. If you decide to tackle Longs via the Fried Egg trail, best of luck to you
ciao.gif
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#2 Aaron

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 11:00 AM

Glad to have you here! shakehands.gif Great way to start out posting five.gif Thanks for the report as well!

--Aaron jockey.gif
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#3 druwdowns

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 11:31 AM

Way to make an entrance!! five.gif

It is nice to have a park story to read. It looks like you made good time.

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us,
~Druw~
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#4 Marvman

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 01:15 PM

Ok, show of hands....

How many people knew that route was called the "Fried Egg Trail"?

I didn't....

Marvman
(if I was up there, it'd be called the "tossed cookie" trail)
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#5 druwdowns

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 01:22 PM

QUOTE (Marvman @ Sep 2 2005, 02:15 PM)
Ok, show of hands....

How many people knew that route was called the "Fried Egg Trail"?

I didn't....

Marvman
(if I was up there, it'd be called the "tossed cookie" trail)

Can I put my hand down yet or are you still counting?

~Druw~
(Geez Marvman, this is making the time go even longer.)
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#6 weatherbe

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 06:26 PM

Wow, Lovetohike, great report!!! You started off with a bang. Now you have to follow up this with another great post ... just kidding ... peace.gif smile1.gif

Great job and thanks!

Weather bee.gif
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#7 Allie

 
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Posted 02 September 2005 - 07:01 PM

Welcome and thanks for a great report. smile1.gif

Allie
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#8 lovetohike

 
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Posted 03 September 2005 - 09:08 PM

We called it the Fried Egg trail (due to the distinctive trail markings) back in the mid 1970's when I was a camper at Cheley Colorado Camps near Estes Park. This hike marked my return to the Long's Peak summit after 30 years. Not much has changed - it's still flat as a pancake up there smile1.gif

I guess to keep this pattern up, I'll have to return to the summit in 30 years, when I'm 72, and then 30 years after that, when I'll be 102 (I expect to have a brand new cybernetic body when I'm 102).
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#9 bpv_UW

 
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Posted 05 September 2005 - 07:30 PM

Great report, thanks for sharing! It's interesting to hear how peoples' points of view differ about which parts of the Longs climb are the most difficult/dangerous and how much so. I guess just knowing your own limits and making sound judgements on the trail is the name of the game...

I've never climbed Longs, but would like to sometime in the future.

-Brandon thumb.gif
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