THE
DIAMOND
(LONGS PEAK, COLORADO)
BETA
page


The Diamond on Longs Peak in Colorado is the most famous wall of alpine granite in the United States. One million square feet of vertical rock lying between 13,000 to 14,000 feet, with its top a mere 200 feet from the summit of Longs Peak. The Diamond is remote, cold, and susceptible to quick changes in weather. The climbing is steep and athletic and primarily cracks. All in all, the Diamond epitomizes the type of climbing I love. Every time I am up there, I find myself planning the next time I can return. 

This following page lists the routes I've climbed on the Diamond up to this point, the main methods of approach and descent, and summarizes/compares the time stats of the various approaches and descents I have taken.


ROUTES I'VE CLIMBED ON THE DIAMOND, LONGS PEAK, RMNP, COLORADO

There are over 30 routes on the Diamond. I cannot seem to get enough of the Diamond and I will be sure to return again and again over the years now that I live in Boulder. I've climbed the Diamond eleven times by eight different routes. In chronological order:

  Ascent 1. (Route 1)  Ariana (5.12a, 6p)    August 6, 2014
  Ascent 2. (Route 2)  Yellow Wall Pitches 1-4 + Forrest Finish (5.10, 6p) + Kiener's Route to top    July 9, 2018
  Ascents 3&4. (Routes 3&4)  Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10d, 6p) + Casual Route (5.10a, 8p) link-up    July 24, 2018
  Ascent 5. (Route 5)  D7 P1&P2 + Black Dagger (5.11a, 5p)    August 2, 2019
  Ascent 6. (Route 6)  Curving Vine (5.11a, 6p) + Forrest Finish above Table Ledge to top    August 13, 2019
  Ascent 7. (Route 7)  D1 Pitches 1-4 (5.11, 4p)    August 24, 2019
  Ascent 8. (Route 8)  D7 (5.11c, 5p)    September 2, 2019
  Ascent 9. (repeat)  D7 (5.11c, 5p)    June 4, 2020
  Ascent 10. (repeat)  Casual Route (5.10a, 8p)    June 29, 2020
  Ascent 11. (repeat)  Yellow Wall Pitches 1-4 + Forrest Finish (5.10, 6p) + Kiener's Route to top    July 8, 2020
Photo overlay of the routes I've climbed. Click to enlarge.



APPROACH & DESCENT OPTIONS FOR THE DIAMOND

Map showing main methods of Approach and Descent (click to enlarge).

There are 2 main methods of Approach:
1. 
NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge. Most common way to get here is hiking in via Chasm Lake Cirque.
2. CHASM VIEW RAPPELS to Broadway Ledge. Most common way to get here is hiking in via Boulderfield.
(3. (Less common) CLIMB A ROUTE ON CHASM VIEW WALL and traverse left via CHASM VIEW CUTOFF to Broadway Ledge.)
(4. (Even less common and kind of dangerous) CLIMB A ROUTE ON LOWER EAST FACE and traverse right on Broadway Ledge.)

Approach Option 1: NORTH CHIMNEY

Some snow getting into North Chimney (spikes/crampons helpful) and then loose 5.4 rock getting up North Chimney.
           
There are more random photos taken during this approach in my trip reports for Ariana, Curving VineD1 Pitches 1-4, D7, Casual Route, and Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish.
Approach Option 2: CHASM VIEW RAPPELS

Chasm View to Broadway Ledge: 3 double-rope rappels of bolted rap stations.
               
There are more random photos taken during this approach in my trip reports for Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish, Pervertical Sanctuary + Casual Route, and D7 P1&P2 + Black Dagger.
Approach Option 3: CLIMB A ROUTE ON CHASM VIEW WALL and traverse left via CHASM VIEW CUT-OFF to Broadway Ledge

4-5 pitches, 5.10-5.12
       
There are more random photos taken during this approach in my trip reports for Directissima and Red Wall.
Approach Option 4: CLIMB A ROUTE ON LOWER EAST FACE and traverse right on Broadway Ledge

~6 pitches, 5.8-5.12
 
In June 2020, we tried to traverse from the top of Kor's Door (a route up the Lower East Face) to the base of the Diamond, and encountered a steep and sloughy snowpatch hanging above Field's Chimney that we judged a bit too dangerous to cross. I have heard that in later summer once the snowpatch melts, that this section is steep loose talus. In general, this approach is not very safe and not recommended. But for the sake of completeness I decided to include it as at least an option for those willing to risk it.
There are some random photos of Broadway Ledge and this snowpatch in my trip report for Kor's Door.

