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Climbing Longs Peak -- Keyhole Route Description


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Climbing the Trough and Walking The Narrows
The Narrows is one of the best parts of the Keyhole Route with solid rock and lots of exposure.

Cross The Narrows, a high rocky sidewalk that swings around the south face of Longs Peak. Just watch your step if the weather turns bad.

Photograph courtesy Doug Hatfield

Climbing the Trough

The Trough is filled with snow both early and late in the climbing season and may require crampons and an ice axe. If snow is still in the Trough, avoid it by keeping left on dry rock. During peak summer climbing season, the Trough is dry. The gully has both solid rock sections as well as rubble, watch for loose rock. Take care not to dislodge anything that may tumble onto climbers below. Wear a helmet to protect your head from klutzes above. Climb the Trough for 550 feet to 13,850 feet on the west ridge of Longs Peak, finishing with a 30-foot scramble up a rock wall and past a tricky chockstone (hardest part of the route), to a sudden airy view of Wild Basin to the south from a platform.

The Narrows

From the top of the Trough, the route traverses the south face on an exposed ledge system called The Narrows-it's not as bad as it looks. Cross the ledge for 300 feet, passing a couple sections that narrow to four feet. It's usually dry with firm footing. Scramble up right on broken ledges and around a rib for another 400 feet to the base of the final section-The Homestretch. Again, it looks worse than it is.

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