Colorado's Fourteeners

Climbing Longs, Grays, and Torreys Peaks

The Rockies, particularly the Front and Mosquito Ranges, are considered the giants above the plains. Nowhere is this point more clearly illustratred than Longs Peak, the monarch of the northern Front Range, and the classic mining mountains of Grays and Torreys Peaks. All three peaks are above 14,000 feet and close to Denver, Colorado's capital, making them ideal climbing getaways. Check out the rich history of each peak, those brave souls who pioneered them, and discover the nuts and bolts of the routes.
GORP Editors

Longs Peak
(14,255 feet; 15th highest peak)

Longs Peak is undisputedly the monarch of the northern Front Range and one of the outstanding peaks of the entire North American continent. It has gained prominence in the eyes of explorers, settlers, writers, tourists, mountaineers, and technical climbers. Longs Peak offers something for virtually everyone either in its striking beauty or its climbing possibilities, but first and foremost, Longs is a climber's mountain. Even the easiest routes up Longs are classic climbs, and nothing in the Rocky Mountains quite compares with climbs on Longs's mark of individuality — the magnificent 1,675-foot east face, crowned with the sheerest part of all, the 1,000-foot Diamond.

The history of Longs Peak is so rich that any detailed account deserves an entire book. Two such books are Stephen Trimble's Long's Peak: A Rocky Mountain Chronicle, which was published in 1984 with some fine color photography, and Paul Nesbit's Longs Peak — Its Story and a C1imbing Guide, which was the standard guide to the mountain for many years. Also, Bill Bueler's Roof of the Rockies devotes a chapter to Longs Peak and vicinity.

Stephen Long made the first recorded American sighting of the peak that bears his name in 1820. Longs and its companion, Mount Meeker, had previously been dubbed"Les Deux Orielles" (The Two Ears) by French fur traders who used the pair as a prominent landmark. Longs Peak was the name that stuck, however, and in the early years of settlement it was one of the foremost unconquered mountaineering challenges in the entire Rocky Mountain region. Its fame spread quickly, even to the extent of becoming the fictional site of a 280-foot telescope in Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon in 1866.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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