<-- Map of summer 2018
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)

The DIAMOND (on LONGS Peak)
Route: Yellow Wall Pitches 1-4 + Forrest Finish (5.10, 6p, ~800') + Kiener's Route (3rd/4th to summit)

JULY
9
2018
TR #: 295
JULY
8
2020
TR #: 432

Category: Colorado       Elev: 14,255 ft (Longs Peak); 13,700 ft (Table Ledge at top of route)       Rock Type: Granite

Partner (2018): George Foster      Partner (2020): Nate Arganbright

A magnificent line up the best wall of granite in RMNP. The second time I climbed it was a personal best car-to-car time of under 10 hours.


LINK TO MY DIAMOND BETA PAGE!

Before I get to the trip report, here are links to useful beta page I have compiled for the Diamond....


The trip report on this page represents the second and eleventh times I have climbed the Diamond.

I cannot seem to get enough of this amazing alpine wall of granite, and I keep wanting to come back. I have put together a DIAMOND BETA PAGE summarizing the main methods of approach and descent as well as summarizing/comparing the time stats of the various approaches and descents I have taken. Check it out by clicking any of the links below!  






This page contains two trip reports ....



July 2018 Trip Report
Yellow Wall Pitches 1-4 + Forest Finish + Kiener's Route to summit


INTRO FOR TRIP REPORT FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Despite Colorado's reputation as a climber's paradise, I haven't climbed much in Colorado (only two short trips while passing through, in 2007 and in 2014). It's a long way from home in Bellingham, Washington. Finally, in Summer 2018, I planned a 3-week climbing trip to Colorado (objectives involving Black Canyon of Gunnison, Eldorado Canyon, Mt. Evans Black Wall, and Rocky Mountain National Park). The Diamond—a world famous wall of alpine granite on the East Face of Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park—was high on the list of objectives. There are several awesome routes on The Diamond. I had climbed Ariana (5.12a) in 2014, thought it was fabulous, which only inspired me to want to climb other routes on the towering wall. 

George Foster joined me for my second week of climbing in Colorado. He also wanted to climb the Diamond. We decided to climb Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish, which sounded like an awesome route. The Yellow Wall is reputed to be one of the best routes on the wall. It can be kept at 5.10b with a few variations (a 5.7 bypass to the 5.11 start to Pitch 1, and taking the Forrest Finish directly to the top for Pitches 5-6).

During my trip, Colorado was experiencing its "summer monsoon season", which means nearly daily afternoon thundershowers. These can be particularly fearsome at higher elevations. And The Diamond happens to be on the high point in RMNP. But luck was with George and me, and the second day of our trip together we got our one-day weather window: a day with no forecasted thundershowers sandwiched between days forecasting 40% afternoon showers. So we decided to go for it and climb The Diamond! 

Apparently so did everyone else. By my best count, there were 16 parties climbing on The Diamond that day (3 on Yellow Wall, 1 on D7, 2 on Pervertical Sanctuary, 1 on Curving Vine, 6-8 on Casual Route, 1 high up above the Casual Route on some route I don't know). There could have even been a couple of more parties that I missed! The crag-like atmosphere resulted in about 3 hours of waiting at belays for the pitch above us to clear out, but with the bluebird skies the waiting was just part of the experience and didn't add any real worry to the day, just some chilly semi-hanging belays. George and I found the climbing on the route to be excellent: consistently steep and sustained at the 5.10 level, with an amazing position up the center of the towering Diamond. 

(Update: The Diamond is so awesome I had to climb it again before I left Colorado. Two weeks later, at the end of my Colorado road trip, I returned to the Diamond and did a two-route 13-pitch link-up of Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10c) and Casual Route (5.10a).)


ROUTE OVERLAY FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH



TIME STATS FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Approach Option 2: Chasm View Raps
Descent
 Option 2Cables Route from summit

19 hours car to car 

Leave trailhead: 3:40 am
Chasm View: 7:20 am
Base of route on Broadway Ledge: 8:35 am 
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:55)

Start climbing: 8:55 am
Finish route (Table Ledge): 5:05 pm 
(Climb Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish: 8:10 (includes ~2 hours of waiting at belays due to other parties in route))

Summit (via Kiener's Route): 5:40 pm (0:35)
Chasm View (via Cables Route): 6:30 pm (0:50)
Trailhead: 10:30 pm (4:00)
(Summit to trailhead: 4:50)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 5:25)


