5.3 Easy Snow
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Like the Cable Route, this route is also not on the Diamond. However, of all the routes I have done on Long's, I get the most requests for beta on this one. It is very fun and popular.
Kiener's Route, also known as the Mountaineer's Route, is on the East Face of Long's and climbs parallel to the Diamond on the left. To get to the route start hiking at the Longs Peak trailhead and hike until you reach the cutoff for Chasm Lake. Hike to Chasm Lake and contour around it to the right in the summer, or walk right over it in the winter. On the other side of the lake is Mill's Glacier and the bottom of the Lamb's Slide. The whole 2500 ft East Face is towering above you at this point, it's quite intimidating.
The Lamb's Slide is a 1000 ft. snow/ice coulior that starts on the Mill's Glacier and cuts south under the Diagonal Wall. When you're at the bottom of it, it's fairly obvious. Strap on your crampons and climb this couloir at an angle of about 50 degrees for about 1000 feet. The conditions can vary from corn snow to powder to hard, dry ice. To be absolutely sure, it is a good idea to rope up and place a screw or two every ropelength. To save time, I would suggest simul-climbing.
Eventually on the right you come to a large ledge that is covered in loose rocks and scree and dirt. This is Broadway. Traverse Broadway for about 1000 ft. The most dangerous part of the climb is here when you must walk across a ledge and step around some blocks. The ledge is less than a foot wide here and a slip would have you plummeting all the way over the Diagonal Wall. There are one or two moves of 4th class. Most people are roped up here for safety sake, and there are a couple of fixed pins and horns that can easily be slung.
After this airy catwalk you will come to the Notch Couloir. Depending on the season, this couloir can be a very dangerous avalanche hazard. Traverse the bottom of the couloir to ledges on the other side. There are many different ways to go from here and the easiest way is not obvious. Climb up dihedrals for about two pitches. The difficulty can vary from 4th class to 5.4, depending on where you go. Take a set of nuts and be roped up just in case you get yourself into a hairy position.
Above this is 3rd class scrambling up and left, staying generally along the edge of the Diamond. At the very top is a chimney that must be climbed. Here there are also a couple of options, so look for the easiest one. The climbing is about as difficult as down below, maybe 4th class to 5.4. After climbing the chimney for a pitch you have a very short scramble up to the summit.
This route is good in both the summer and winter, but may be a bit more classic in the winter. It will feel like you are climbing a peak much bigger than Long's. This also makes the Broadway traverse more interesting because of snow. I would recommend taking a picket or two in the winter. So, have fun climbing one of the most classic mountaineering routes in the Park!
Depends on the season and your comfort level on this kind of route. There are sections that are VERY exposed, but luckily these are protected with fixed pins and slung horns. Depending on the season, some people may feel more comfortable with screws for Lamb's Slide. I guess I would recommend bringing 3 ice screws, 1 set of nuts, 2-3 slings and 3-5 quickdraws to be well protected in any season.
BETA PHOTO: Lamb's Slide as seen from Mill's Glacier
On Broadway just after a very skinny section.
My 11-year old son above Kiener's chimney.
Heading up Lamb's Slide in the early light.
Traversing Broadway--exposed, but never insecure. ...
Dan in the 3rd cl. section.
Bob Lewis starting up Lamb's slide on Kiener's.
On Broadway with the airy large block in the backg...
Bob Lewis above Chasm Lake near the top of the Dia...
Traversing the narrowest section of south Broadway...
3rd class to the summit
The last half of the route
January 20, 2005
Lamb's Slide and Entry to Broadway
A look at Lamb's Slide on August 14 2005, and the ...
Jeff Larson July 2003
Scott and Jill on Broadway.
Finish of Kiener's.
BETA PHOTO: Good shot of the Diamond just before Big Red came ...
BETA PHOTO: Tim Slater begins the crux of the Broadway Travers...
"The most dangerous part of the climb" as mentione...
Upper Kiener's and the Diamond as seen from the ea...
An unknown group of climbers leaves Lambs Slide an...
BETA PHOTO: Traverse on Broadway from Lamb's Slide in Winter c...
BETA PHOTO: Broadway traverse in Winter conditions.
BETA PHOTO: More Broadway in Winter.
BETA PHOTO: Broadway, or not so broad way in winter.
BETA PHOTO: Route map, April conditions, 2006.
Traversing below The Notch on our failed winter at...
Just leaving Broadway and starting our first pitch...