There are 2 main methods of Descent:
1. From Table Ledge, use the DIAMOND RAPPEL ROUTE, which goes down the left side of Diamond and regain trail at Chasm Lake area. If you go to the summit, you can get to Table Ledge from the summit by reversing upper KIENER'S ROUTE (3rd and a few moves of 4th).
2. This descent starts from the summit. To get to the summit from Table Ledge, you can either scramble upper Kiener's Route (3rd and a few moves of 4th) to the summit, or climb some 5.10-5.12 route above Table Ledge to the top rim of the Diamond as we did in this trip report and from there scramble easily to the summit. Routes on the right side of the Diamond end at the top rim of the Diamond. From the summit, descend via the CABLES ROUTE (3rd class scramble and 1-2 single rope rappels) to Chasm View. From Chasm View, either descend to the Boulderfield to regain the trail or head to the entrance to CAMEL GULLY and descend Camel Gully into Chasm Lake Cirque. 

Note 1: Ascending CAMEL GULLY would be an option if you had initially planned to go to the summit and use Descent Option 2, but then decided to rap the Diamond (Decent Option 1) but had left gear at Chasm View or had a camp in the Boulderfield. 

Note 2: Variations and combinations are possible. That is, you can combine either approach option with either descent option, although you might need to consider where to leave your extra stuff, or if you want to take it all with you. You can also go to the summit and still use the Diamond Rappel Route if you just downclimb Kiener's Route to Table Ledge.

Descent Option 1: DIAMOND RAPPEL ROUTE

Table Ledge to Broadway Ledge: 5 raps with double ropes (the established rap route is definitely set up for double rope raps).

Broadway Ledge to snowfield: 4 raps (90', 150', 150', 200').
                   
There are more random photos taken during this descent in my trip reports for ArianaPervertical Sanctuary + Casual Route, and D7 P1&P2 + Black DaggerCurving Vine, and Casual Route.
Descent Option 2: SUMMIT TO CABLES ROUTE

Climb to summit via Kiener's Route (4th) or via a route above Table Ledge (5.9-5.12 depending on route). The Cables Route descent takes you to Chasm View (3rd with 1-2 single rope raps). From Chasm View, either descend to the Boulderfield to intersect trail or head to CAMEL GULLY and descend Camel Gully back to Chasm Lake Cirque.
     
There are more random photos taken during this descent in my trip reports for Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish and D7.
Descent Connector Route: CAMEL GULLY

3rd class scramble down a gully between Chasm View area and Chasm Lake Cirque. (Another option—
GILLETTE GULLY—is a bit more technical.)
           
There are more random photos taken during this descent in my trip reports for D7 and Directissima.



TIME STAT COMPARISON FOR ALL OF MY CLIMBS ON THE DIAMOND

The following table summarizes/compares the time stats for the routes/approaches/descents I've done on the Diamond.

Below the table, I give a bit of discussion about times for the various approach and descent options.

Disclaimer: I consider myself to be an athletic and efficient climber of moderate speed on trail and rock and a pretty good track record of success. I know that climbers have achieved much quicker times on the Diamond than I have. On the other hand, climbers have achieved much slower times too. So take these times as a good benchmark for an athletic and competent party.