PHOTOS FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
We approached via the CHASM VIEW RAPPELS to Broadway Ledge.
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13.    
1. The Diamond as seen from the Boulderfield approach.
2. Zoomed in view. What a face! And we are going to climb that!
3. Pit stop at the bathrooms at the Boulderfield.
4. Just past the bathrooms, we cut left off the trail and headed across the boulders towards Chasm View (which is the upper notch).
5. View of the Diamond from Chasm View.
6. View of North Chimney from Chasm View. I approached via the North Chimney in 2014 and I didn't enjoy it. It's easy 5th but a bit sketchy at times. Even though all other parties on the wall that day approached this way, George and I were glad to be doing the Chasm View Rappels. They are certainly safer than climbing below other parties in the North Chimney.
7. Zoomed in on Table Ledge, a cool feature that splits horizontally across the face. This is where more routes end, although it is possible to continue climbing upward via various routes, mostly 5.10 and harder, and not as well-travelled as the pitches below Table Ledge.
8. The top rappel station at Chasm View. There are 3 rappels with double ropes off rap anchors (shiny new bolts and chains as of 2018).
9. Broadway Ledge as seen from Chasm View rappels.
10. Rappelling Chasm View raps.
11. Looking up from the base of the 2nd rappel.
12. Looking at the exposed scramble across the top of the North Chimney on Broadway Ledge. Our guidebook said there was some 5th class here, but we never found anything harder than 3rd class to get across the top of the North Chimney. But although it might be easy, the terrain is exposed and loose and accidents have occurred here, so be careful.
13. Chasm View Wall as seen from Broadway Ledge. Apparently there are some good 3-4 pitch climbs on this wall. If I lived in Colorado, I am sure I would target this wall for some climbing.

Pitch 
1
YELLOW WALL. 5.9 or 5.11b. Climb upwards. See guidebook pitch description for details.
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14. George past the 5.11 section on Pitch 1. A hard lead to start the day!

Pitch 
2
YELLOW WALL. 5.9. Keep going up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
15. 
15. Looking down from the belay anchor at the top of Pitch 2.

Pitch 
3
YELLOW WALL. 5.10d. Up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
16.    
17.   
16. Looking up from the belay below Pitch 3. Pitch 3 ascends the crack on the right. Notice all of the climbers on the wall above us! By my best count, there were about 16 parties on the wall that day (3 on Yellow Wall, 1 on D7, 2 on Pervertical Sanctuary, 1 on Curving Vine, 6-8 on Casual Route, 1 high up above the Casual Route on some route I don't know)
17. Midway up Pitch 3. Steep and sustained, protectable and fun.

Pitch 
4
YELLOW WALL. 5.9. Right and up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
18.    
19.  
18. Looking at the start of Pitch 4, which traverses right on airy 5.8 terrain.
19. Looking down from the belay at the top of Pitch 4. It's a wild exposed pitch that traverses right and across ledges, so it's hard to avoid rope drag.

Pitch 
5
FORREST FINISH. 5.10b. Up. Don't go right since that's the continuation of the Yellow Wall and its harder (11a). See guidebook pitch description for details.
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20. Looking up the offwidth section that starts the first pitch of the Forrest Finish.
21. The final section of climbing on the pitch. George had set a belay from where I took this photo, but it turned out that about 20-30 feet higher there was an excellent belay spot in an alcove (you can see the alcove in the photo). This was a sheltered belay where you could pile the rope beside you and sit down. Highly recommended. I was leading the last pitch, but the belay spot was much better than the hanging belay George was at, so I reset the belay spot here before continuing up on Pitch 6.
22. George arriving at the belay at the top of Pitch 5 after my short pitch to it.
Pitch 
6
FORREST FINISH. 5.10b. Up of course. Finish on Table Ledge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
23. 
23. Looking up Pitch 6. To Table Ledge! (or just below depending on where you belay)

Table Ledge to Summit
KIENER'S ROUTE. 3rd-4th. This involves traversing to the left side of Table Ledge and then scrambling up the blocky shoulder to the summit.
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24. George leading a short section to get to the actual Table Ledge (I had belayed just below it since when I got up there I ran into a party traversing across from the Casual Route and didn't want to get our ropes crossed up.)
25. Table Ledge (looking south towards Kiener's Route). The climber is at the top rappel station for the rappel route back to the base.
26. Table Ledge (looking north).
27. Scrambling up Kiener's Route to the summit. We unroped and put on approach shoes. There was a bit of 4th but it was mostly 3rd.
28. On the summit! Tagging the summit after a climb of the Diamond feels a bit more rewarding than just rappelling from Table Ledge. And overall it doesn't take much more time to descend off the summit via the Cables Route (or just downclimb Kiener's back to Table Ledge). 

Descent
We descended via the CABLES ROUTE  (3rd class scramble and 1-2 single rope rappels) to Chasm View. Regain the trail in the Boulderfield.
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29. Looking down the Cables Route from the summit. This starts with scrambling down, heading towards the Chasm View notch which you can see below.
30. Rappelling off an eyebolt. We made 2 single-rope rappels when the terrain steepened just before Chasm View.
31. Hiking out in the evening light. What a great day!