A little higher up on the first pitch
BETA PHOTO: Kiener's to Cable route descent.
BETA PHOTO: N 40.25707
Photos showing the white ro...
Beautiful morning on Lamb's Slide.
Ben Lysdahl on Broadway.
Traversing broadway on November 24, 2012.
Broadway, November 24.
Broadway. Wintery conditions on November 24, 2012.
|Comments on Kiener's Route
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Florence, AZ
Jan 1, 2001
Obviously on a route this long and varied, peoples experiences will differ, so with that in mind I have what I feel could be very helpful beta. I climbed the route in late August. For Lamb's Slide, it was easy to place good rock pro in the cliff at the right side of the couloir, thus negating the need for ice screws. I imagine this would be possible any time of year, though I don't know. I know many people whove gotten lost climbing upper Kiener's. Just past the Notch Couloir, route-finding can be very difficult, and hard terrain lurks all around. We went up and a little right from a fixed anchor, which led us to a wonderful, easy chimney, with only one 5th class move. Exiting the chimney to the right put us on easier ground for the rest of the way. For the final section, where the description mentions a 5th class chimney, we found some ledge leading right over the top of the Diamond (we went up and right from the Notch Couloir) that really didn't exceed 3rd class--though I can honestly remember the best way to find them. But they're there.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001
One remarkable fact is that the FA of this route (Jan 11, 1925, not 1924?) was in winter! Kiener's partner, Agnes Vaille, died on the descent. I learned this by reading William Bueler's book "Roof of the Rockies". I've climbed this route in both summer and winter, and as you might expect it's definitely more challenging in the winter. More surprising was the fact that the cruxes are not in the same place. In winter, we found the hardest spot on about the 3rd pitch after crossing the Notch Couloir. In the summer, this is a low angle slab, in winter it's iced up with little pro. Also, just below the step around we found tricky, where in the summer I always do this unroped. Its definitely recommended to do this route in the summer before you try it in the winter, so you don't have to worry about getting lost or being off route.
From: North Kingstown, RI
Sep 27, 2001
I climbed the route in 1995 with my then 11-year old son. It was a great adventure. Moved a lot slower than anticipated. Route finding wasn't difficult. For more photos and trip report see: www.climbri.com/longs.htm
|By Shane Zentner|
Apr 9, 2002
We climbed Kiener's Route in May 2000. What happened there turned out to be somewhat of a small epic. We were caught high on the route by a storm and darkness (we could not see the storm moving in from the other side of the mountain). We decided to climb a little couloir and bivy on a small ledge. After a sleepless and cold night, we climbed to the top of the ridge and found the summit a short distance away. I believe that we climbed the Little Notch, not Kiener's Route proper.
My point is this. Start Kiener's Route early and keep an eye on the weather. Stay on route and know where you are going. Bring adequate food, water, and equipment.
|By Roger M|
Jul 29, 2002
FYI, Lamb's Slide is an ablated mess (July 27, 2002). There is hard grey/black ice, that is, wherever you can see it through the dirt, gravel and cobbles, and there are all sorts of stuff melting out of Mill's Glacier from eras past..... There is lots of water flowing over the surface, carrying debris of all sizes, and lots of free water between the ice and rock. Lamb's Slide is under a constant barage of whistling missiles, all day and all night, some bigger than a 454 big block. It is highly recommended to find an alternate route until things cool off. Pray for some monsoon rains and cooler temps...... The extreme meltout is a pretty impressive sight, though.
|By Steve Levin|
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 30, 2002
I recently watched in horror as a climber parked himself at the base of Lamb's Slide to put crampons on (stopping every minute or so to crouch behind a boulder to hide from flying rocks)- and then proceeded to solo it, dodging rocks big enough to take him out the whole way up! A definite candidate for the 2002 Darwin Awards. Best to stay away from this one until it starts freezing solid at night again, then catch it at first light.
