Ascent of Longs Peak on 1995-09-12

Climber: Jan Triska

Date:Tuesday, September 12, 1995
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Longs Peak
    Elevation:14255 ft / 4344 m

Ascent Trip Report

One of my craziest days ever, out in the mountains. I jumped at a chance to summitt one of Colorado's 14000-footers and was too caught up in the excitment that I'd neglected to heed the weather..which was worsening. First, I picked a hard way up, eschewing the Keyhole route. It was pretty challenging without a rope or crampons. I felt like a climber in the 1800s, old school approach to big peaks. There was a chimney which called for some serious rock moves; no idea how I got up that, but I did, much to the consternation of a 4-person roped team below me, who were on a guided climb (they never made it).
While free-climbing up the North face of the peak, normally a mountaineering route, I realized there was no way to descend - I needed to top out first and take the easier (Keyhole) route down. Shortly after summitting, a big storm, lightning bolts and all, blew in. I scrambled down for dear life, no exaggeration. I predicatbly became a bit disoriented in the bad weather and ended up descending off the route and climbed into the wrong valley. Knowing I had a very long way back, around the massif, I set out to correct my errors... and bush-whacked and walked back, for 6 hours, in order to rejoin the original approach day. This complicated hike out was a small epic in itself; taught me a good lesson, at the age of 23. Several deep ravines and rocky ridges had to be crossed. I was dehydrated and very, very tired when I'd finally stumbled into our base camp. My trip partner who had decided not to continue to summit, was waiting - and buddy nearly called a rescue.
Whew! Colorado, Rocky Mountain high.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4921 ft / 1499 m
    Elevation Loss:4921 ft / 1499 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2+
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
weather turned bad
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4921 ft / 1499 m
    Route:N face
    Trailhead:9334 ft / 2845 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4921 ft / 1499 m
    Route:down south slopes, and around
    Trailhead:9334 ft / 2845 m
    Time Down:7 Hours 

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