July 2020 Trip Report
Yellow Wall Pitches 1-4 + Forest Finish + Kiener's Route to summit


INTRO FOR TRIP REPORT FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Nate and I thought it would be fun to shave a couple of hours off of our 12-hour car-to-car time of D7+Kiener's ascent. We approached with our harnesses on and small packs that we would carry up and over, planning to stop as little as possible. It was a splitter forecast, and we didn't feel the need to leave the trailhead super early, so we approached in the daylight as well. Our initial plan for the day was to climb D7, but when we arrived at the base of the Diamond, there was a party just heading up D7. So we decided to climb Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish instead. It had been awhile since either of us had climbed this route, and we were reminded of how fun this route is. 

Our car-to-car time was 9 hours and 48 minutes, a personal best for both of us. We were pretty happy about it, but rather than patting ourselves on the back for a personal best time, our conversation revolved around ways we could shave even more time off next time. For one, we had waited a bit at the base of the North Chimney to allow a party to clear out of it (so not having to do this would save some time). Also, we figured that a route like D7 would take us a bit less time than Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish. And third, my legs were a bit tired from a big cross-country traverse the previous day, so I felt I probably slowed us down a tad. So, our next goal is to get our car-to-car time to under 8 hours. It's super fun to have Nate as a partner since we both get so much enjoyment out of efficiency and getting this dialed. 

The following gives time stats and photos for the climb. Another awesome day of climbing on the Diamond!


TIME STATS FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent
 Option 2Cables Route from summit

9 hours 48 minutes car to car 

Leave trailhead: 5:31 am
Base of North Chimney: 7:47 am
Base of route on Broadway Ledge: 8:19 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 2:48) 

Start climbing: 8:23 am
Finish route (Table Ledge): 12:08 pm 
(Climb Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish: 3:45)

Summit (via Kiener's Route): 12:40 pm (0:32)
Chasm View (via Cables Route): 1:19 pm (0:39)
Trailhead: 3:19 pm (2:00)
(Summit to trailhead: 2:39)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 3:11)


PHOTOS FOR YELLOW WALL + FORREST FINISH + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
We approached via the NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge.
1.    
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1. Pack weight. This included everything (gear, food, water, clothes).
2. Topping off on water just before making the final approach to the North Chimney. Nate and I just carry a 0.5 L container and refill along the way.
3. Look at all that awesome granite basking in the sun.
4. North Chimney.
5. Scrambling up the North Chimney.
6. Right exit.

Pitch 
1
YELLOW WALL. 5.9 or 5.11b. Climb upwards. See guidebook pitch description for details.
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7. Nate starting up Pitch 1. We did the 5.7 start on the right and merged with Pitch 1 just past the 5.11a start. I hadn't gone this way before so it was nice to do so.
8. A sunny warm belay. What a splitter day.
9. Looking up Pitch 1. This is taken looking up the 5.7 variation to the right.


Pitch 
2
YELLOW WALL. 5.9. Keep going up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
10.    
11.   
10. Looking up Pitch 2.
11. Looking down Pitch 2 
from the belay at the top of the pitch.


Pitch 
3
YELLOW WALL. 5.10d. Up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
12.    
12. Nate starting up Pitch 3.


Pitch 
4
YELLOW WALL. 5.9. Right and up. See guidebook pitch description for details.
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13. Looking up Pitch 4.
14. Midway up Pitch 4.
15. Looking down Pitch 4 from the belay at the top of the pitch.


Pitch 
5
FORREST FINISH. 5.10b. Up. Don't go right since that's the continuation of the Yellow Wall and its harder (11a). See guidebook pitch description for details.
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16. Looking up Pitch 5.
17. The splitter handcrack at the end of Pitch 5.

Pitch 
6
FORREST FINISH. 5.10b. Up of course. Finish on Table Ledge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
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18. Looking up Pitch 6.
19. Tommy and Alex hanging out on Table Ledge. 
20. Nate topping out on Table Ledge.


Table Ledge to Summit
KIENER'S ROUTE. 3rd-4th. This involves traversing to the left side of Table Ledge and then scrambling up the blocky shoulder to the summit.
21.    
21. Kiener's Route.


Descent
We descended via the CABLES ROUTE  (3rd class scramble and 1-2 single rope rappels) to Chasm View. Regain the trail in the Boulderfield.
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22. On the summit, headed for the Cables Route descent.
23. Rappelling off an old eyebolt.
24. Snowfield at base of rappel.
25. Hiking out the Boulderfield.
26. Jogging a bit of trail just to make sure we broke the 10 hour car to car time.
27. You'd think it would be easy to park a small car, but apparently not.