Being anywhere near the base of Lamb's Slide, North Chimney, below the fall line for The Notch, etc. this time of year causes the hairs on my neck to stand up and makes my body ignore fatigue and want to move as quickly as possible to a safer place.
|By David Neckels|
Aug 12, 2002
We did a variation that is popular this year due to the extreme meltout of Lamb's and the ensuing rock fall. You climb to the Loft, walk to the north of it and drop down to the top of the ice. We were able to skirt around the ice, but had to rappel one pitch of rock to make it onto Broadway. It was obvious to me that the excessive rockfall was due to rock and mud that had been held in place for years being exposed from the meltout.
|By Bill Wright|
Aug 12, 2002
Good call on not climbing Lamb's Slide as it is extremely dangerous right now. I once climbed Kiener's after climbing the North Chimney and it worked out fine. We wanted to climb the Casual Route, but it was mobbed. The traverse from this route to Kiener's looks insanely dangerous and loose and Cameron Tague was killed along here, but it goes okay if you're really careful. The scree field isn't as steep as it first looks.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Dec 12, 2002
Hello and Good morning,
I moved to Kansas City from my mometown of Arvada a few years ago and I'm missing Long's badly. Having been on it only a few times in my youth, Im looking to find a partner for Kiener's.
Also, to the last two or three posters, if June-August present extreme rockfall hazards, when would you all suggest a summit attempt?
Thanks for your time,
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Dec 12, 2002
Justin, I think last summer was really bad for rockfall in the Lamb's Slide due to extreme melt-out in August, I don't think it was so bad in June. Assuming the drought continues and next summer is warm, plan to climb Kiener's as early in the summer as possible, I'd recommend June (or even earlier). If this winter is very wet, Kiener's should go back to normal and you could climb it fine any time next summer.
The difficulty of traversing Broadway decreases in the spring when the snow melts off of it, in a normal year I think this happens sometime in June. You can certainly still climb the route when Broadway is snow covered, in fact it may be more fun because it feels more alpine. But it's definitely trickier than when melted off.
I remember once a friend was climbing Kiener's in August, and as I had been on the route in May, I gave him a detailed explanation of how to cross Broadway in the snow. After his trip, I said '"so how was traversing Broadway?" "Trivial", he said "I don't know why you were talking about crossing all that snow". Duh, I had forgotten there is no snow on Broadway in August!
|By Anonymous Coward|
Dec 12, 2002
George is right. The problem this year was due to the extreme melt out. Rockfall was not *that* bad in late June/early July (at least early, before the sun really got cooking), but it only takes one. Also, the western side of Lamb's Slide had already melted out by that time. Crossing from the snow to Broadway was not a pleasant experience.
|By Shane Zentner|
Jan 28, 2003
What the hell, another comment on Kiener's Route.
On October 2000 we attempted Kiener's Route for the second time. Again, the snow started to fall and darkness soon followed. We were near a red buttress almost all of the way up. The snow was falling heavily and darkness took over, so we were !@#$ out of luck again. Contemplation led us to the decision to descend back down the entire route, which took about seven rappels (I think). We made it down to the base of the Notch Coulior and decided to bivy there. Not the best place to bivy, I realize, but we really didn't know where else to stop. Another sleepless and cold night followed. In the morning we traversed BACK across Broadway which was difficult because the heavy snowfall had covered the rock completely (which really sucked). After a hairy traverse across Broadway we arrived at Lamb's Slide and back to the parking lot several hours later.
Several people told us that we should have kept on going to the top and down the Cable Route. Good idea, but difficult to do at the time. Skipping across the Diamond didn't seem like a good idea then. Any suggestions?
|By Aaron Miller|
Feb 19, 2003
Ok, I just registered so no name. I will be there later under Ron Miller. Anyhow, you all have made this sound like a great climb. I have my space reserved for the CMS climb of Illiamani in July and this would be great practice. As well as a reason and motivation to get in shape. Anyone interested in an April or May climb? firstname.lastname@example.org
|By Colin Coulson|
Mar 26, 2003
Comment: What the hell, another comment on Kiener's Route.
On October 2000 we attempted Kiener's Route for the second time. Again, the snow started to fall and darkness soon followed. We were near a red buttress almost all of the way up. The snow was falling heavily and darkness took over, so we were !@#$ out of luck again. Contemplation led us to the decision to descend back down the entire route, which took about seven rappels(I think). We made it down to the base of the Notch Coulior and decided to bivy there. Not the best place to bivy, I realize, but we really didn't know where else to stop. Another sleepless and cold night followed. In the morning we traversed BACK across Broadway which was difficult because the heavy snowfall had covered the rock completely (which really sucked). After a hairy traverse across Broadway we arrived at Lamb's Slide and back to the parking lot several hours later.
Several people told us that we should have kept on going to the top and down the Cable Route. Good Idea, but difficult to do at the time. Skipping across the Diamond didn't seem like a good idea then. Any suggestions?
