Longs Peak Radical Slam TR 8-9-09


Trip Overview

Route: Longs Peak Radical Slam

Goal: Establish a new FKT(fastest known time)

Distance Completed: 24 miles

Elevation Gain: 9800ft

Total Time: 9 hours 18 minutes

Calories Consumed: approximately 2000


Two years ago Chris Gerber, Alan Smith and myself set out to establish a time for the Longs Peak Radical Slam. The route is outlined in Gerry Roache’s 14ers guide book. The route starts up the Loft route to Mt Meeker, then climbs Longs Peak, Pagoda, Storm Peak, Mt Lady Washington, Battle Mt and Estes Cone.

I started up the trail at 3:00 AM, feeling a bit sluggish, but moving at a decent hiking pace. I reached Chasm Lake in the dark, and saw my first glimpses of as I trudged up to the Loft. Still feeling a little sluggish I summited Mt Meeker at 5:50 AM. It was a cool morning with low clouds hanging over the valley below. I then quickly made my way across the Loft and down to Clark’s Arrow. I ascended Keplingers in good conditions, reaching the summit of Longs Peak at 7:10 AM. The skies were clear and the summit of Longs was busy, as always.

From Longs I dropped down below the Narrows making the traverse over toward Pagoda. I accidentally dropped down a chute too far away from the Keyboard of the Winds. This dropped me 100ft too low, forcing me to take an ascending traverse back to the correct chute through the cliff bands. I was finally on my way up Pagoda, hitting peak #3 at 8:40 AM. Now for the novel part of the route.

After descending Pagoda back to the Keyboard of the winds I dropped through a notch between the last Key and the cliff band. I descended down this class 2 scree gulley and hung an immediate right and traversed the talus back toward the Keyhole. As I approached the Trough, passage through its lower portion was blocked by rock hard snow. Forced to grudgingly reascend 200ft to bypass the snow I was back on track, headed toward the Keyhole. I busted through the windy Keyhole, running into Nick Clark and Ryan Burch on their way to the summit of Longs.

We exchanged some small talk, they headed up as I continued on my way to Storm Peak, reaching summit #4 at 10:07 AM. Still feeling strong I bolted for Mt Lady Washington (10:47 AM), passing hoards of people hanging out in the Boulderfield. Next it was back to the trail and Battle Mt.

Battle Mt is a funny little pile of rocks located near Granite Pass, hardly a mountain, but named none the less. I scrambled up its rocky top (11:17 AM) and sat down for a quick bite to eat, sizing up the long traverse over to Estes Cone. From Battle Mt there is a mile or so of runnable tundra before one descends down the ridge toward the Estes Cone saddle. The ridge descend is a mess of nasty brush and dense forest. I stayed near the ridge for the first section, then when I hit treeline I traversed around the right side of the ridge, reaching the trail in a timely manner. I then power hiked my way to the summit of Estes Cone, plopping down on top at 11:45 AM. Then after a quick jog back down the trail I reached the Longs Peak trailhead ready to hammer through my 50 pushups. At 12:18 PM I was finally finished, 7 mountains in 9:18, not a bad day and a new FKT. The time is fairly soft and could definitely go down to the 8 hour range. So, now that I’ve set a bar, I invite everyone to take a crack at it.