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    Member Since May 2019

    James McAnally Pro-red@3x

    Albuquerque, New Mexico 

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    James McAnally reviewed The Keyhole and Longs Peak via Longs Peak Trail

    8 days ago

    Hike date September 5th 2019.

    First things first I would absolutely do this hike again. In fact I really want to. This is a summer to very early fall hike only. The two keys are to 1) start early because stormy rainy weather always rolls in from 12pm into the afternoon (it did for me) and you do not want to deal with wet surfaces on this hike that slow you down and ups the danger and difficulty level dramatically. 2) Start with an even relaxed pace, your gonna need energy in the tank for all 15 miles at high altitude. I started at 2:30am and finished at 3:30pm. It was my birthday hike and the conditions were as perfect as they get. But if it were to be cold, windy and icey this would be a considerably dangerous, harsh, perilous, unpredictable and scary hike. Not on the way up either on the way down there are many flat slide like surfaces and when icey they will send you out of control; remember at altitude it is colder so things ice up faster for more parts of the day. But like I said the conditions were perfect so it was just a wholesome challenge. Lucky me! What an absolutely majestic magnificent hike. It’s been 5 days since I went and I am still thinking about it. I have a hiking addiction now. This hike beat me up I was sore for days and this seemed to push on my previous distance endurance limits and actually give me more capability for future hikes. The stair stepping bouldering down is very rough on the body. Good conditions or not my body was glowing with inflammation after the hike for 2 to 3 days after.

    Water consideration for the entire hike. 3 to 5 liters person. 4 liters was perfect for me. I am a Male, 182lbs weight. Bring lots of trail mix and snacks. Beef jerky is a preferred item for me.

    Dress in long sleeve layers. Wear modern material hiking pants that breath and stretch. Wear long John thermal underwear pants. Bring a hat that covers your ears and neck as high altitude sun is harsh. Also bring warm tough leather gloves that grip well. Baseball batting gloves work and snug fitting construction or yard work gloves work. Your going to in addition to hiking be climbing you way up. Hand protection is needed. Bring a real hiking boot thats sturdy and durable to do this hike. Unless you are running it that is a different sort of footwear. But really hiking boots will prevent injury and make the hike more enjoyable. Also bring a rain jacket it will probably rain later in the afternoon. It’s worth it to have. I brought my Marmot Gortex rain jacket and it made a great difference at the end of the hike because it rained hard.

    You will need a headlamp for this hike.
    (Optional) a light hiking helmet.

    Woke up in Estes park at 12:45am to get this hike started. I drove in from Albuquerque the day before and had 10 hours of altitude acclimation to the 7500 Estes park altitude. Which was helpful.

    All the way up from the parking lot to the boulder field is standard issue light to to upper medium grade incline. I am not very sensitive to altitude so it was enjoyable with grand views of the Milky Way in the night sky with shooting stars included. If you happen to be from Texas or some low altitude place and are not climatized to the altitude, your in trouble the altitude will kick thine ass. That happened on the hike I met a Texas dude with only 14 hours of altitude acclimatization and no real hiking conditioning and I did not see him at the top, in fact he had to turn back once he met the boulder field. You must have some lower altitude conditioning training hikes under your belt to legitimately do the keyhole. Other wise you will be be subject to sizable unnecessary health risks and the entire hike will be a painful unenjoyable slug for you.

    The boulder field is a nice change of pace but is mentally and physically taxing as you have to consider foot placement just about every step. It’s boulder field all the way up to the keyhole.

    The keyhole is naturally windy but oh so majestic and grand. The little stone shelter hut is very well built and is a great shelter if your stuck because of the weather. You can see two sides of the mountain; your on a ridge viewing two different worlds.

    Once you pass through the keyhole you hike along the back side, the shadow side of the mountain on a side ways slant on gravel and rocky slabs. A nice change of scenery and different style of terrain for a different feeling hike. It’s not to difficult until....

    The most difficult part after side ways slant world you enter the trough. A steep 30 to 50 degree incline at high altitude. It’s something you would see in Lord of the rings. Gullum will guide you but can you trust him? Well be just as cautious with your foot placement here as it is hazardous. Also be mindful to not loosen rocks to send them flying down below into the faces of other hikers. Be conscious and careful here. People get hurt in this section. A hiking helmet would provide an extra degree of protection and it is a reasonable piece of gear to include

    James McAnally reviewed Wheeler Peak via Williams Lake Trail

    3 months ago

    Hiked June 11th 2019. Still lots of snow up there. What a beautiful day on this Trail. The trail was not well marked because the snow covered it up. Saw big horn sheep that can within 20 yards of me. Lots of Marmonts and Pika rodents. The views are amazing. Best of all got slide on my bum on the snow 25 percent down the mountain on establish snow chutes, making the trip back easy and fun. I would do this hike again. Because I had difficulty finding the trail, I went off trail up the most vertical direct route. Tough going had to take breaks frequently but ultimately very rewarding and actually I prefer this over plunging my feet into thigh high snow ever 6th step. Great way to avoid the snow fields. It was a glorious day to be on the trail.