|Derek high in the North Chimney|
With our success on El Cap behind us, Derek and I turn our attention to the Diamond. We still haven't done our training climbs in Eldo and we'd heard that the Casual Route still had snow on it, so we were not planning on it today. We tried to go light and I pared the rack down enough where the Diamond was out of the question. My plan was to just climb up the North Chimney to get Derek familiar with it, just like I did with Mark Oveson when we were training for the Diamond. And, just like with Mark, our plan was to then traversed hard right on the Chasm Wall Traverse.
My last experience with the North Chimney was horrible and life threatening as a horde of imbeciles were bombing rocks down by climbing the chimney in the wrong place, doing it carelessly, and not yelling "Rock!". So, we got a late start, on purpose, hoping to avoid any repeat of that danger. We left home at the decidedly non-alpine-start time of 5 a.m. I was surprised that there were at least 5 or 6 spots still available in the parking lot, despite the great weather. We were hiking by 6:10 a.m.
|Hiking across Chasm Lake|
We caught Andrew and Becca just below the start of the North Chimney, as they were gearing up in the snow before things got too steep. Derek and I were already in our Microspikes, which we put on just above the bivy locations. Becca and Andrew also wore Microspikes. As we approached this pair, they were very friendly and asked what route we were heading for. Our route was complicated, so I just said, "Not the Diamond."
We geared faster than they did and I moved up to the rock first. I stopped on a small ledge just ten feet up the rock to switch from our running shoes with Microspikes into our rock shoes. Andrew was right behind us, but I moved off into the lead and ran out two hundred feet of rope before they were ready to move. When I ran out of rope Derek started climbing and we simul-climbed up to the start of the crux near the top. I stopped there to regear and give Derek a break from simul-climbing, though he didn't seem to need it.
I finished things off to Broadway and immediately moved up and right a bit to belay. Andrew hit Broadway and he moved left towards the Casual Route. They simul-climbed the entire Chimney as one pitch. We'll do that as well when we climb the Diamond. I climbed super carefully, making sure I didn't dislodge anything. Despite this care I did dislodge a small rock, smaller than a golf ball, but still yelled "Rock" with gusto. They called up "No problem. All good." Derek was super careful as well.
|Hanging snow blob on the Casual Route|
|Derek doing the last of the heel hooks on the Heel Hook Traverse at the end of the route.|
|Lots of air at the top of the Chasm View Wall|
|Derek leading up the soaked North Face|
|On top of Longs. Derek's eighth ascent and my 78th|
We cruised on down to the parking lot with Derek leading the way and scampering over the boulders at a speed I could not match. We got back down after 8h38m adding yet another data point to the answer of the question: How long does it take to climb Longs Peak? Answer: Eight and half hours.
|Derek and his next objective|