Shane, we had a similar adventure in October of 2001. However, we didn't make it off Broadway. Our decent plan resulted in a "What Not to Do" example. Slightly embarrassing (as all the best learning moments are), but successful none the less. We traversed all the way across Broadway to the north chimney (crappy and no fun in the snow). It involved at least one diagonal rappel and plenty of wet sloping ledges. I wouldn't suggest it unless someone just wants a good easy fifth class tour of the E face. If you hadn't reached the notch couloir, I would suggest turning around to escape. If you had passed the notch and were through the early tricky moves, push for the summit (it is also possible to traverse just above the E face to the Cable Route - it is exposed, but it avoids the even more lightning-prone summit plateau) and descend the Cable Route. The notch is definitely a scary place to bivy with tons of potential rock fall.
In regard to timing, its possible to do late summer climbs with minimal rock fall... give it a shot!
|By Bryan Hylenski|
From: Gyeongsan, South Korea
Apr 16, 2003
Looking for some Beta, from anyone who may have been up on Kiener's recently. I am thinking of heading up to Kiener's this weekend for a quick attempt on Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. Any recommendations from anyone who's been up that way this year?
It seems to me April and May would be solid months to give this route ago. Before the rockfall picks up in June and July. Did Lamb's Slide come in this year, any beta would be nice.
My name is Bryan Hylenski, I registered, but it would not appear till tomorrow, didn't want to wait!
|By Ben Mottinger|
Jun 16, 2003
For the first pitch after traversing the Notch, you can go up a slabby section trending more left than up to a nice 5.7 corner that puts you at the same belay as if you went up the chimney. Same for the last technical pitch--a LH variation is about 5.7-5.8 (starts in a wide crack and finishes in a large R facing dihedral w/ a thin crack. This variation has an old ring piton right at a view through a pinnacle.
Lamb's Slide is soft snow even early--very little evidence of falling rock. Broadway is mostly covered in snow. Above the 3rd cl scrambling, the snow fields are ice below the surface. Great conditions everywhere.
|By Fernando Perez|
Jun 16, 2003
I was on the other party there yesterday, and saw you with your brother. Great website, btw, extremely useful!
Great route and conditions right now, as reported above.
But I have a question/comment concerning the descent: we mistakenly rapped off via the Chasm View rappels and found ourselves at the north end of Broadway. Right now traversing until the North Chimney rappels seems very dicey because of a large block of snow choking the crossing.
To make a long story short, we committed to rapping off some (good) pitons half way on Broadway (between Chasm view and the North Chimney), and ended up on a tiny ledge with a wet crack, half way down. We had to rap off a tri-cam and a brown alien, plus a piece of cord on a block (with only our weight holding it). Scariest rappel I've ever done.
So the comment is: stay off the Chasm view rappels!! (the very first ones after you descend from the North Face). If crossing Broadway is difficult/impossible, you'll be in a most unpleasant situation.
And the question is: what is the best descent to retrieve bivy gear without going around Mt Lady Washington? Are there better rap anchors further west which drop you into the snowfields? Or is it best to cross above all of the Chasm Wall, and simply scramble down the slopes of Mt Lady Washington? That scramble seems a bit annoying but not dangerous.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jun 16, 2003
You rapped down Chasm View to retrieve gear left at the base of the East Face? Bummer. Better to walk down the Camel Route, which is not too far from Chasm View.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jun 26, 2003
Anyone interested in Kiener's, Notch Colouir, or Cable route anytime soon? I'm training for [Rainier] and would like to do some moderate climbs in the meantime.
|By Jason Spellberg|
Jul 20, 2003
Anyone traversing Broadway should please take the utmost care not to dislodge rocks onto Lamb's Slide. On July 19 my party witnessed probably 5 or 6 rocks tumbling down Lamb's Slide, and at least one of them (which hit me square in the helmet) was knocked off by a climber on Broadway. Broadway is full of loose rubble, so it is admittedly a difficult proposition not to knock any rocks down, but people climbing Kiener's or the Notch Couloir should be aware that there is significant rockfall hazard on this part of the climb. Amazingly, I haven't seen any mention of this hazard in any of the route descriptions I've read!
|By David Warriner|
Jul 20, 2003
I'm planning on doing this Stettner's to Kiener's the last week of July 2003. Any thoughts on conditions this year. Is it snowy, dry? Is the snow all gone from Broadway? Any options for descent if we decide to bail on the top of Kiener's? As we areplanning to head up Stettner's, I would like to avoid crampons and ice axe.
