Kieners Route Conditions

2 Aug 2004 - by Doug Cook

Current route conditions are nearly ideal and, other than Longs notorious quickly changing weather conditions, should hold for another few weeks until Lambs Slide turns to hard, black ice and the snowfield becomes a shooting gallery with random rockfall. If you've been thinking about doing Kieners this summer....

John Raich, Chris Endres, and Doug Cook left bivy sites at Mills Glacier at 5 AM and headed up Lambs Slide. After a very warm night above 40F, the snow was fairly hard alpine ice with 1-2 inches you could barely kick steps into. Crampons and ice axe were mandatory; we didn't feel a need to rope up. After about an hour of switchback climbing up the snowfield, we started the traverse on Broadway to the base of the Notch Couloir. Broadway is completely melted out, which made the sketchy traverse on narrow ledges with breath-taking exposure much safer than with patches of snow/ice. John, our fearless leader and veteran of prior trips, lead two and a half pitches on a 60M 8.5mm half rope up through the maze of ledges and chimneys to the 3-5th class rock scramble above Kieners Chimneys. Above the Chimney section we climbed unroped on dry rock all the way to the summit which we reached at 10:30 AM.

After a downclimbing traverse to the old Cable Route anchors, we rapped down the North Face, downclimbed on ice axe self-belays the snowfield at the base of the North Face route, traversed the Longs-Lady Washington ridge to the Camel, and descended down Camel Gulley back to our bivy gear at Mills Glacier, arriving at 1:30 PM. We packed up and began the death march with heavy packs back around Chasm Lake toward Longs trailhead. The summit, descent, and hike out was a 12.5 hour day of nearly nonstop climbing. We were blessed with a warm, slightly overcast, nearly wind-free day which is rare on Longs. But, true-to-form, Longs provided some high cloud thunder and light rain for about a half hour on our backpack out. The Longs-Meeker cirque weather gods always remind you who's in control.

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