I will describe the standard late summer Loft Route. Depending on your experience, distance (11.4 miles), elevation gain (4,511 ft.), route finding, and exposure could very well be issues throughout your day. In addition, this route usually sustains snow until late July, thus if attempting from spring into early summer be prepared for icy, exposed ledges.
Start at the Longs Peak Trailhead (9,405 ft.) and follow the trail up through the forest and finally out into the grassy basin east of Meeker. After 3.5 miles, turn left at the well-signed Chasm Meadows turnoff. This is a great place for photography, but don’t expect solitude because this seems to be the place everybody wants to be, for the view of Longs and Meeker is astounding. Continue another mile down to Chasm Meadows (11,580 ft.), and head straight for the broad trough between the Ships Prow and Meeker’s amazing north face.
Locate a climber’s trail and start your steep ascent up the 1800 ft. trough. Climb this narrowing slope until you reach some rock slabs at around 12,300 ft., do some class 3 scrambling and continue until you reach the point where some cliffs reside, blocking the rest of the route up this trough. At this point you must locate a 10 ft. ledge that traverses up to the left. Although this ledge is pretty wide the exposure is definitely there. After exiting this ledge continue class 3 scrambling for about another 100 ft. where you will need to locate another ledge. This ledge is about 2 ft. wide and angles up to the right and will escort you to the huge talus field below the loft. Once in the steep talus, take a mental picture of where you are. It will be very important to remember how to get back down to this spot on your later descent. Climb the talus directly up to the Loft, (13,460 ft.). Start your ascent up Meeker’s narrowing southeast ridge. After .25 mile you will attain the summit ridge, and you can see Meeker’s summit block about 50 yards away. The summit registry is located about 20 yards into the skinny ridge, thus proclaiming that you have summated this peak. But unfortunately for some the actual summit requires a little more effort. Continue the ridge on solid rock until you get to the base of the summit boulder. This boulder is safe for one visitor at a time. You might want to take off your pack and camera for the airy class 4 move to get up on the summit block. Some say the move is class 3 but I believe the taller you are the easier it will be to get up on that rock. I’m 5’10 and literally had to pull with all my strength to attain this perch. Of course dropping down off of it is quite an interesting thing as well. The summit block offers huge exposure to the north as you peer down Meeker’s great north face all the way down to Chasm Meadows 1,800 ft. below. I have submitted a picture of this view. The view of Longs from here is interesting as well.
Be prepared to stay overnight. Always carry more food and water than you think you will need.
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