- Photo by: Guide Colin Wann
Rising directly from The Boulderfield at 12,500′ and the most direct line to the summit, The North Face, or Cables Route, is the historic route to the summit. Adventurous travelers in the early 1900’s would take horses to The Boulderfield and climb The North Face with the help from a large steel cable attached to the rock by eye-bolts. These days, climbers hike from the Longs Peak trailhead at 9,500′ themselves, often stopping to camp in The Boulderfield. Climbed in good style and with the use of modern climbing gear, the route is rated 5.4, when dry (or M2 in winter conditions). After completing the technical climbing, the route traverses up and left as it tiptoes above The Diamond to the summit. This is a superb introduction to high mountaineering, with a wide variety of terrain and skill sets to learn.
Season Year Round
Elevation Gain 5,000
1 Day trip: If attempting this mountain in a day, you should plan on leaving the Trailhead between 2-3am. This timing usually allows you to gain the summit and descend from the upper mountain before any weather develops. At 13 miles and 5,000ft gain/loss The North Face Route is mostly trail hiking, capped by almost 2,000 feet of route finding and a dash of technical climbing. It’s 5.5 miles to The Boulderfield and a view of the summit. After reaching the amazing Chasm View, across from The Diamond, the technical climbing begins. Your day is only half way over at the summit and a long hike out awaits, so after enjoying the summit for a short time, you will reverse the route.
2 Day trip: If attempting this mountain in 2 days, departure from the trailhead could be as late as 10am. With 3,000 feet of gain over 5.5 miles to camp at 12,500′ you should bring only what you need and come well rested, fed and hydrated. This hike will commonly take people 5-7 hours with overnight packs and needs to be paced effectively so as not to jeopardize your summit day. Camping with the summit in view, at 12,500′ in The Boulderfield is guaranteed to be a memorable night. Getting to sleep as early as possible sets you up for being somewhere amazing at sunrise. In the morning of day 2, all you’ll need to do is get some food a hit the trail, leaving camp set up and going for the summit with a small, lightweight pack.
Boulder is located 25 miles northwest of Denver, and about 43 miles from Denver International Airport. Meeting locations vary depending on the time of year and the class/trip, your guide will provide you with this information. There are plenty of accommodations and amenities located in Boulder, however camping is not readily available. If you have any additional questions your Colorado climbing adventure, please contact our call (303) 532-5184.VIEW PDF
Conditions can be favorable for climbing at nearly any point during the year, but for most objectives, better climbing conditions occur in spring, summer, and autumn. Spring has a higher likelihood of precipitation. Summer afternoon temperatures can climb into the 90’s and isolated afternoon thunderstorms are common. In the autumn, climbers tend to find the most reliable conditions. Winter has many spells of great climbing weather, but it is difficult to plan in advance, as the Front Range can also receive full Rocky Mountain snowstorms and cold fronts. Because cliffs are dramatically affected by sun and wind exposure (or lack thereof), please refer to your JHMG guide for route or area recommendations. Suggestions are to provide our guests with the most enjoyable experience.
During summer months, even if the day dawns clear, all climbers should pack a rain jacket for the occasional surprise afternoon thundershower. Synthetic clothing is strongly advised at many times of the year, and is almost always preferable to cotton. Comfort levels can vary quite a bit depending on where you are climbing within a given climbing area, so please ask us for our clothing recommendations based on your planned climb/class and if you are unfamiliar with the area. It is common for us to suggest an early start to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
Objective Dependent – Salewa footwear is available at Jackson Hole Mountain Guides for rent. JHMG also carries a selection of Five Ten Rock shoes for rent.
- Sticky Rubber Approach Shoes: required for all mid-summer climbs. Trips before early July require a crampon compatible mountain boot – Guide Pick: Salewa Mountain Trainer or Salewa Wildfire/Pro
- Rock Shoes for technical rock routes
- Socks: 2 pair: sized for your boots and blister prevention
- Synthetic/Wool Long Underwear Top
- Synthetic T-shirt – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Wicked Light T
- Insulating Jacket: lightweight down or synthetic – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket
- Soft Shell: fleece or pile
- Rain Jacket: waterproof/breathable with hood. Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- Plasmic Jacket
- Synthetic/Wool Long Underwear Bottom
- Hiking Short or Pant for approach – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear – Chocksone Midweight Short
- Synthetic Climbing Pant – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- Chockstone Pant
- Rain Pant – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Pant
- Hat: lightweight to medium weight warm hat – sleek enough to be worn under a helmet
- Gloves: one lightweight to medium weight pair – synthetic or fleece material. If snow route, shell also recommended.
- Gaiters: only until mid-July
On the trail
- Alpine Climbing Pack – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- Diretissima 46. Internal frame only. 45 to 55 L for 2 day trip. 50 to 60 L for 4 day trip. Large enough to fit all your personal gear plus ten pounds of food and water. Some trips will require additional Summit Pack for Technical Rock Climbs – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear
- Sleeping Bag Liner
- Water Bottles (2-3 L/Qt.) or H2O hydration system
- Water Treatment tablets
- Lightweight Bowl
- Insulated Mug
- Spoon and Fork
- Stuff Sacks: zip lock bags
- Dark Sunglasses
- Extra Contact Lenses
- Sun Hat or Visor
- Sunscreen (35+SPF)
- Lip Balm
- Insect Repellant (until early August)
- Headlamp and Fresh Batteries
- First Aid – minimal: blister care, analgesic, etc.
- Lunch, snacks & drink mix.
- Misc Items: minimal: light knife, camera,
bandana, camp suds, wash cloth, etc.
Recommended & Optional Items
- Trekking Poles
- Camera and batteries, spare memory card
- Insoles: custom or after market
Cold Weather Considerations:
Early and late season temperatures require warmer clothing. You may consider additional clothing if you get cold easily or if it is unusually cold or windy.
- Balaclava or neck gaiter
- Extra down vest or jacket
- Expedition weight long underwear
- Extra gloves
**Jackson Hole Mountain Guides supplies all the rock climbing gear, harnesses, helmets, locking carabiners & belay/rappel devices, crampons, and ice axes. However, you are welcome to bring your own equipment. Please coordinate with our office for gear checks. Backpacks, rock shoes, and boots can all be rented in our Jackson office.
For your safety and comfort, bring synthetic and or natural fiber clothing for insulation. Cotton is NOT recommended and down must be kept dry. Clothing should be able to layer without encumbering movement.
For a printable version of this list, please click below:VIEW PDF
Talk To Us
Here you’ll find online tools and information about joining us for a trip of a lifetime! To sign up for a trip, or if you have any questions, please call us. Listed on the left side of these pages are links that you may find useful, including printable forms and policies concerning a trip with JHMG. We encourage ALL prospective climbers to read our Preparation advice. Our office can help place you with others who are looking to climb.