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North America, United States, Colorado, Front Range, Longs Peak, East Face

Longs Peak, East Face. On 5 July 1952, your correspondent, in company with his brother, Hassler Whitney, and Robert W. Craig, stumbled onto what proved to be a new route on the much studied East Face of Longs Peak. Approaching the foot of this impressive 1700-foot wall in the area between the Field Chimney (“Second Chimney”) and the North Chimney, we noticed a deep crack running three quarters of the way up to that happy pastoral break in the face known as “Broadway.” It was tempting to have at least a feel of it even though the mode of exit at the top was not obvious. The crack proved to vary from two to five feet in width between its smooth lateral walls. The floor was quite steep, but here and there loose rocks clung to it, while treacherous slabs occasionally almost blocked the passage. Twice, obstructing chockstones brought to my shoulders a familiarity with the soles of Craig’s boots, but any dirt deposited there could not last long in the cold drip originating in a patch of snow still clinging to Broadway at this early season.

Eventually we were forced out onto the face to the left, where the climbing proved difficult and highly exposed. Characteristic of this face are the sparsity and stinginess of the holds, the downward sloping of the rock, and the tendency to flake. Though there were but two good rope lengths to the safety of the snow patch above us, at least three hours were required to negotiate this delicate stretch. Eleven pitons were needed, and several of them we un- blushingly used in direct aid. At least once the strain on my shivering fingers was relieved by the strong rope under my shoulders. Once Bob had us in the safety of Broadway, we were glad to take the shortest and easiest route back to the Chasm Lake Shelter Cabin—the second time that Hassler and I had been forced to forego at the halfway mark the pleasures of the summit.

Under dry conditions later in the season this climb would be far less unpleasant and would require less use of pitons, but it is not likely to be recommended by any of the present party. For the ambitious expert the nearby Stettner Ledges are much to be preferred.

R. S. Whitney