I delayed my traverse trip, as weather looked a little iffy, so instead I decided to stay a little closer to home, and test out some new gear and systems on an sub 48 bikepacking overnighter – and in the process, tick a summit of Longs Peak in Winter, before winter was over.
I decided on Keplinger’s, as I’ve had pretty terrible luck summiting via this route in the Winter, after the bike ride in – it’s just such a long, grueling route with a ton of gear to haul in, for all the different modalities. To make things a little easier, I decided to ride the 35 miles up and camp the night before in Allenspark, to get an extra early start the next morning.
The plan worked: I stood on the summit, after 9 miles of hiking, snowshoeing, and scrambling. The descent, as always, seemed to go on forever, and I wasn’t sure just how I was going to get home, feeling pretty exhausted. After sorting gear, I decided on a 90 minute nap behind a boulder near the trailhead to recharge, then ride the 35 miles home. I got back at around 2:00 am, making the trip a “leisurely” 36 hour trip, finishing just a few hours before Winter was over.