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Northwest Gully 

YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 1000'
Original:  YDS: 5.3 French: 3+ Ewbanks: 10 UIAA: III ZA: 9 British: VD 3a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 5,076
Submitted By: David Neckels on Jul 24, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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Nancy Bell on the crux pitch of Northwest Gully, L...

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Climb the Keyhole route to the Keyhole. Continue on halfway to the Trough. Just as the route starts to drop, there is a gully that shoots upward from the ledges toward the Keyhole Ridge. Be careful as there is an earlier gully that will not take you high enough.

Ascend this gully. The difficulties are mostly class 4 for about 800 feet or so. Watch as the hundreds of people on the keyhold route drop away and you are left solo. Be especially careful not to dislodge any of the loose rock, as it will go right across the path of people on the ledges.

Finally easy passage is blocked by a 50 foot cliff. Go up the right side and then cross to the left on an easy ledge system. You are now at the base of the technical pitch.Thirty feet of 5.2 rock rises above you, but it is likely to be covered in water, so it will be harder that this. Climb halfway up and you have the choice of either climbing under a huge boulder and out the top or going back out over the cliff face and making a difficult move to reach easier ground.

From above the cliff, the route goes on easy rock to reach the Keyhole Ridge just above the technical parts of that route. Follow the summit ridge (a spectacular and narrow ridge) 150 yards to the summit. Revel in the fact that everyone on the mountain can see you traverse up this unusual finish.


There is piton in place, but a nut or two might help.

Photos of Northwest Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Class 3, Gully Action.
Class 3, Gully Action.

Comments on Northwest Gully Add Comment
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By justin dubois
From: Estes Park
Jul 17, 2009

How did this end up in the Diamond section?
By David Neckels
Apr 8, 2010

When the site was first starting out, all the climbing routes on Long's were under The Diamond.
This is a much better place, though.
By Kurt Johnson
From: Estes Park, CO
Aug 30, 2015
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

David Neckel's route description is a good one, definitely better than the one in Rossiter's guidebook, which is vague and gives it a 4th class rating. I'd say the rating of the crux is closer to 5.5, but it was covered in a thin layer of ice when we did it. Even above the ice, just before topping out (we went straight up rather than going under the boulder), I thought it was at least 5.5.

Overall, it's a fun route and a good easy rock climb (when it's not icy) on Long's Peak. Just be careful not to knock loose rocks down on the Keyhole Route below you.
By Long Ranger
From: Boulder, Colorado
Sep 5, 2016

Rossiter uses a different grade system for climbs below 5.4 (Welzenbach) in at least the newest RMNP guide, so that's why he grades it "Class 4".

The face was iced over when I got to it today, so I opted for the squeeze, which it def. was. Pretty fun, the crux is getting out of the damn thing and turning yourself the right way forward.

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