Longs or Meeker? The Flying Dutchman is a couloir on Ships Prow, which divides Longs Peak from Mount Meeker. The views are dominated by the Diamond, but the rock is reminiscent of Mount Meeker. Gerry Roach and Richard Rossiter list our route under Meeker, while Bernard Gillett lists it under Longs. Fortunately, SummitPost allows objects to have multiple parents, and Longs and Meeker may have joint custody.
From the top
The Flying Dutchman rises from the west shore of Chasm Lake to meet Lambs Slide not far from the Loft. The couloir is filled with snow except for the crux, which consists, depending on the time of the year, of about 50 feet of snow, water ice, or rock. The elevation gain from Chasm Lake to the Loft is almost 1700 feet. The Flying Dutchman proper takes about 1000 of those feet. Given the exposure, it is hit by sunlight early in the morning. The best season for climbing is late Spring.
The scenery around the couloir is spectacular, the crux is interesting. All in all, a highly recommended climb. As with all snow climbs, difficulty depends on conditions. When the crux is fully melted, it reportedly goes at about 5.4. Roach says that Dreamweaver is more difficult than The Flying Dutchman, but in the conditions in which I found them, it turned out to be the other way around.
From the Longs Peak Trailhead, follow the East Longs Peak Trail to Chasm Junction. Take a left and hike to Chasm Meadow. The trail is partly snowbound in Spring. When this snow is frozen, ice axe or crampons are recommended. Early in the season, there is also avalanche danger. Surmount the short wall west of the Ranger Cabin to reach Chasm Lake. It pays off to arrive at Chasm Lake at sunrise to enjoy the alpenglow on the Diamond. Go round the north shore of the lake to the unmistakable base of the couloir.
The ice pitch
Head up the narrowing and steepening couloir to the crux that is close to the junction with Lambs Slide.
Summit of Ships Prow
Above the ice pitch the angle progressively relents until the couloir merges with Lambs Slide. Continue towards the Loft, leaving the summit tower of Ships Prow to your left. It is possible to downclimb The Flying Dutchman, and we saw a couple of rap slings in different places above the crux. However, the easiest descent is via the Loft Apron. It is also possible to descend Lambs Slide, or to continue to either Longs Peak or Mount Meeker from the Loft and follow any of the descent routes from there. In early season the Loft and Lambs Slide are prone to avalanches.
Above the crux
Our party of three climbed the crux with a doubled up 70 m rope. That was enough, but not by much, to connect convenient belay stations. Protection may be placed in the ice (we placed two 16 cm screws) or in the rock to the sides of the couloir. A light rack will suffice. Carry helmet, crampons, an ice tools and a mountaineering axe. (Or two tools if their shafts plunge well, or even two axes if they perform well on ice.)
Mountain Project's Flying Dutchman's page. The Flying Dutchman is described in the guidebooks by Gerry Roach (Colorado's Thirteeners as well as the older Rocky Mountain National Park), Bernard Gillett and Richard Rossiter.
"Fate is my only master. Destiny signs my checks."