- Date Hiked: June 8,
- Miles Hiked: 12.2
- Elevation Gain: 5,000'
- Hiking Partner(s): Brian Kooienga
- Brian and I climbed the Notch Couloir on Longs Peak's east face.
Gerry Roach refers to this route as the most spectacular snow climb in
the park. We climbed conservatively and ended up doing 8 pitches
from the start of Broadway to the Notch. Overall, it was a sketchy
traverse followed by a steep snow climb. Although I did get one
short screw in right at the top of the dogleg right, we only encountered
a couple very short sections of thin ice near the rock steps.
- I got up at midnight after a couple hours of fitful sleep and picked
Brian up at 12:30 am. We were hiking up the Longs Peak trail by
2:20 am. It never ceases to amaze me at how fast the hike up this
trail goes but how long it takes to hike out. We made good time to
Chasm Lake in about 2.5 hours. I put on my boots, and we circled
around the north side of the lake to the base of Lamb's Slide. The
temperatures were chilly but tolerable. Some spindrift was coming
down the Notch as we geared up and watched the sun rise. The snow
conditions on Lamb's Slide were nearly perfect and we quickly made our
way up to Broadway.
- We scrambled a short section of Broadway before deciding to rope up
for the remainder of the traverse. Brian took the first lead
placing one piece of gear and a snow picket before we had to simul-climb
about 40 feet for him to get to a nice belay station. This first
roped pitch was on a very snow-covered ledge of Broadway which certainly
grabbed our attention early. On the next pitch, I had a couple of
tricky moves to make in order to get to a more negotiable section of the
ledge. I got a couple of nice pieces of gear in and also clipped
into two pitons. After the initial steep traverse and our tricky
down-climb on the second pitch, we didn't even realize we made the
infamous crux move. I brought Brian over and he led us over an easy
short pitch to the base of the Notch Couloir. It was around this
time that we saw Kevin Craig, Dave Cooper, and Mike Keegan starting up
the Flying Dutchman.
- Not wanting to down-climb if I ran out of rope before I found
another belay station, my first pitch up the couloir was probably a
little short. I brought Brian up and he continued on to another
short pitch. I slung one rock on my pitch and he didn't place any
gear on his. Now that we had both belayed in the shade of the
couloir, we had gotten fairly cold. On my next lead, I worked over
to the right side of the Notch in the sun and warmed myself as Brian
climbed. Brian spent a little time in the sun before climbing the
narrow constriction half way up the couloir. He found another
sunny belay station above and to the right of the narrow chimney.
From here I climbed a short ice section where I placed a screw.
I put in one more piece of pro before running the pitch out and bringing
Brian up. From here, we stuffed the rope and free climbed to the
Notch. I have to give kudos to Brian for carrying the rope most of
the day when we weren't using it.
- We wasted nearly an hour near the Notch looking for the low class 5
chimney that would lead us to the summit. After being totally
perplexed, we had to bail and did two rappels off the back side of the
Notch to the Loft route. The traverse on the Loft route over to
the Keyhole route was practically as difficult as the first pitch of the
traverse on Broadway. The class 3 ledges on the ascending traverse
below the Homestretch were snow covered and proved to be sketchy with
considerable exposure. We finally made it to easier ground and
ascended the Homestretch to the summit. It was a relief to finally
be on top. Unfortunately, I should not have let my guard down
quite so much.
- We refueled and started descending the north face route. We
followed tracks which led us to the eye bolts for our rappel, but I felt
the down climb was very exposed and mentally draining. My crampons
kept balling up and I never felt like I had solid footing. In
addition, our route went very low and close to the edge of the Diamond
which also wore on my nerves. By the time I got to the eyebolt I
was totally fried. Brian did much better on the descent and was
waiting for me at the base of the rappel. We had earlier discussed
descending the Camel to Chasm Lake in order to save some distance on the
hike out, but we decided to stick to the trail through the boulder
field. We were both dehydrated and had to push ourselves on the
hike out. It ended up being over a 17 hour day.
Click here to view a
2D map of
the area where this hike is located.