March: Cables/North Face
May: Notch Couloir
July: Keyhole Ridge
August: Kiener's Route
September: Keyhole Route
We had just done a tough 16-mile, 6000-vertical-foot run the day before, but the weather looked good and we had lined up two incredible partners. First, Homie. We'd done the run and the 10-4 the previous weekend with him and he's such a great partner to have in the high mountains. The fourth member of the team was Kyle Richardson, a junior at CU double majoring in Jazz and Business. He's also an extremely fit mountain runner and very fast climber/scrambler. He graciously agreed to slow down to our speed and even carry some gear for us (which he did not use) in order to help equalize our speeds. What a nice kid!
Homie picked us up at 4:15 a.m. and we picked up Kyle at 4:30 a.m. We were at the trailhead a bit before 5:30 a.m. and were soon headed up the trail. I led for a bit and then Kyle took over. His pace was hurting me, but I could just barely hang on. The lighting was really dim (we didn't bring headlamps) and I kept my eyes glued on his feet so that I wouldn't trip.
I took over at the front after a bit, so that Kyle wouldn't go too fast, and we made our way to Chasm Lake. Derek had never had to go around this lake before. On his previous visit he could walk right across it. We traversed around on talus and huge boulders and then up more talus, this time pretty loose, the other side. We got to the bottom of Lambs Slide and stopped to pull on Kahtoola crampons onto our running/scrambling shoes. We put on our helmets (except Kyle) and pulled out our ice axes. Homie and Derek put on harnesses. I didn't pull one on as we neglected to bring another. Oops.
Kyle did most of the step kicking up Lambs Slide and it was just barely soft enough to allow safe passage in running shoes. Just as we started up I heard the terrifying howl of rock falling at high speed. I yelled and crouched down, but never saw the rock. I took over just for the very top to give Kyle's toes a break. two thirds of the way up, a softball-sized rock sped within a foot of my head. I never heard it or saw it coming. Before I even had registered exactly what it was, it struck Kyle in the hip. Ouch! If it had hit any of us in the head, we'd have fallen all the way down Lambs Slide. I was impressed that Kyle hardly made a sound and didn't lose his footing. I know, from experience, how badly that hurts. He had a mark on his hip, but carried on, seemingly, without being hampered at all.
I had to cut four steps across pure ice for us to gain the rocky ledges of Broadway. Here we put away the crampons and ice axes and then continued on the increasingly exposed and awesome Broadway to the start of the rock climbing on Kiener's. This traverse isn't very hard, but it is spectacular and if you tripped...it's a 1000-foot fall to the talus below. We didn't trip.
|Homie and Derek climbing up Lambs Slide|
I screwed up and dropped my belay device. The Petzl one I just bought. Dang it. At least it didn't hit anyone. At the top of the steep section, we put away the ropes and the gear and continued up via mostly beautiful, solid, ledgy third class climbing. This scrambling is tiring, as there is no reason to stop, but it is so fun to be climbing up alongside the Diamond to the top of Longs Peak.
|Kyle leading the way on the Broadway traverse|
|Homie at the top of the roped climbing|
|Climbing up the last steep section of upper Kiener's|
|One more summit for Derek and I|