The DIAMOND (on LONGS Peak)
Route: D7 (5.11c, 5p) + Kiener's Route (3rd/4th to summit)
Route: D7 (5.11c, 5p)  + Camping in Cirque

SEPT
2
2019
TR #: 365
JUNE
3-4
2020
TR #: 417

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

Partner: Nathan Arganbright

Climbing the Diamond via D7 at the end of one season and the beginning of the next. Climbing doesn't get much better than this.


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 eighth and ninth 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 ....



September 2019 Trip Report
D7 + Kiener's Route to summit


INTRO FOR TRIP REPORT FOR D7 + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

It seems appropriate that my 7th time up to the Diamond (and eighth route I'd climbed on it) was D7. It was also probably the best route I had climbed so far on the Diamond. D7 features beautiful, solid rock and good cracks all the way up. It was originally an aid climb, so there are lots of pins. 

I climbed D7 with Nate Arganbright. We'd had an adventurous day on D1 the previous weekend, and it was nice to return the following weekend (Labor Day Monday in fact) for another day on the Diamond. Nate climbs D7 at least a few times a year and has climbed the route in all conditions (soaking wet, filled with ice, ...), so he was easily convinced to add another lap to the year's tally. We climbed the route in just under 4 hours, with me leading the odd pitches and Nate leading the even pitches (Pitch 4 is by far the hardest pitch of the route, involving pretty sustained 5.11-ish climbing and an 11c crux section). It was one of those unusually warm and calm days on the Diamond, and we climbed in t-shirts as we managed to stay in the sun the entire time. It was not yet noon when we reached Table Ledge, so we decided to continue up to the summit via Kiener's Route (we had not left any gear on Broadway Ledge to give the option of continuing upwards). We descended via the Cables Route and then down Camel Gully back into Chasm Lake Cirque. This was the first time I had been down Camel Gully, so I enjoyed the opportunity to collect some photos of this connector option between Chasm View area and Chasm Lake area. 

All in all, probably my favorite route and most enjoyable day on the Diamond to date. Thanks Nate for being psyched to climb this route again! 

This page gives a trip report from our climb, including a route overlay, time stats from the climb, and lots of photos. Enjoy! 


ROUTE OVERLAY FOR D7



TIME STATS FOR D7 + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

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

12.25 hours car to car
14.25 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 3:05 am

Leave trailhead: 4:05 am
Base of North Chimney: 6:43 am
Base of D7 on Broadway Ledge: 7:32 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 3:27) 

Start climbing: 7:47 am
Finish route (Table Ledge): 11:45 am 
(Climb route: 3:58)

Summit (via Kiener's Route): 12:25 pm (0:41)
Chasm View (via Cables Route): 1:06 pm (0:41)
Chasm Lake Cirque (via Camel Gully): 2:05 pm (0:59)
Trailhead: 4:20 pm (2:15)
(Summit to trailhead: 3:55)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:35)

Boulder: 5:20 pm 


PHOTOS FOR D7 + KIENER'S ROUTE TO SUMMIT

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
We approached via the NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge.
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1. Morning sun on the Diamond.
2. Approaching the North Chimney. 
3. Ascending the North Chimney. Our least favorite (and most dangerous) part of the day. The party above us was roped up, and they ended up kicking off (or their rope kicked off) some giant rocks as we were ascending below them. We were just lucky to be a bit right of the path of the rocks. 


Pitch 
1
D7. 5.9. Climb the left-facing corner to a good ledge, and continue up to a higher ledge. This is a long pitch (~165 feet). There are lots of fixed pins.
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4. Looking up Pitch 1.
5. Midway up Pitch 1.
6. Upper stretch of Pitch 1.


Pitch 
2
D7. 5.10b. Start in a left-facing corner and then follow thin corners and cracks to Crossover Ledge. You can belay on the left side of Crossover Ledge or continue to the next ledge. This is another long pitch with lots of fixed pins.
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7. Nate starting his lead up Pitch 2.
8. Midway up Pitch 2.


Pitch 
3
D7. 5.10c. Climb the thin right-facing corner that starts about 5 feet right of the left side of the ledge. Stop at a stance below two leaning cracks. (The prominent right-facing dihedral off the left end of the ledge is the D7 Variation.) 
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9. Pitch 3 ascends the shallow right-facing corner on the right side of the photo. The corner on the left is the D7 Variation.
10. Higher up on Pitch 3.
11. Looking down from the belay at the top of the pitch.



