Longs Peak Summit Log (#4805)
- Signed By: Dave Maney
- Date Submitted: November 22, 2003
I live at 7,500 feet here in Colorado and did the peak with my good friend from Nashville, Tennessee. The weather was mostly very good, except for remarkably frightening howling wind at the Keyhole and at the top of the Trough. Going through those two apertures with the wind pummeling us was literally the most physically frightening experience of my life.
To give you some perspective, I have hiked a bunch of 12K and 13K foot peaks here, in Wyoming, and in the Sierras; this was my first 14er.
Here are some things I think Longs first-timers like we were should keep in mind:
1. Longs is a CLIMB, not a hike. There are several places where you have to use your hands extensively, and there are a bunch of places where, plainly and simply, you can fall to your death.
2. The heaviest duty hiking boots you have are in order here -- the rocks and the boulders are murder, and I would have probably at least badly sprained an ankle a couple of times if I hadn't had some very rugged boots.
3. We each drank about three liters of water on a sunny but not hot day. Would have hated to have been without that much.
4. Don't be surprised if you get altitude sickness, even if -- like me -- you live up high. What you have to remember is that you spend in excess of six hours or so above 13K feet with all the difficult climbing, and of course you're massively exerting yourself. I got a wicked case of it and was damn lucky to make the summit. Do a little research on altitude sickness before you go so you know what your options are -- fitness has relatively little to do with it.
5. I think the "crowd" thing is overblown. Would I rather climb an uninhabited mountain? Yes. But that's not what Longs is. Having said that, it's not like you're rubbing shoulders with people or anything like that. I would guess from looking at the trail register that about 75 people summited on the Sunday we went, but it didn't matter. They're spread across an enormous geography, and there was great camaraderie amongst everyone we interacted with.
6. Take and use heavy duty sunscreen.
7. I read these things about young kids going along on the mountain. That's nuts. I have 6 & 9 year olds who have been with me on lots of summits. I would be terrified to take them on Longs until they're teenagers, at least. It's not a strength/endurance question -- they have that. It's a judgment and risk issue -- kids couldn't decide to go on or stop, to take a risk or not, to even know how big of a risk something was or wasn't. The downside's not worth the bragging rights. Take them somewhere else.
Good luck if you decide to go. If I knew what I was in for....well....judge for yourself. Go Vandy!