Thanks in advance.
|By Ernie Port|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 23, 2003
Climbed this today for the first time and it was totally awesome. The snow in Lamb's Slide was good...we didn't feel the need for ice screws or rope. Definitely want crampons and an ice axe with you though, as the snow was a bit wet but firm. Also, on Broadway we didn't feel the need to rope up until almost at the Notch Couloir where it got a little too narrow for my liking. Yeah, there's exposure there...but IMO it's not that bad...I jumped on the rock about 50' up the couloir, as Roach suggests in his RMNP book, looking for easier climbing, and found it a few grades harder than the (5.0-5.4) I anticipated. Didn't bring rock shoes and climbed what I felt was (5.6), in approach shoes. Fun climbing though, found a short, fun vertical crack on P2 that was every bit of (5.6). There is a lot of loose rock everywhere up higher in the class 3 section...and the final traverse over the very top of the Diamond has some nice exposure and was a fun climax...saw a rock marten (large 8lb. weasel) hanging around the summit register which entertained us a bit. We rapped down the Cable Route (takes longer than Keyhole descent, but more fun). Recommend car to car as opposed to bivying (keeps the load to a minimum)...
Sep 29, 2003
Did Kiener's on Sat 9-27-03. Descending the Cables Route, we found some of the bolts were chopped (looked like old cuts). Anyway, with a 60m rope we failed to reach one of the rap bolts. Had to rap off a stopper and a hex for about 50ft to reach the next bolt-down climbing was out of the question because a good layer of ice has formed on this section.
|By Brian Milhaupt|
From: Golden, CO
Jul 9, 2004
We did the "Broadway Cutoff" variation to start Kiener's on 7/7. This starts further right of the original line and climbs easy ledges up and left to a chimneylike constriction that was pretty wet. You can traverse left here between a large detached block and the face at around 5.7 to regain the original line. Not the best way, but another option.
|By Scott Edlin|
From: boulder, co
Jun 5, 2006
The other party on 6-3-06 was me and my partner. We completed the route with a car-to-car time of 20 hours. Trip report on summitpost.
From: Arvada, CO
Aug 4, 2006
Did this route yesterday, car to car 14 hours. First time on the route. The crux was getting off Lamb's Slide to Broadway, which added a lot of time to our trip, hard ice all around there. Up to there was cruiser hard snow, should have done like Charles V. mentioned above, and belaying the hard ice section. Rockfall was very minimal on Lamb's Slide as we as we started up at 0650. We had crampons and ice axes and glad we did. Rest of route from Broadway was a cruise, but stay right after the chimney section on rock portion. (1 200' pitch 5.4 ish, and then 1 200' pitch 4th class/5.0 is how we did it) from just right of Notch Couloir). Rack: 1 super skinny 70m rope, axes, crampons, stoppers, green/yellow Aliens .5 .75 #1 #2 BD cams, 2 ice screws (didn't use but should have), cordalette, 3 shoulder slings, and rock shoes. Extra rock gear was nice to make belay anchors, since my second wasn't up for leading any of the pitches.
|By Doug Redosh|
From: golden, CO
Aug 11, 2006
As of 8/8/06 the rangers at the Long's Peak station were NOT recommending this route due to the the bulletproof black ice at the top of Lamb's Slide. Global warming?
We did the Keyhole Ridge route instead, and met a party on the summit who did do upper Kiener's, approaching via the North Chimney. The leader was casual about it, though hard to judge, as he seemed casual about descending the Cable Route with a very inexperienced and frightened partner.
|By Count Chockula|
From: Littleton, CO
Jul 21, 2008
Climbed Kiener's on July 19. Lamb's Slide was in glorious condition which made the ascent go very quickly. We were in the couloir by 6:30am. We did not need to rope up as the snow was not very steep at all...maybe 40° at most. We were the only party on route the entire day and it was bluebird. The traverse of Broadway is currently snow-free. Routefinding from the base of the Notch Couloir is certainly challenging. My partner and I each had our challenges trying to stay on easily climbable, yet fun terrain. There are many options available. If I were do this again, I'd probably bring a few extra cams and my rock shoes. There were a couple times when my mountaineering boots just wouldn't cut it on some of the slabs and it made for some harrowing moves. It's very easy to get onto more technical rock. Descended via the Cable Route in three short rappels (we only had a single 8.5mm 60m cord). Awesome route.
|By Jason Porto|
Jul 29, 2008
A friend and I are looking at climbing Kiener's this weekend, and want to descend the Cable Route. Is there any info on how hard it will be to find the rap anchors as we descend from the summit? Are they well marked or will we just be looking for a needle in a haystack?
