Longs Peak's Last Mile


What's your opinion of where the keyhole route is in these photographs?  Mark up a photo and send it to me.  Need help marking up a photo?  Click here for instructions.

Be sure to click on these photos for larger versions.


1. Here is a photo of the south face of Longs Peak, where the "Narrows" and "Home Stretch" are.  This was taken with a 300mm lens from Sandbeach Lake in July of 2001.  The sloping feature in front of Longs is Mount Meeker.  Would anyone care to guess where exactly the home stretch is in this photo?

2. I've marked up the previous photo here with my best guess of where the "Narrows" and "Home Stretch" are.  If you like, download a copy of the previous unmarked photo and mark it up with your best guess of the route and email it to me.  I'll display it here for others to see.

3. April 2003.  I received this picture and description from Steve.

I don't think your Home Stretch route to the summit is quite right.  (I'm attaching my "version" of the Home Stretch for your review).  I'm pretty sure you have the Narrows correct, but, again, I don't think the Home Stretch path (on your site) is correct.

I've summited Longs three times via the Keyhole route and in looking at my personal pictures again and trying my best to remember the route I'm fairly certain that the Home Stretch is more of a 90 degree turn once you've cleared the Narrows.  I don't remember traversing diagonally across the south face on the Home Stretch.  It's more of a left angle turn (after the Narrows) and you just start climbing pretty much straight up the face.

I remember the Home Stretch as being very smooth granite and fairly steep.  There were cracks and crevasses in the face for hand and foot holds but I also distinctly remember thinking to myself that I wouldn't want to be caught on the Home Stretch in a rain storm (the rock was already very smooth and slick even when dry - if wet you'd have a bobsled run!).  Coming down the Stretch most people slide on their butts (again, because it's so steep and smooth).


4. Jan 2006.  I received this picture from Dave.

Here's my thought on where the homestretch is.  I have it between yours and Steve's.

5. Aug 2006.  I received the following 4 pictures and comments from soatley.

I agree with your original mark up (#2 in your link).  Here's my picture from a similar angle compared to yours.  I've put my marks on both.

1. transition from Trough to Narrows
2. transition from Narrows to Homestretch
3. rock outcropping to right of Homestretch
4. Homestretch route

6. Aug 2006.  soatley's 2nd picture.

When you cross the crest from the Homestretch onto the summit, you are very close to the summit cairn and the overlook of Chasm.  That supports this Homestretch route, as it ascends to the right towards that same area of the summit.

Unfortunately, the combination of distance from Sandbeach Lake and my zoom level don't allow us to clearly see people on the route to the Homestretch.  I've included a couple of pictures from last year's Chiefs Head climb that do include people starting the HS.

7. Aug 2006.  soatley's 3rd picture.

These two pictures are from somewhere on the North Ridge approaching Chiefs Head.  The numbers correspond to those in the previous pictures.  Note the extreme distortion of the Homestretch due to my angle of view and the level of zoom.  That's why I marked the distinctive rock outcropping that's to the right of the Homestretch route.

8. Aug 2006.  soatley's 4th picture.

In this photo, the yellow ticks mark people on the climb.  The top tick on the right is someone just starting at the base of the Homestretch.