Climb the Diamond
Alpine Rock Climbing
The East Face of Long’s Peak, otherwise known as the Diamond, is a word class objective located right in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. This alpine big wall (that can be seen from Denver) requires a full tool box of alpine skills to cross the Mills Glacier, speed up the North Chimney, traverse Broadway Ledge, send the 5.10a rock climbing at 13000 feet, and finally scramble the final pitches of Kiener’s Route to reach the Summit of Long’s Peak’s 14,259’ summit. The Casual Route should not be taken casually, but is achievable for an experienced and dedicated rock climber - especially if climbing with a skilled and experienced mountain guide.
After years of guiding the Diamond and seeing what makes or breaks success, I have designed this unique trip offering to yield the highest rate of success on this challenging objective. By creating flexibility, time for preparation, the opportunity to bivy ahead of time, and climbing mid week to avoid the crowds, we will set ourselves up for a successful ascent and get plenty of other great climbing and adventuring in along the way.
Price: $1100/person for 2; $1500/person for 1
Trip Length: 4 days
Dates: August 2019, Custom
Significant rock climbing experience. Please read below.
Comfort climbing 5.10
Fitness to ascend and descend 5000 feet in a day while carrying a light alpine pack
Fitness to climb up to 10 pitches in a day
Overnight backpacking experience
Day 1: Meet in Boulder Colorado. Climb a classic multi pitch route in Eldorado State Park or Lumpy Ridge. Plan for the next days.
Day 2: Start early to approach the Mt. Meeker and Long’s Peak Area. Drop our gear cache, then climb a route such as the Flying Buttress, Kor’s Door, or Directissima. Return to the base at Chasm Lake and Bivy.
Day 3: Wake up before the sun and climb the North Chimney in the dark. Breakfast on Broadway Ledge makes sure we beat the crowds and the thunderstorms. Climb the Casual Route or another classic route on the Diamond. Finish on Kiener’s to the Summit of Longs. Descend the North Face, down the Camel Gully, and back to our gear cache. Hike out and grab a celebratory beer in town.
Day 4: Weather contingency day/rest day provides flexibility to maximize our chances of success.
Unique offering: 4 day window for 3 days of guided climbing
IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide with local experience and knowledge
1 day of climbing in Eldorado State Park or Lumpy Ridge
1 day climbing Flying Buttress, the Lower East Face, or the Chasm View Wall and bivy underneath the Diamond
1 day climbing the Diamond
Group gear, permits, insurance, logistical support, etc.
*a note on whats included: This is the baseline of what our priced packages include. Due to the nature of mountaineering and travel, unforeseeable expenses can come up and will be addressed on a case by case bases to settle upon something that is fair for both parties involved. For example, if we do not go into a mountain hut there is the difference in cost between hut fees and in town accommodations.
Whats not included:
Transportation from Boulder to crags and/or trailheads
Food and accommodation
Personal climbing and backpacking gear
The diamond Via The Casual Route
The Casual Route is the easiest and most popular route up the Diamond with beautiful climbing up to 5.10a. Each pitch is a standout with varying challenges and memorable features. The 5.7 traverse across edges and crimps, the best 5.8 corner I can think of, the intimidating squeeze chimney, and the remarkably exposed crux moves, culminate in one of the best rock climbs in North America.
Getting to the base of the Route
The Casual Route starts half way up the East Face of Longs from a ledge known as Broadway. To get to this ledge we have 2 options: ascend the North Chimney or rappel from Chasm View. Each has their pros and cons depending on where we bivy, your tolerance for risk, and the weather forecast for the day.
This Alpine Big wall requires strategy to maximize chances of success. The main challenges to strategize around are: the altitude, the afternoon thunderstorms, the crowds, and the length of the climb. To manage the altitude we will climb around the Boulder area, and up high in Rocky Mountain National Park before we attempt the Diamond (I can also recommend some additional acclimatization hikes to do on your own). To manage the afternoon thunderstorms I will leave a 4 day window in my schedule to climb with you for 3 days. That means that we will have flexibility and avoid days with 50% forecasts. The crowds are thinner on weekdays - we will avoid Saturdays and Sundays. To climb the route from the car, back to the car, is a 16+ hour day. To help with this we will try to bivy at either Chasm View or the Boulder Field to be able to cut out the approach on summit day, get a little bit more sleep, and beat the crowds to the base of the route.
The Prep Days
Ideally, if weather allows, we will spend the first 2 days of the program climbing in Eldorado State Park, Lumpy Ridge, or climbing other routes in the vicinity of the Diamond. This will allow us to polish our team work, work on 5.10a face climbing and 5.9+ crack climbing, and acclimatize.
Eldorado State Park
Eldorado State park has a plethora of great rock climbing and is my preferred venue for preparing for the Diamond. A day spent climbing the little known link up of Slimy Spoon, to Grand Giraffe, to Italion Arete, to Smoke and Mirrors is the best Casual Route prep without climbing the Casual Route itself. This link up encompasses everything: a solid grade III (possibly the longest continuous route in the canyon), loose rock, traverses, 5.9 crack crack climbing, a challenging squeeze chimney, and 5.10a exposed face climbing.
Lumpy Ridge is an excellent venue for preparing for the Diamond because it is higher, granite crack climbing, and you can stare at the summit of Long’s Peak all day and dream about what it will be like to be up there. A proffered Diamond prep route is Loose Ends to Cheap Date or Kor’s Flake.
Chasm View Wall or Mt. Meeker
These two features that are connected to the East Face of Longs and approached in the same manner are an excellent option for our climb the day before we attempt the Diamond. Both provide great climbing on solid rock with excellent views and they allow us to have a shorter approach and descend before our big day.
This trip requires a very high level of fitness, there are two very big days of climbing. The summit day on the Diamond is likely to be 14-18 hours of continuous movement with climbing up to 5.10a. To train, focus on rock climbing, hiking, and other endurance oriented activities. I recommend logging at least 10 days rock climbing at least 10 pitches, some up to 5.9+ crack climbing, and 5.10 face climbing. Also, days spent hiking 4000-6000’ will help with overall fitness. I can help you prepare with trips in Boulder, the Cascades, or Squamish if you would like.
The majority of our climbing will be over 12000’, with the summits of Long’s Peak being 14259’. You will be much more successful if you take time to train at altitude before your trip. Hike some 14ers or 13ers, find any excuse to camp at high elevation (mountain passes work great!). We will do our best to acclimatize throughout the week, but we will hopefully be climbing Long’s Peak on Day 3 or 4 of your trip so arriving some what acclimatized will make it much easier for you. Consider adding on a few more days of rock climbing in Boulder ahead of time if you’re concerned or flying in from Sea Level.
You need to have a healthy resume of rock climbing. You must be efficient at climbing, cleaning gear, rappelling, transitioning, managing clothing systems, and managing your own food and water intake on big mountain days. Ideally you also have at least a limited amount of experience mountaineering.
You must be able to comfortably follow (top rope) classic 5.9+ crack climbing to enjoy this trip.