From: Denver, CO
Sep 11, 2008
Add updates on current conditions? And could anyone give me more beta on the descent back to Chasm? We are planning on hiking into Chasm tomorrow and bivy, climb Kiener's, descend down the Cable's route but I was reading comments about traversing down the Camel area to Chasm to retrieve bivy gear. I found some info on this and is the scramble through the scree a pain? Is it worth it or just hike down the Boulderfield and back around?
|By John Korfmacher|
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 20, 2009
Finally climbed this classic 7/19 with S. Costello. Here are a few notes/suggestions for those considering the route:
- Like all of Long's summit routes, this route is 5000 vertical feet from the trailhead. Be in good shape for this one!
- Lamb's Slide, as of this post, is in good shape with soft but usable snow early in the morning. I didn't see any rockfall. Those competent with an axe won't require additional protection with current conditions.
- 5th-class climbing to the right of Notch Couloir is old-school, fun, and easily led in boots. A minimal alpine rack to #3 size is plenty. We managed to find three pitches of 5.easy rock.
- There is a lot of exposed and enjoyable scrambling between the technical pitches and the exit pitch. A rope is probably more of a hazard than a help this part of the route.
- You can bypass the exit pitch just below the summit--but don't do this. It is a very nice 5.5-5.6 lead, steep, with good pro and great position, and provides a satisfying finish to a classic climb.
- Save some food and water for the descent. It's a bloody long way.
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 26, 2009
Free-soloed on August 15th. 9 hours car-to-car. Hoping to shave an hour off that time next week....
P.S. The step around the block on Broadway is way more intimidating when you read about it. Once you see it, it's really pretty benign.
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 31, 2009
See above comment....
Success 8.5 hours car-to-car (August 30). I hear some Pikes Peak Marathon runner from Manitou Springs has this beat by at least 23 minutes though!
|By Stefan Griebel|
Sep 5, 2009
Bill Wright and I soloed Kieners car-to-car yesterday in just under 8 hours. We topped out in 3h15m, but then returned to Table Ledge to retrieve some gear I had left (ropes + rack) and rapped the Diamond.
I'd bet Kiener's has been round-tripped with a descent of the N. Face easily in 4 hours, maybe less!
Nice job shaving 30+ minute off your time just a week later!
|By phil wortmann|
From: Colorado Springs, Co.
Sep 6, 2009
Lordsokol, don't let Stefan's modesty fool you. He just climbed The Diamond FROM BOULDER in 10 & 1/2 hrs, biking there and back. Great job Stefan & co. Inspiration for the rest of us mortals.
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 19, 2009
I just read the above comments about the round trip times. Thanks for the encouragement. After I topped out, I descended the Keyhole route each time. I'm sure that added more time. When I go again I will plan on bringing a rope and rappelling either the Diamond or the Cable Route.
|By Brian Gaschler|
From: Denver, Colorado
Jun 8, 2010
Conditions on Kiener's for Sunday, June 6, 2010 are as follows:
We climbed as a party of three, leaving Longs Peak Trailhead around 3am. Temps were very warm (43 degrees Fahrenheit) well before sunrise. We passed the Columbia Falls/Mount Lady Washington junction around sunrise (5:30am), crossed the well-trodden (and soft) traverse above the falls and Peacock Pool without needing an ice ax, then up soft and easy snow to Chasm Lake. We easily skirted the lake (climber's right) on boot-packed snow right where the water level is (moderately frozen still), and up to Lambs Slide. On Lambs Slide, we climbed unroped up to the intersection with Broadway. The climbing was essentially a long staircase, with huge boot-packed feet all the way up toward the Loft. We didn't feel the need to don crampons through this section, as the snow was soft and the path well broken.
Once on Broadway, we donned crampons and the three of us tied into a single rope, simul-climbing, and placing running pro across the 1000 or so feet to the start of Notch Couloir. The snow was very soft, and there was minimal signs of previous ascents (most surely they had melted out!). We used two snow pickets and a selection of cams (to BD#2) and nuts to protect this section. As we traversed, the snow continued to soften, and some loose and small snow slides (sluff) occurred both above and below us. We traversed the Notch to the rock at climber's right and opted for the rock pitches from there, roping up this time on double ropes.
