FKT: Amy Gray-Smith - LA Freeway (CO) - 2022-08-18

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2d 7h 20m 0s
GPS track(s)


August 9, 2022.

Cable's was busy with 5 people roped up so I chose a route left of Cable's that I'll call the grey lichen route that was less slab and more of a finger crack.  I blitzed by the party of 5 quickly and summited Long's by 0814 and had the entire summit solo. Weird.  Down Long's I found a quicker way toward Pagoda and ran into two scramblers doing the Long's Grand Slam and helped them down the tricky bits.  From Pagoda I got greedy and wanted to research the 5.7 route but there was no way I could climb down the first tower free.  I found and old piton rap ring and looked for a way down it's base via a spicy chimney that took me to the base of the west ridge. I scrambled up to the second tower then dropped down the north face and downclimbed an off-width crack with a perfect knee jam then continued along slab westward.  Even though it ate up time, this was a surprising and enjoyable route down Pagoda versus the demoralizing west ridge bypass.  Chiefs Head went quickly as did the hike over and up Alice's hourglass then it is a long way to Isolation via Tanima and The Cleaver.  I chose the west gully again to see what I missed last time via headlamp.  Time dwindled as I hiked up Ouzel, Ogalalla, Ooh La La and I knew there was a tricky tower section between the points.  I chached water and food at Buchannan pass the day prior but I chose to bivy because of the ridge towers.  

August 10th

I moved slowly and took a long time to warm up.  I finally got to my cache and was excited to have a Red Bull and mushroom jerky.  I wasn't looking forward to Paiute and I call it Mount Pollute because it is pure choss.  The only part that is enjoyable is the finish up the 3rd class scoop to a fun 4th class chimney.  On to Toll now I found a good water source via a melting snow pool and decided to go up the 4th class gully vs. the super fun north face because I was carrying 6 liters of water now and could drop my pack at the saddle then out-n-back quickly without pack weight.  The hike up and over Pawnee, the pass and Shoshoni was a breeze and I wanted to be hiking the Kasparov by 4pm.  This stretch went much quicker as did the climb over to and up Navajo.  I dropped down to the Arikaree basin and filled up 2L of water again in case I was benighted along the hardest stretch of the traverse from Deshawa-South Arapaho.  I decided to go straight up Arikaree's east face and found an awesome hand crack that was much more enjoyable then skirting around it's east super choss flank.  It was getting late and I was feeling overwhelmed at the 3 final peaks.  The route to Deshawa is involved (at least there is some entertainment with the airplane wreckage) but I nailed it as the sun set.  Bummer.  I descended Deshawa and made another bivy because there is one tower along the ridge to North Arapaho that I won't do via headlamp.

August 11th

Moving slowly again my body finally warmed up as I approached the whacky tower mid ridge to North Arapaho.  The first time I climbed it's northwest side but today I chose the southeast side because it was warm, sunny and the wind was coming from the west.  Brrr.  The southeast side is committing face climbing but there are good holds, just slabby feet.  This tower must have a name? I found a south gully up to North's finishing ridge and enjoyed the summit for 3 minutes and followed the well traveled route to South Arapaho.  On the way down to 4th of July TH I took my time and stopped and chatted with a few people on the way down and got a little emotional realizing how privileged I am considering where I was 6 years ago.  I was hit by a car while riding my bike home from work and it took a long time to get where I am today.  I've planned and dreamed of the LA Freeway for 3 years and haven't had the right amount of physical or mental fitness to do this until now.  I had to learn how to walk and climb again with a fused back so sometimes rock sheltered bivy's are a little rough but today I finally, in good style, completed this mission most of it site unseen (the first time with marginal weather July 24th) as a self-supported solo female.  WoooHooooo!




August 9th

Long's TH 0353

Long's summit 0814

Pagoda 0953

Chiefs Head 1206

Alice 1356

Tanima 1509

Isolation 1735

Ouzel 1848


Ooh La La 2013

Bivy before the Points 2118

August 10th

Point 12,228 0612

Buchannan 0653

Cache 0714

Sawtooth 0757

Algonquin 0921

Paiute 1150

Toll 1317

Pawnee 1354

Shoshoni 1506

Apache 1700

Navajo 1750

Arikaree 1909

Deshawa 2038


August 11th

North Arapaho 0746

South Arapaho 0835

4th of July TH 1113