Mount Flora - 13,146' - Class 1
I was in need of a rest day in-between so many other days of climbing, and also going through my last semester of college. I drove up to Berthoud Pass where I was able to make an easy hike to the top of Colorado Mines Peak (about time I hiked this peak). There was a large radio tower on the summit, but what really amazed me once again was how little snow there was, compared to just a year earlier. I was solo on this hike, but I ran into a few friends from Alabama of all places, who were on their spring break. Theirs happened to be a week later than ours. I made the easy ridge hike over to Mount Flora under a clear, warm last day of winter with no wind. It was a very scenid day and I ran into lots of other skiers who were attempting to get some final runs before the long summer began to set in. I was back at the car after just a few hours.
Longs Peak - 14,259' - Keyhole Route Class 3
Just a couple days later after taking a rest day on Mount Flora, I made plans with Bryan to climb Longs Peak on a Saturday via the standard Keyhole Route since it was so dry. I crashed next to my car at the Longs Peak trailhead among a bunch of other cars parked there since it was a Friday night. Early the next morning, Bryan arrived and we started up the trail before twilight even began. We hit continuous snow a bit before treeline, and as we crested the hill at treeline, the sun rose and illuminated the stunning east face of Longs Peak. This was the first time I saw Longs Peak up close, and I was actually very impressed, despite most of the front range being so boring.
We made very fast time up to the start of the boulderfield, traversing around Mount Lady Washington. We hopped across, passing some tents from overnight backpackers and made it to the keyhole, by the snow filled shelter. I was a little nervous since I really hadn't done much Class 3 yet, and it was winter and I knew the route could have some snow or ice on it. So we crossed over to the west side of the keyhole, and began scrambling. One very exposed spot we quickly came across where I was forced to use extreme care, but then it eased up until the ledge crossing. This 2-3 foot ledge was about 20 feet long and had about a 1000 foot vertical drop to the right into the remote basin below. Once past that scary section (where we actually passed another group), we ascended the now more open talus slopes leading to the homestretch, which was an easy and dry slab scramble to the summit.
We were greeted with a few other people on top but it wasn't an issue since the summit of Longs is so massive. Due to the warm day we spent a half hour on top enjoying it before starting down. The long hike out was uneventful and we made it back to the trailhead sometime in mid-afternoon, about 12 hours after we started.