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. There are over 30 routes on the Diamond.

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

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. As of August 2019, I've climbed the Diamond via six routes. In chronological order:

Photo overlay of the routes I've climbed. Click to enlarge.



APPROACH & DESCENT OPTIONS FOR THE DIAMOND 

There are 2 main methods of Approach:
1. 
Chasm Lake + NORTH CHIMNEY to Broadway Ledge.
2. CHASM VIEW RAPPELS to Broadway Ledge. 

Approach Option 1: NORTH CHIMNEY

Loose 5.4
           
There are more random photos taken during this approach in my trip reports for Ariana and Curving Vine.
Approach Option 2: CHASM VIEW RAPPELS

Chasm View to Broadway Ledge: 3 double-rope rappels
               
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.

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. 
2. From Table Ledge, scramble up Kiener's Route (3rd and a few moves of 4th) to the summit (or you can climb some 5.10-5.12 route above Table Ledge to the top rim of the Diamond as we did in this trip report, but these routes are not climbed as much). From the summit, descend via the CABLES ROUTE (3rd class scramble and 2 single rope rappels) to Chasm View. Regain the trail in the Boulderfield. 

Note 1: It is possible to get from Chasm Lake Cirque up to the Boulderfield/Chasm View area via CAMEL GULLY or GILLETTE GULLY (more technical than Camel). This 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. See my photo overlays for the locations of these gullies. Disclaimer: I have never actually done one of these gullies, so my beta is limited, but I wanted to at least mention their existence since they are nice to know about.

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 Dagger, and Curving Vine.
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 descent to Chasm View is 3rd with 2 single rope raps. Intersect trail in Boulderfield.
     
There are more random photos taken during this descent in my trip report for Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish.
Descent Connector Route: CAMEL GULLY or GILLETTE GULLY

(I've never done this route, but it is good to know about)
   



TIME STAT COMPARISON FOR ALL OF MY CLIMBS ON THE DIAMOND

As of August 2019, I've climbed on the Diamond four times and via five routes. The following table gives our time stats for our climb of the Yellow Wall+Forrest Finish (the trip report on this page), and also summarizes/compares the time stats for the other routes/approaches/descents I've done on the Diamond.

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.

Climb 1: 
Ariana
 

(Aug 6, 2014)

Climb 2:
Yellow Wall+Forrest Finish+Kiener's

(July 9, 2018)  
Climbs 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 route: 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: 5:04 pm (1:44)
Trailhead: 7:50 pm 
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:45)
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 route: 8:10 (includes ~2 hours of waiting at belays due to other parties in route))

Summit (via Kiener's Route): 5:40 pm 
Chasm View (via Cables Route): 6:30 pm
Trailhead: 10:30 pm 
(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 
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 5:14)
Climb 5:
D7 Pitches 1&2 + Black Dagger

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

(Aug 13, 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 (1:50)
Trailhead: 6:06 pm 
(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 (1:22)
Trailhead: 9:31 pm 
(Summit to trailhead: 5:14)
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 4:31)

Boulder: 10:30 pm 


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 five times to the Diamond, I have approached via the North Chimney twice  and via the Chasm View rappels three times. Based on my times so far, getting from the trailhead to the base of the route on Broadway Ledge takes me just over 4 hours via the North Chimney approach and about 4:45 via the Chasm View approach. I have friends who do these approaches in just over 3 hours, but they hike much faster than my body is comfortable with (and they know some shortcuts I do not yet have dialed). I feel that 4 hours is a respectable approach time target for an average party. According to my approach times, the approach via the Chasm View rappels takes roughly a half hour longer than the approach via the North Chimney. However, I feel that the approach via the Chasm View rappels is over more mellow terrain and is overall slightly safer than the North Chimney. The North Chimney can be somewhat of a bowling alley when there are several parties approaching the Diamond. 

North Chimney vs. Chasm View rappels: My preference: My personal choice of Chasm View Rappels or North Chimney comes down to the season/conditions as well as the overall plan for the day. Early in the summer when the North Chimney is wet or icy, I would opt for the Chasm View Rappels. Later in the season, I would opt for the slightly-quicker North Chimney. I would also opt for the Chasm View rappels if I planned on summiting and wanted to do an up and over sort of summit day rather than downclimbing Kiener's Route to the Diamond Rappel route.

Time to climb route: For the six routes I have climbed on the Diamond, it has taken anywhere between 4.5 hours to 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 days). But I am by no means crushing it, and I usually feel pretty challenged by the pitches on the Diamond and never feel like I am cruising up any of my leads.

There are also external 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 that I haven't felt these have a huge (+/- 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 on Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish, but 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 time was on Pervertical, where we had no other parties on the route and the rock was completely dry (in fact, we got back to Broadway ledge just after noon, and decided we had enough time to run up the Casual Route for a two-route day!).

Time from Table Ledge to trailhead: In my five times to the Diamond, I have descended via the Diamond Rappel Route four times and descended from the summit via the Cables Route once. It seems to take me roughly 4.5 hours from Table Ledge to trailhead on a descent via the Diamond Rappel Route.  For the one time I descended via the Cables Route, it took about one hour longer to get from Table Ledge to the trailhead, but this involved tagging the summit along the way. I have summited one of the times that I descended the Diamond Rappel Route (to get back to Table Ledge we downclimbed upper Kiener's Route from the summit), so I also have an idea of the faster means of descent from the summit: From the summit itself, the Cables Route is actually faster (~25 minutes for my time comparison) than downclimbing Kiener's Route and doing the Diamond Rappels (but to use the Cables Route option, you don't want to have any gear left on Broadway Ledge).

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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:02 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:02 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:02 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:04 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:06 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 4:53 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 4:54 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 4:54 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 4:54 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM
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Steph Abegg,
Aug 12, 2019, 5:03 PM