Pitch one was straightforward, with our variation being very easy 5th class. We belayed then at the top of a wet chimney, where the snow was melting rapidly. Waterfalls were everywhere at this point, and we couldn't avoid getting wet. Pitch two was horrifying, (we certainly were off route a bit), and required 5.10 wet slab moves in boots, once we were out and right of the chimney. This pitch was poorly protected, despite the double ropes, and a leader fall would have resulted in nasty pendulum-related injuries. Thankfully, our rope gun, Orin, lead this pitch in fine style. The second(s) needed to aid through parts of this very wet, very slabby pitch. We belayed at the top of another chimney, at two old rappel pitons. Pitch three was very easy climbing to the upper ramps of Kiener's, at a elevation more or less adjacent to the top and right of the Notch Couloir.
From here, we simul-climbed once again on a single rope with running pro, more for safety's sake (we had a first-time, budding alpinist with us). The snow was melting out from under us pretty much the entire way to the exit above the Diamond, and could best be described as sugary mashed potato snow. Snow around rock outcroppings was particularly poor, and we scrambled here and there when we found it preferable to the snow collapsing under us. Again, we protected this section with pickets, cams and nuts.
Lightning moved in once we were at the crossover move above and left of the Diamond (my trekking poles started emitting static noise!), and we very quickly skirted Longs' east face once the squall moved past, across intermittent snow fields above the Diamond (certainly an ice ax is still required here, so don't pack it up yet!), and down to the Cable Route rappels. From here, only one rappel was needed to get us to the snow field above Chasm View. The upper eye bolt used for rappels in the summer was still buried under snow, which necessitated a bit of unroped down-climbing on soft/slushy snow to get to the second eye bolt. At the bolt, snow was melting fast and water was pouring over the north face slabs in large waterfalls, so be extra cautious here (and be prepared to get wet; a waterfall breaks just right of the lower eye bolt location). The final bit of snow leading to the rappel was thin and soft, with thin ice/slush present on the very wet slabs. We rappelled on both our double ropes (60 meters each), but realized once we were down that a single rope (60 meter) would have landed us on the snow from the lower eye bolt. Obviously, as snow continues to melt, this distance will increase, necessitating double ropes or a 60 meter rope and tag line. From the base of the north face slabs, it was an easy glissade down to the Boulder Field.
Bottom Line: while fun and exciting, presently, the route could best be described as one that was melting out under our feet as we climbed. Unless a cold snap comes in soon, this route's snow will only become more problematic on Broadway and upper Kiener's, until the summer months when upper Kiener's is little more than a gully climb in tennis shoes (at least, near the standard exit for routes like Casual and Yellow Wall on the Diamond). Lambs Slide is presently boot-packed and essentially a long staircase in soft snow all the way to Glacier Ridge, and probably will stay that way for months to come.
Hope this helps!
|By jeremy long|
From: BOULDER CO
May 13, 2011
rating: 5.3 Easy Snow PG13
This was my first mountaineering route! Done in Feb. of '02. Cold, windy, frostbitten, black toes! Don't underestimate this route.
|By Simon Thompson|
From: New Paltz, NY
Mar 9, 2012
rating: 5.3 Easy Snow
My brother and I did this on July 10th, 2011. It was pretty much the first real alpine route for both of us. We got a late start but Lamb's Slide was perfect for kicking steps, and we climbed to the exit in about 45 minutes. The Broadway traverse took longer than expected as we decided to belay a few of the exposed/loose sections. Once at the start of Kiener's Route, we climbed the 5.5 variation for one long pitch and belayed in the chimney (micro nuts helpful.) After that, we exited the chimney through the "unexpected" slot on the right and belayed at the right end of a long slanted ledge in a small corner. We got confused here and thought we might be off-route, because our guidebook described the next pitch to be "5.0 steps and corners." I couldn't find anything of the sort. Though a large portion of the rock in this area was wet, so that added to the difficulties. Several times I tried leading up in different areas but down-climbed back down to the belay because it was not as easy as the guidebook described. After wasting time in indecision, we ended up climbing two more short pitches to reach the 3rd class shoulder of The Diamond below The Staircase. Looking back, I think the "5.0" part was running with water and that is why we didn't even consider climbing it. The upper scramble was mostly quick with a small amount of sketchy, loose stuff. We put in a cam during one of the moves on The Staircase, because we were both tired but it was easy. Stepping out on the very top of The Diamond for the first time was amazing and unforgettable! We summitted very late in the day (4PM) and immediately began the North Face descent. The descent wasn't too bad except the icy 10ft down-climb directly above the rap bolts. We made one long rappel with two ropes then down-climbed a snow slope to the boulders. Aside from a little wind and some light hail, the weather was pretty decent all day. I climbed the rock pitches in the inner booties of my Scarpa Invernos, because I didn't want to carry rock shoes and didn't have the confidence to climb in the plastic, though in hindsight I easily could have.
