Longs Peak: 14,259′ (Rank: 15th) Mount Meeker: 13,911′ (Rank: 68th)
Elevation Gain: ~5,903′
Route Length: ~14.6 miles
Centennial Pursuit: 2/100
When making the decision to chase the goal of climbing Colorado’s Centennials (Colorado’s 100 highest peaks), I decided I was going to start fresh. This means that I will repeat some of the peaks I have already climbed. Basically, starting from scratch. It just so happens that Longs Peak was my first 14er, and one of the first peaks I climbed in pursuit of my Centennials goal. Mount Meeker and Longs Peak dominate the Front Range, they reside side by side in Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, Longs Peak is the highest peak in RMNP. It is also the most northern of Colorado’s 14ers, and is what Gerry Roach describes as, “the monarch of the Front Range.” Meeker is one of the tallest 13ers, and is Colorado’s 68th highest peak. Longs on the other hand is Colorado’s 15th highest. A fun fact about Longs Peak: it’s so prominent and well known amongst the Front Range, that its likeness was used to create Colorado’s state quarter.
It was easy to decide that it made sense to climb both these peaks in one route. They are very close, and there is a well known route that connects them. This route is known as the ‘loft route’. It skirts up to the left of chasm lake and the rock feature known as the ships prow. After climbing up a couloir, you top out onto what is known as the loft (13,460′). This is a flat area that lies between Meeker and Longs. A quick scramble up to the south puts you on top of Mount Meeker. Once back at the loft, there is some Class 3 terrain that leads you down to the ‘backside’ of Longs. Traversing below the palisades and scrambling north will then bring you to the base of the homestretch. Climb up the homestretch, and you are at the top. To finish this route I returned via the homestretch, the narrows, the trough, the ledges, the keyhole, and finally the boulder field. If all of this sounds foreign to you, and you’re interested in climbing this route yourself, I’d highly recommend heading over to 14ers.com to learn more.
My Take Away:
I really enjoyed standing on the top of Longs Peak again. This peak has such a rewarding feeling to it. There can be exposure for sure, but the hike is great and most anyone can do it. Like I mentioned earlier Longs was my first 14er; there were times where I thought about turning around, I was pretty freaked out. After gaining years of experience since then, it doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It is very much in my comfort zone now. I recommend giving yourself plenty of time however, and keeping an eye to the sky. I’m so stoked to start this goal, and happy to have these 2 peaks under my belt. There are 98 peaks to go, but I’m glad, so much to look forward to. If you have any questions about this hike, or would like to see me include other information in the future, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment below. If you would like to see more photos from my climbs and travels, head on over to Instagram and give me a follow. Thanks!