Pitch 
4
D7. 5.11c. Climb parallel cracks to another small ledge. This pitch has the crux of the route.
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12. Looking up Pitch 4. The crux pitch.
13. One of the several old bongs on the route.


Pitch 
5
D7. 5.11a. Work up a thin crack that widens to about 10 inches, and continue more easily to Almost Table Ledge. (Nate linked the 5.11a bit at the start of this pitch with the end of Pitch 4, so instead our Pitch 5 was 5.10 terrain and we were able to extend it all the way to Table Ledge instead of stopping at Almost Table Ledge.)
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14. Pitch 5 splitter.
15. 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.
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16. Table Ledge.
17. Upper Kiener's Route, taken just after rounding the corner from Table Ledge.
18. Blocky 3rd and 4th on upper Kiener's Route.
19. Almost at the top!
20. Summit view. The flat summit expanse is always such a contrast to the vertical face of the Diamond you climbed to get there.
21. On the summit. A rare photo with me in it. 



Descent
We descended via the CABLES ROUTE  (3rd class scramble and 1-2 single rope rappels) to Chasm View. Then we descended CAMEL GULLY (3rd) back into Chasm Lake Cirque.
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22. Heading down the Cables Route.
23. The first rappel.
24. The second rappel.
25. A view of The Diamond from Chasm View. I spot at least 7 parties in the photo. 
26. Zoomed in on climbers on right side of Diamond. I think they are on Enos Mills Wall and Queen of Spades. Probably trying to free them.
27. Table Ledge. It's more like Table Roof on the right side of the Diamond.
28. Looking down the ridge between Chasm View and the entrance to Camel Gully.
29. The entrance to Camel Gully.
30. View of the Diamond from the entrance to Camel Gully.
31. Descending Camel Gully.

32. Nearing the end of Camel Gully.
33. Hiking out around Chasm Lake. What a beautiful summer day.




June 2020 Trip Report
D7 + Camping in cirque

INTRO FOR TRIP REPORT FOR D7 + CAMPING IN CIRQUE

RMNP had just reopened after the closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the spring had not seen any big dumps of snow in the alpine, so Nate and I were thinking the same thing: Diamond.

The original plan was to spend two nights in Chasm Lake Cirque and climb for two days, at least one of which would be on the Diamond. But we ended up truncating the trip to one night and one climb due to incessant afternoon squalls making it uncomfortable to just hang out at camp after we got back down from the climb. But it was an awesome trip nevertheless, to be up there and climbing on the Diamond, and the only ones up there too. We climbed D7. In fact, this stellar route had been the most recent route both of us had climbed on the Diamond, when we climbed it over Labor Day weekend at the end of the previous season. We faced a bit of mixed conditions getting to the base of the route (crampons and ice axe certainly came in handy). But the plus side was that we had the entire Diamond to ourselves. And the North Chimney had never felt so safe with no parties above to kick stuff down. Climbing conditions on the route were superb; the rock was surprisingly dry for early June. We had sunny rock and sunny skies until midway up the crux pitch (the second to last pitch from the top). By the time we reached the top of this pitch, a squall system complete with thunder and lightning was brewing just over the ridge, and we made the wise decision to cut left to the Diamond Rappel route and rappel one pitch from the end of the route. 

All in all, another excellent Diamond adventure with a super solid partner.

This page gives a trip report from our climb, including a route overlay, time stats from the climb, and lots of photos. Enjoy! 

TIME STATS FOR D7

Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent Option 1Diamond Rappel Route

6:40 hours camp to camp

Leave trailhead: 3:31 pm
Camp: 7:36 pm
(had to weather out a storm for over an hour on approach)

Leave camp: 6:57 am
Base of North Chimney: 7:26 am
Base of D7 on Broadway Ledge: 8:13 am
(had mixed conditions)

Start climbing: 8:41 am
One pitch below Table Ledge: 11:58 am 
(had to rap from one pitch shy of Table due to weather)

Begin rappels: 12:00 pm
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 1:16 pm (1:16)
Camp: 1:37 pm

