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787 Keyhole Route

The Keyhole from the Boulderfield

Last week we finished the Longs Peak Map for cloudhiking.com and now we are happy to announce that we have also completed the East Longs Peak Trail and Keyhole Route Guide. We enjoy making all the maps and guides on the cloudhiking site. Each Guide we complete has meaning to us due to our personal experiences on the trail or route, but some even more so than others. The Keyhole Route is one of those very special routes.

In the late 80's, I began spending my vacations in Rocky Mountain National Park. Each of those years I tried to climb Longs. In 1993, I had still not climbed the Keyhole Route, though I had descended it once in the winter. As I was preparing to climb a much harder route on Longs, I had planned a rest day before my big climb. I woke to an overcast, rainy day. After breakfast I decided to hike up Longs to Chasm View (the small notch at the corner of the northeast ridge of Longs) to see if I could view the conditions on my route scheduled for the next day. I left the Longs Peak Trailhead a little after 8am.

Being a bad weather day, the only folks I met on the trail were those unfortunate ones who had spent the night at the Boulderfield. They stopped their descents long enough to share their stories of a horrible night. I assured them I was just going for a hike to check on conditions and continued on my way.

From the Boulderfield, I went over to Chasm View and looked at the mighty East Face of Longs. The rain continued. I left Chasm View and headed back to the empty Boulderfield. It was still very early in the day and I had nothing to do, so I decided to climb to the Keyhole to look down into Glacier Gorge. Well, I continued past the Keyhole and soon I was whooping and hollering as I stood alone on the summit of Longs.

Leaving the summit, I scrambled quickly back down to the Boulderfield and then ran back to the trailhead. It never stopped raining - I had the mountain to myself.

The Keyhole Route is a great route on a great mountain. As the years passed, I never tired of the route or of sharing it. My wife and I have such good memories of the Route. We hope that the Guide helps you to a lifetime of experiences too.

So for a few more pics ...

Starting on the Ledges

A nice view at the other side of the Keyhole (visible on the left)

The Ledges close to the Trough

Crossing the Ledges when the Route was still 'technical'

The Narrows just before the Homestretch

Finishing the Narrows - starting the Homestretch

Summit of Longs

Amy on the Summit of Longs after completing the 14ers - big smile

Please visit the cloudhiking pages and re-live or dream!


Happy Keyhole trails


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