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Beta on Keyhole Ridge
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By NickinCO
From colorado
Sep 19, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

Looking at doing keyhole ridge on Longs. This will be my first alpine route... What is the average approach time to start climbing? RT time? easily bailable (is that a word?) to the keyhole route? Tips? Anyone been up there recently that can comment on snow/ice?

Thanks
Nick


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By Sam T.
From Denver, CO
Sep 19, 2012

Yeah man I was just up there yesterday and the whole of Keyhole Ridge was clear and bone dry. I would say average timing for a morning approach is probably about 2.5-3.5 hours depending on how fast you move. Gotta cover 5.5ish miles and about 3000 vertical feet to get there. A lot of people also camp at the boulder field and hit it at first light.

Haven't done that route so can't really comment on route time, but from having eyeballed the far side many a time, I'd say you could get to the ledges with a double rope rap pretty quick (someone please correct me if that's not true.)

The weather's your biggest enemy up there. Comes in hard from your blind side, so start early and get off early. From the top the Cables is usually the quickest out, but bring crampons as it's pretty iced up already. Keyhole route however was bone dry and gorgeous. Have a blast up there!


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By Ben P
From Fort Collins, CO
Sep 20, 2012
The Notch

Keyhole ridge route is super fun and in my opinion a safer way to climb longs then the keyhole route. Easy climbing so bring a light rack. Route finding isn't bad once you find the start of the route. Be careful not to knock rocks off onto turons underneath you. If you don't want to tag the summit you can head strait for the raps down the north face. You can bail offthe route onto the ledges of the keyhole route and head back out the keyhole if I remember correctly and there may have even been some fixed nuts. I think it took us a little less then ten hours ctc. Light pair of crampons for the north face this time of year is always a good idea, definitely verglass up there. Hope this helps. -B


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By Dave Bn
From Fort Collins, CO
Sep 20, 2012
Dreamweaver

Went up last weekend with the intention of doing Keyhole ridge. Were worried about snow/ice so we brought binocs to check the route from the boulder field. There was snow on the shaded aspects of the first and crux pitches as well as a snow patch at the base of the crux pitch that most likely would have produced ice on the slabs.

We decided not to head up the route. Mostly because once you're past the first tower and the top of the NW couloir, bailing would require leaving a ton of gear behind. I think the route probably could have been done, but it would require a level of commitment to the route that we weren't feeling.

There's been more snow up there since last weekend and supposedly there's ice on the narrows on the standard keyhole route now when there wasn't last weekend.

This late in the season for your first alpine route I'd go with something lower. Spearhead, Sharkstooth or even the Spiral Route on Notchtop (which is an awesome route that can be made about as difficult as you'd like).


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By Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Sep 20, 2012
Intruder, 5.11+. Zion National Park. Photo: Matt Kuehl

TR on my blog if you click the link in my profile. Easy to bail with one rope if need be. Single rack. You can simul a great deal of the route.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Sep 20, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

Andy Hansen wrote:
TR on my blog if you click the link in my profile. Easy to bail with one rope if need be. Single rack. You can simul a great deal of the route.


Thanks Andy, just sent you an email.


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By Wally
From Denver
Sep 20, 2012

Nick - this is a good route - a good first alpine route - and also a good winter ascent line of Longs. A few comments:

- time to climb the route from the key hole might be 2 hours or so, depending on how fast you are.

- you don't start at the actual keyhole - either on the west or east side (I forgot) - research this carefully.

- someone said you can't see the weather coming on this route. Not true - great views to the west on this line.

- we got blizzarded off the thing and did one double rope rap to the east to get off.

- by time you finish the route the summit is very close. For a moderate alpine line like this - I think the goal of tagging the summit makes sense.

- someone else mentioned crampons for the north face, which might be very good beta. However, if you don't own or don't want to carry crampons, and the north face does have snow / ice on it - then avoid the north face by going down the standard route (I am assuming this does not need crampons). If you see ice and snow on the west side of the Key Hole, and you don't have crampons, probably best to bail from there, maybe climb one of the easier smaller peaks in the vicinity for great views.

- post up a trip report. Good luck.

Wally


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By Nick Sandstrom
Sep 20, 2012
spearhead

Awesome route. I thought the amount of actual 5th class climbing was great. Sweet views of the standard keyhole route too, esp. if you top out a few of the high points.


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By Cor
Sep 20, 2012
black nasty

i was wondering if any of you that have been up there recently,
have a picture of lambs slide. i know it will be ice, but a
picture of what to expect would be good...

thanks,
cory


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Sep 20, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

Thanks guys, I'll try to get a bunch of photos and write up a TR. We're going to do it this weekend.


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