Leave camp: 5:22 pm
Trailhead: 7:22 pm


PHOTOS FOR D7

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
We approached via the NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge.
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1. The parking lot at Longs Peak trailhead. I'm used to seeing it much more packed with cars (sometimes you even have to park down the road if you don't arrive before 5am), but the combination of early season, midweek and COVIF-19 scare meant we had a choice of parking spot.
2. Nate hydrating on the hike.
3. We hit intermittent snow on the trail near treeline. For the most part, the trail was a lot more clear than this section shown in the photo.
4. A squall hit as we got to treeline and we decided to wait it out in a stand of trees. These squalls generally pass pretty quickly and its usually worth it to find shelter from the biting hail.
5. Approaching Chasm Lake cirque.
6. A frozen Chasm Lake and the Diamond above.
7. Approaching the North Chimney in the morning.
8. A view up the North Chimney. This is more like early July conditions than early June.
9. Soloing up the North Chimney. This was the safest I had ever felt in the North Chimney, since there were no parties above us.
10. A little bit of snow to deal with. We switched back to approach shoes for awhile.
11. This bit of steep, icy snow was probably the crux of accessing Broadway Ledge from the North Chimney. We put on crampons for this.
12. Broadway Ledge. The snow was soft enough to boot through.

Pitches
1-2
D7. 5.9. Climb the left-facing corner to a good ledge, and continue up to a higher ledge. This is a long pitch (~165 feet). There are lots of fixed pins.
D7. 5.10b. Start in a left-facing corner and then follow thin corners and cracks to Crossover Ledge. You can belay on the left side of Crossover Ledge or continue to the next ledge. This is another long pitch with lots of fixed pins.

We climbed these as two pitches in September 2019, but ended up doing it as three pitches on this climb. They are deceptively long pitches and there are just so many fixed anchors and places you can stop.
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13. Nate starting up Pitch 1.
14. Higher up on Pitch 1.
15. Looking up our second pitch. This could be part of either Pitch 1 or Pitch 2 as described in the guidebook.
16. Nate starting off our third pitch. This would be part of Pitch 2 as described in the guidebook.

17. 
Just so much awesome rock, huh?
18. A pretty flower and one of the many pitons on D7.

Pitch 
3
D7. 5.10c. Climb the thin right-facing corner that starts about 5 feet right of the left side of the ledge. Stop at a stance below two leaning cracks. (The prominent right-facing dihedral off the left end of the ledge is the D7 Variation.) 
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19. Looking up the start of Pitch 3 (our fourth pitch). 
20. Nate nearing the top of the pitch.
21. A frozen Chasm Lake far below.

Pitch 
4
D7. 5.11c. Climb parallel cracks to another small ledge. This pitch has the crux of the route.
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22. Looking up Pitch 4.
23. Some thunder clouds building over the Boulderfield area just over the ridge....
24. The 11c crux section.
25. Quickly getting ominous....

Pitch 
5
D7. 5.11a. Work up a thin crack that widens to about 10 inches, and continue more easily to Almost Table Ledge. 
Because of the dark clouds building quickly around us, we ended up traversing left to the second rappel anchor on the Diamond Rappel Route, rather than finishing the final pitch to Almost Table Ledge. Both of us hated to bail so close to the top of the route, but it's best not to mess with Colorado thundershowers. A lightning strike just over the ridge just as we began rapping told us we made the correct decision.
(see 2019 trip report) 


Descent
We rappelled the DIAMOND RAPPEL ROUTE back to Broadway Ledge (5 raps with double ropes from Table Ledge, but 4 raps for us since we had stopped one pitch shy of Table Ledge) and from there down to the cirque (4 more raps, or 3 if the snow is high enough). 
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26. Rappelling.
27. Descending the snow on Broadway to get to the rappels below Broadway.
28. The final rappel to the snow.



PHOTOS FOR CAMPING IN CIRQUE

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
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1. "The Hilton" bivy boulder. Snow still taking residence.
2. The bivy spot just above The Hilton looked a bit wet too.
3. We bivied on top of this flat boulder. Can't beat the view.
4. Oysters and tomatoes and cheese can make instant mashed potatoes pretty darn tasty.
5. Morning sun on the Diamond.
6. Enjoying coffee from the sleeping bag. Sun rises early in the spring.
7. Laying out the gear at the bivy boulder after the climb. It had gotten a bit wet dragging it through the snow.
8. Reading a book during a rare afternoon sun break.
9. Relaxing at camp during a rare afternoon sun break.
10. Curious marmot.
11. Howdy!
12. Hunkered down during yet another afternoon squall. You aren't allowed to have a tent in RMNP, and with the sheltered bivy sites still filled with snow, we didn't really have any comfortable spot to hang out when the squalls came. They just kept passing through. Eventually we had enough and decided to hike out and forgo another night up there and another climb the next day. 
13. Ship's Prow. I want to climb something on this.
14. We had dinner, backcountry style, on Nate's porch, with a view of the Diamond.