Type: Trad, Alpine, 900 ft
FA: Van Diver & Working, 1956
Page Views: 1,707 total · 53/month
Shared By: Peter Bakwin on Oct 2, 2016
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is a very nice route right up the center of Long's Peak's West Face. It is a 5th Class alternative to the popular Keyhole Route and skips the yucky Trough section, as well as the Narrows and Homestretch, by taking a very direct line from the base of the Trough to the summit plateau. It keeps to a very moderate line (5.2) while being surrounded by harder terrain. To find the route, follow the Keyhole Route until you enter the Trough. Looking up the West Face (to the left of the Trough), you will see an obvious, triangular buttress. Scramble up the left side of this buttress - Class 3 at first and then more like Class 4. Near the top of the left side of the buttress, start trending slightly left to intersect an obvious crack system that leads to a small but obvious broken tower on the ridge above. Continue up this crack system (5th Class, but easy and secure) all the way to the ridge. You need to be careful of loose rocks on this route - you don't want to bombard the hordes in the Trough. It's worth noting that this part of the face has a slight tilt to the south and is in the sun after about 11:00 AM.

Justin Simoni on Van Diver's West Wall. Note the top of the triangular buttress just over his right shoulder.

Justin Simoni on Van Diver's West Wall.

This shot on Instagram shows the upper part of the face with the little broken tower on top of the ridge.


From the Long's Peak TH, follow the popular Keyhole Route until you intersect the Trough at around 13,300', then turn left.


A small alpine rack would suffice.


Long Ranger
Boulder, CO
Long Ranger   Boulder, CO
A great route! The technical parts are more sustained than the similarly rated NW Gully, which is really a lot of Class 3/4 terrain to a two move crux. The exposure and views are off the charts. Holds are plentiful and secure, especially for the fact that you're always climbing on or near a huge crack/flake system. It continuously gets steeper until the crux section then eases up again at the top to hiking terrain.

Plenty of places for pro (although we solo'd this route). You could make a good first multipitch alpine route, although you'll have to figure out belay stations. It could be an interesting winter route, as the face gets a lot of sun, and snow shouldn't linger. We experienced a little bit of water ice on Oct. 1, but I don't believe this route drips with water, like Cables.

There IS one, large, loose boulder directly on the route pretty high up, you really can't miss it. I WOULDN'T suggest trusting this boulder with any body weight, but rather negotiate around it on climber's left on great secure face holds. It looks scarier from above than below. The rest of the route is surprisingly clean for an alpine route. Test holds, of course.

As with any route above the Keyhole, any rocks you displace will be sent directly onto the Keyhole Route's path, so please be very careful. Oct 2, 2016