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.
[…] Keplinger’s Couloir, Longs Peak Winter Duathlon […]
I’m looking for as much visual beta on the snow slope leading to from the top of the col to the Homestretch. Everyone seems to skip it when they film or shoot the climb. I’ve heard there’s a 50 degree ramp with horrible run out below. Do you have any photos or advice for that section?
Yeah- at the top of Keplinger’s Couloir you’ll need to traverse over climber’s left to the start of Homestretch. The slope is fairly steep, with a large cliff at the bottom. Falling would not be advised. I usually traverse pretty high on snow right beneath the cliffs above until I can see Homestretch- don’t start up until you see bullseyes. Snow conditions are most likely excellent right now, you’ll want an axe and crampons.