FKT: W. Jared Scott - Longs Peak Grand Slam (CO) - 2018-09-13
I have had this route on my mind for a long time. I did the route with my oldest son Jared on 8/13 just before he went off to college. That was some special dad/son time and I had hoped we would set the Double Jared Longs Peak Radical Slam FKT. On that date we did it in 8:17, which I thought was a new FKT. That included getting lost at the last possible turn, ending up in a private camp and bailing out to the highway and then back up the windy road to the Longs Peak TH. Much to my chagrin I discovered that the current FKT was actually 7:59. I was determined to do better.
This date was unseasonably warm, but also incredibly windy above treeline. This cost a bit of time. I started at about 6:45 AM and tried to take a bit more of a direct line than I have in past trips, but clearly there are some shortcuts that the Longs experts know about that I didn't take. I don't remember all of my splits but I recall that I hit Meeker in 1:54, Pagoda in 3:32 and Mount Lady Washington in 5:05. My route was pretty close to spot on and dry, though I did traverse too high in a few spots and had to downclimb a couple of times which was annoying. Amazingly I went straight to the correct gully to climb down from the Loft, and even saw the mythical Clark's arrow. I was also alone on the top of Longs, a rare event. My descent from MLW seemed incredibly slow as I picked my way down the boulders, and my ascent up Estes Cone was very slow as well, as I was beat. For a while I dreamt of sub-7 hours, but once that possibility faded I kind of eased up on the last few miles back to the trailhead.
This is a beautiful and wild route and I have some good scrapes from a couple tumbles and the battles with the krumholz. They just give me a good excuse to talk about my adventure when people ask.
Yes, this time included the mandatory 50 pushups although to be honest they were not high quality pushups. I personally could have done the route a bit faster. A younger, fitter mountain beast could definitely cut considerable time. It's all about the route finding and not turning an ankle. Enjoy!
P.S. My watch recorded <8K elevation gain and 16+ miles, Roach says it is 18.4M and over 8K. I trust his numbers more than mine.