May 8, 2012
Hey. Just wondering if anyone knows where the traverse off the Casual Route on The Diamond joins Kiener's? And what's it like from then on, easy scrambling or snow plod? Planning on doing it at some point in July.
|By Trevor Bianchi|
From: Hobart, IN
May 20, 2012
I am considering an attempt on Kiener's this coming weekend - has anyone been on the upper east face recently that can give a report on the conditions of Lamb's Slide and Broadway? Thanks!
Jun 19, 2012
I've done Kiener's a dozen times, and just read the description for the first time - here's a few clarifications and ideas:
- Every year there is a one month window when it's really good: after B'way has melted enough so you can walk around the snow, but before Lamb's Slide has melted down to ice. Early July is usually excellent.
- Lamb's Slide is commonly skied, so I wouldn't get too worked up about it - there's no reason to rope up let alone place pro.
- I've often scrambled up Glacier Ridge (the left boundary) then grabbed two pointed rocks and hacked my way across Lamb's Slide, thus not bringing crampons or ice axe.
- Lots of people wear mountaineering boots, which makes for a long and tiring day - an approach shoe works by far the best (Kahtoola crampons work great with running shoes).
- Broadway is one of the most stunning locations in the mountain world.
- Starting up from Broadway, one can: a) go up Notch Couloir 50', then step right onto a bench (4th class); b) go straight up from the corner to the same bench (5.4-); c) continue on B'Way for 30', then go up (original route; hardest).
- Once up those first two pitches, it's basically 3rd class until the ledges near the Diamond.
- Do NOT go left as the description says; go up and right; if ever in doubt, go up and right.
- Do not get sucked into the big chimney/cleft near the top; instead go up and right, onto some easier-than-they-look solid, pink, granite steps.
- The Cables (North Face) route is the obvious descent, and much nicer than the annoying Keyhole. The giant eyebolts from the removed steel cables are idea rap anchors. If it's dry, one can downclimb this (much less steep but smoother rock than Kiener's by comparison).
Anton Krupicka just did this route 2:38 car-car.
From: Northglenn, CO
Aug 21, 2012
rating: 5.4 Easy Snow
Free soloed Kiener's Sunday, August 19th<-- Amazing weather! We started at 7am and discovered that Lamb's Slide was hard and iced over. We were able to head up the left side of Lamb's on rock/scree all the way to the top, traverse over on dry rocks, and we down-climbed on the right side of Lamb's back to Broadway. This was the crux for us, because it was steep and we found ourselves on loose scree the whole way back down to the Broadway entrance. It would be MUCH better to cross Lamb's than to climb up and over like we did (bring Kahtoola microspikes perhaps?).
Broadway is completely dry right now though. There was some snow in the Notch Couloir, but other than that and Lamb's, the route (up) is completely dry. Do NOT head up the Notch Couloir too far though! Walk along the snow, and then jump onto the rock (climber's right) after 20 or 30 feet. After you get onto rock, traverse right (back down). It will feel like you are going back down towards the cliff (east face/Diamond... which you are). You will then turn the corner (towards the North) and start climbing up again <-- This is probably a poor explanation, so research this section of the route more if you can. It was the only real difficult section of route finding we encountered.
After reaching the summit, we down-climbed the Cables route, which had a small section of ice at the beginning that we were able to easily maneuver around. The down-climb of Cables was the section I was most worried about, but after the climb up Kiener's, I found I was very comfortable on Cables.
We were out for 4:43. By eliminating the detour up Lamb's, and some route finding issues in the Notch Couloir, I think we could have done this route even faster (probably around 4 hours). The climbing was much more comfortable than I expected (many trip reports had me worried), and I am psyched to get out and do it again!
Wore my New Balance M110s, shorts, a tank top (and at times a long-sleeve shirt due to wind), and a chalk bag (because I get some amazingly sweaty palms). Also consumed 6 Hammer gels, a Honey Stinger waffle, and 2.5 liters of water.
|By Forrest L.|
May 17, 2013
Anyone have early season stories on Kiener's? I'm curious about attempts and/or turnarounds due to conditions (and what date -- early/late May, early/late June).