RT Distance: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 4600'
Follow Kane's excellent Approach description for the Loft Route
to Chasm Meadows. When the trail turns right to ascend to Chasm Lake, leave it and hike deeper into the meadows to around 11,800'. Highlights of this route include views of Longs that are pure spectacle
and an interesting scramble across Meeker's summit ridge.
Meeker's beautiful north face is directly above you. Scan the northeast ridge's crest from right to left. As the ridge drops, you'll see a couple of weaknesses in the face before the cliff band disappears entirely. The Iron Gates
route is the right-hand of these two gullies, and is visible at the far left of this photo
. The trough that runs through the Iron Gates actually descends all the way to Chasm Meadows, but this may not be immediately apparent from below.
Pass between the dramatic Iron Gates
, which are like smaller versions of Meeker's famed Flying Buttress
. Don't forget to keep looking back at Longs
! Continue up the gully to its top, passing more intriguing rock formations
. The final 20-30' requires some easy third-class scrambling before dumping you off on the northeast ridge's crest.
Climb the ridge crest for a half-mile and 850' on class 2 talus to reach Meeker's eastern summit. This summit is alternately known as the summit of Meeker Ridge. Take a quick break, and scope out the ridge
that connects this summit to Meeker's true summit. The initial downclimb has one tricky move that involves swinging yourself around a boulder with some serious air below your overhanging rear, and this move can be a little nerve-racking with the winds that the Longs Peak area is known for. Once past this move, you still have to negotiate this ridge's knife-edge
. While not as lengthy as Capitol Peak's knife edge, I'd say it's crest is sharper. Once across the knife-edge, make your way up to Meeker's summit, pulling a fun third-class bouldering move to get on top.
Crampons and an ice axe would be a necessity for an early season climb.