High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Longs Peak Project (June) -- Kieners

June 25th—Ascended Kieners, descended North Face with John Greedy

This ascent went a lot smoother with the route fresh on my mind. John hadn’t been up Longs in several years. So, his stoke was pretty high. We made good time up to Lamb’s Slide where we put on crampons and got out our axes. There were a few groups above us so I hauled ass to try to get to the top before they started the traverse over to Broadway and knocked rocks down on my helmetless head. John had a helmet so I didn’t feel too bad dropping him here. The few snow spots that were on Broadway last week had all melted leaving Broadway a cruiser alpine sidewalk. We quickly made our way through the short crux sections of lower Kieners and found ourselves on mellow terrain in no time. We actually stayed on route for upper Kiener’s, which made for a much more pleasant experience compared to last week. We spent almost an hour on the summit chatting with Peter Bakwin (who had ascended Keyhole Ridge) and a few others before making our way down the North Face waterfall route. After 8 hours 4 minutes we found ourselves back at the trailhead enjoying a few beers. 

Our route: Up Lamb's Slide, traverse Broadway, up Kiener's

Sunrise above treeline

Longs Peak in the distance

Pretty awesome place to be

Skirting around Chasm Lake (Photo: John Greedy)

Looking up at Lamb's Slide and all of the people that will be potentially knocking rocks on us from above once they start the entry to Broadway (Photo: John Greedy)

Getting ready to shimmy up Lamb's Slide (Photo: John Greedy)

John heading up Lamb's Slide

Pulling around the crux bulge on Broadway (Photo: John Greedy)

John Greedy making his way across Broadway

Cruising up the easier upper Kiener's route (Photo: John Greedy)

John on upper Kiener's

Loitering on the summit for over an hour. Hard to beat weather like this at 14,000+ feet! (Photo: John Greedy)

Looking back at the descent.

June 19th—Ascended Kieners, descended North Face with Derrick Clemmenson

I had only done Kieners once prior to this and it was almost a year ago. So, my knowledge of the route was very limited. However, I did at least know where the start was. Derrick and I made good time up to Broadway where we removed our crampons and stowed our axes. There were a few patches of avoidable snow and the snow that was above the ledge had frozen ice axe holes in it, which provided great hand holds. When we reached the Notch Couloir there were two climbers hanging out and belaying a lead climber who was heading up Kieners. Those guys didn’t seem too thrilled to see two guys in running shoes come past them with intentions of soloing the route they were pitching out. Fortunately, the lead climber was much nicer and let us pass quickly. After scrambling through some of the crux section we found ourselves in some sort of gully that appeared to have two exits: one directly to our right and one straight ahead. The footprints in the snow led us to believe that straight was the correct way. So, I scrambled up and some stuff that felt a little harder than 5.4 and noticed several pieces of webbing along the way. I should have realized that these were likely for parties that bailed out, but I didn’t. I eventually topped out and noticed that the exit was going directly into Notch Couloir. After downclimbing a bit I made my way back to our second route choice, the one of the climber’s right, and we easily exited the gully onto cruiser terrain. The rest of the ascent was harder than expected since we stayed way left of the route. We ended up scrambling up shitty, lichen-covered slabs with some old fixed gear before finally topping out. Another routine North Face descent and hike out saw us back at the car in 8 hours 10 minutes. Not bad, considering our bounty of route finding mistakes.

Sunrise at Chasm Junction

Summer is finally here!

Broadway without snow is much less sketchy than with snow

Cruising along the sidewalk

This is right before making our first route finding error of the day.

Summit shot

Descending the Cables waterfall

One great thing about all of these descents on the North Face is that there's always a sweet view of the Diamond waiting at the bottom

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