Seasonal Closures March 1-July 31. Per this RMNP website, "Initial closures occur in March and April, when raptors return to the region and scout for nesting sites. Areas containing general habitat preferred by raptors are closed during this time. Once raptors have selected nesting spots, the initial closures are lifted or adjusted. The specific areas which raptors choose for nesting sites are closed."
For additional information about raptor closures, please visit the Rocky Mountain National Parks area closures website.
Mention Long's Peak to a climber and you'll immediately conjure images the Diamond. And with good reason... the East Face of Long's is the most striking alpine wall in Colorado. At some point, every trad climber on the Front Range entertains the notion of climbing it. As amazing as the East Face is though, there are other parts of this mountain that deserve attention. Perhaps the most overlooked of these is the West Face.
The 600-foot West Face of Long's fills a unique niche in Rocky climbing. For starters, the climbing begins above 13,000 feet and tops out on the only Colorado 14er north of I-70. The rock is excellent and low angle, which translates into lots of 3-4 pitch lines in the 5.6-5.9 range. The views are truly sublime and the potential for first ascents is huge. None-the-less, only a handful of documented routes have been established on this quarter mile wide cliff. Why?
The West Face is remote. The easiest approach is via the Keyhole route with translates to a 7-mile hike and an elevation gain of 3,500 feet. This also means that you'll be sharing the trail with the many hikers who are attempting the Keyhole route. These hikers pass directly below West Face on their way to and from the summit so extra care to avoid rockfall is absolutely required! A camp in the Boulderfield turns this wall into a moderate alpine crag but you need to make reservations with the Park Service months in advance.
For what it is, the West Face is a great place. If you're looking for a moderate outing in the high country, and you don't mind hiking, the West Face may be the perfect choice.
From the Long's Peak Trailhead, hike the East Long's Peak Trail to the Boulderfield. (Follow the obvious signs.) Continue through the Keyhole and then turn south on the unimproved trail, which will be marked with bull's-eyes painted on the rocks. The West Face is now on your left. You may have to scramble to get to the base of your chosen route. Please be careful not to knock any loose rocks down on the hikers below!