Sunday, April 17, 2005

Long's Peak - North Face

After talking about it for several seasons, the schedule finally worked out for several of us to make a snow ascent of the old cable route on Long's north face.

The cable route goes straight up the middle of this picture.
We had hiked into the boulder field the day before so we were nicely positioned for the day's climbing. From the boulder field, we scrambled up to the start of the technical climbing.

While the climbing is easy, we opted to rope up since a slip here would give you a long ride with an unpleasant landing.
After the technical part, Dan and Jason rappelled down the cable route and returned to our camp in the boulder field while Jonathan and I continued on to the top. Towards the top there were sections of drifted loose snow that didn't make for fun climbing. Finally, the angle of the route backed off and we topped out on the broad summit plateau.

Jonathan (on the right) and I were pretty happy to be on top.
Our plan was to descent the less steep keyhole route in order to avoid the loose snow on the upper north face.

Here's where our descent off of the summit plateau down the home stretch started.
After making our way down the home stretch we made our way through the narrows. In the summer, I never noticed the exposure through this section, but with the ice and snow we carefully made our way across.

The traverse across the narrows was rather enjoyable. The snow was good and the ledge is actually quite a bit wider than it appears in this picture.
Since the trough was covered in good consolidated snow, the descent went quickly.

After the trough, we crossed over to the keyhole and were glad to be finished with the technical section. We descended to our camp at the boulder field, packed up, and hiked out towards the trail head. The hike down should have been uneventful, but at about tree line we lost the trail and earned a few bonus miles as we post holed around searching for the trail. Fortunetly, it wasn't long before we got back on the hard packed trail and soon were back to our cars.