1
Ariana
 

(Aug 6, 2014)
2
Yellow Wall+Forrest Finish+Kiener's

(July 9, 2018)  
3&4
Pervertical Sanctuary + Casual Route

(July 24, 2018)
Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent
 Option 1Diamond Rappel Route

16 hours car to car

Leave trailhead: 3:40 am
Chasm Lake: 5:40 am
Base of North Chimney: 7:00 am
Base of route on Broadway Ledge: 8:11 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:31)

Start climbing: 8:30 am
Finish route (Table Ledge): 3:05 pm 
(Climb Ariana: 6:35 (includes~30 min wait at final belay for a party merging with our route from Curving Vine))

Begin rappels: 3:20 pm
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 5:04 pm (1:44)
Trailhead: 7:50 pm (2:46)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:30)
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)


Approach Option 2: Chasm View Raps
Descent
 Option 1Diamond Rappel Route

22.5 hours car to car

Leave trailhead: 1:35 am
Chasm View: 5:00 am
Base of Pervertical on Broadway Ledge: 6:30 am 
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:55)

Start climbing Pervertical: 6:56 am 
Finish Pervertical (Table Ledge): 11:25 am 
(Climb Pervertical: 4:29) 

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 11:40 am
Broadway Ledge: 12:25 pm (0:45)

Start climbing Casual: 12:56 pm
Finish Casual (Table Ledge): 6:35 pm 
(Climb Casual: 5:39 (wet conditions))

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 6:55 pm
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 8:22 pm (1:27)
Trailhead: 12:09 am (3:47)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 5:14)
5
D7 Pitches 1&2 + Black Dagger

(Aug 2, 2019)
6
Curving Vine + Forrest Finish above Table Ledge to the top

(Aug 13, 2019)  
7
D1 Pitches 1-4

(Aug 24, 2019)  
Approach Option 2: Chasm View Raps
Descent
 Option 1Diamond Rappel Route

14.5 hours car to car
17 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 2:15 am

Leave trailhead: 3:29 am
Chasm View: 6:42 am
Base of D7 on Broadway Ledge: 8:10 am 
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:40)

Start climbing D7 Pitch 1: 8:28 am 
Finish Black Dagger (Table Ledge): 1:25 pm 
(Climb D7 P1&P2 + Black Dagger: 4:57)

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 1:40 pm
Broadway Ledge: 2:25 pm (0:45)
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 3:30 pm (1:05)
Trailhead: 6:06 pm (2:36)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:26)

Boulder: 7:15 pm 
Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent
 Option 1Diamond Rappel Route (+ downclimb Kiener's to Table Ledge)

18.5 hours car to car
20.5 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 2:00 am

Leave trailhead: 3:06 am
Base of North Chimney: 6:02 am
Base of Curving Vine on Broadway Ledge: 7:15 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:09) 

Start climbing Curving Vine: 7:24 am
Finish Curving Vine (Table Ledge): 1:08 pm 
(Climb Curving Vine: 5:44)

Start climbing Forrest Finish above Table Ledge: 1:57 pm
Summit (via 2 pitches above Table Ledge): 4:17 pm 
(Climb Forrest Finish above Table Ledge: 2:20 (wet conditions))

Table Ledge (via downclimb Kiener's): 4:54 pm

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 5:00 pm
Broadway Ledge: 5:45 pm (0:45)
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 6:22 pm (0:37)
Trailhead: 9:31 pm (3:09)
(Summit to trailhead: 5:14)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:31)

Boulder: 10:30 pm 
Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent
Rappel D1

13.25 hours car to car
15.75 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 2:00 am

Leave trailhead: 3:10 am
Base of North Chimney: 6:10 am
Base of D1 on Broadway Ledge: 6:55 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 3:45) 

Start climbing D1 Pitch 1: 7:08 am 
Top of Pitch 4: 11:26 am 
(Climb D1 P1-4: 4:18)

Begin rappels from top of Pitch 4: 11:40 am
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 2:10 pm (2:30, got rope stuck)
Trailhead: 4:28 pm (2:18)
(Top of route to trailhead: 4:48 (got rope stuck))

Boulder: 5:45 pm 
8
D7

(Sept 2, 2019)
9
D7

(June 4, 2020)
this was overnight trip, so the times are not really comparable with car-to-car climbs
10
Casual Route 
(June 29, 2020)
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 
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
Approach Option 1: North Chimney
Descent Option 1Diamond Rappel Route

