Longs Peak, with an elevation of 14,255 feet, is the 28th highest Fourteener in the state of Colorado. This peak named after Major Stephen Long (an 1820s explorer) is the only Fourteener located within Rocky Mountain National Park, and is the most popular in the state to climb. Longs' most noteworthy feature is its 1,000-foot sheer Diamond Face, part of the peak's spectacular east face. On May 31, 2005, Governor Bill Owens designated an image of Longs Peak for the back of the state's official quarter. Longs and neighboring Mount Meeker are sometimes referred to as the Twin Peaks (not to be confused with another pair of peaks called the Twin Sisters).
Longs is considered the most difficult non-technical Fourteener in Colorado; it's advised to consult the National Park Service's guide (http://www.nps.gov/romo/downloads/longs/longs.pdf) for proper preparation and equipment. The only non-technical path available is the Keyhole Route, which involves 12-15 hours of hiking and climbing round-trip to and from the nearest parking. You'll hike six miles from the Longs Peak Ranger Station to the Boulderfield, then ascend west to the Keyhole, after which you'll scramble over narrow ledges overlooking sheer cliffs 1,000 feet + in height. The rest of the hike to the summit involves sections with names like the Trough and the Narrows (the Narrows is the most exposed section of the hike).
The danger doesn't end when one reaches Longs' summit: afternoon thunderstorms are frequent, and a Japanese climber was blown off a ledge
the summer of 2005 after reaching the top.
This page last updated 8/15/06