12.25 hours car to car
14.25 hours Boulder to Boulder

Leave Boulder: 1:43 am

Leave trailhead: 2:43 am
Base of North Chimney: 5:27 am
Base of route on Broadway Ledge: 6:08 am
(Trailhead to base of route: 3:25) 

Start climbing: 6:22 am
Finish route (Table Ledge): 10:48 am
(Climb Casual Route: 4:26)

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 10:57 am
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 12:25 pm (1:28)
Trailhead: 2:55 pm (2:30)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 3:58)

Boulder: 4:00 pm 
11
Yellow Wall+Forrest Finish+Kiener's
(July 8, 2020)  


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)




SOME COMMENTS ABOUT TIME SPLITS
&
MY PREFERENCE OF APPROACH AND DESCENT OPTION

North Chimney vs. Chasm View rappels: Time from trailhead to base: In my ten times to the Diamond, I have approached via the North Chimney seven times and via the Chasm View rappels three times. I have been dialing down the approach and also learning some shortcuts from my more seasoned partners, so my times have been improving; my fastest time to Broadway Ledge has been 2:48, via the North Chimney, on my most recent time to the Diamond. I feel that 4 hours is a respectable approach time target for an average party. In my experience, the Chasm View rappels take about 45-60 minutes longer than the North Chimney approach, all other things being equal (partner, shortcuts, no route-finding errors). The main benefit to the Chasm View approach is to avoid the North Chimney, which can be somewhat of a bowling alley when there are several parties approaching the Diamond. In early season, there may be some ice and snow in the North Chimney requiring a bit of mixed climbing; however, usually this means the Chasm View rappels are wet and have a giant snowpatch at the base. So both options pose a challenge in the early season.

North Chimney vs. Chasm View rappels: My preference: In general, I prefer the North Chimney approach. It is faster and I like being fast. When there is no one above us in the North Chimney, it feels pretty safe. But when there are parties above, it feels a bit like Russian roulette, and at times like these I wonder if I wish I had taken the Chasm View rap approach. 

Time to climb route: For the eight routes I have climbed on the Diamond, it has taken anywhere between just under 4 hours to just over 8 hours to climb from Broadway Ledge to Table Ledge. I consider myself to be an efficient climber of a moderate pace, fast and athletic enough to climb two routes in one day (Pervertical+Casual) and summit Longs after a climb on the Diamond (Yellow Wall and Curving Vine and D7 days). But I am by no means crushing it, and I usually feel pretty challenged by the pitches on the Diamond.

There are various factors influencing my route times for my climbs of the Diamond. Minor influencers have been partner and route difficulty (partners have all been great and routes have all been of relatively comparable difficulty so these influencers probably have just a +/- 1 hour influence on time). More significant influencers have been time spent waiting for other parties on the route and wet vs. dry conditions. My slowest time by far was the first time I climbed Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish (8:10), but this was only the second time I had climbed the Diamond and we had to wait at every single belay for the pitch above us to clear out due to a few routes merging into ours at Crossover Ledge. My fastest times were on D7 (3:58) and the second time I climbed Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish (3:45), where we had no other parties on the route and the rock was completely dry and my partner and I shared an enjoyment of hyper efficiency.

Time from Table Ledge to trailhead: In my ten times to the Diamond, I have descended via the Diamond Rappel Route six times, descended from the summit via the Cables Route three times, and rapped D1 once (we were bailing from the top of Pitch 4). It seems to take me roughly 4-4.5 hours from Table Ledge to trailhead on a descent via the Diamond Rappel Route. Interestingly, on some of the times I have  descended from the summit via the Cables Route, it also took about 4.5 hours from Table Ledge to the trailhead, and this involved tagging the summit along the way! (Note that if you do descend the Cables Route, you cannot leave anything on Broadway Ledge.) My most recent time (3:11) was my fasted time from Table Ledge to the trailhead.



A FEW PHOTOS

A summer day on the Diamond.



Diamond as seen from HWY 7, March 2020. Cannot wait to get back up there...