Chasm Lake is listed as a must-do classic Colorado hike, worthy of an early Saturday start.
The hike starts at the extremely popular Longs Peak trailhead, so we were quite surprised to find the lot only a little over half full when we arrived at 830am on a beautiful Saturday – one of the joys of being here off-season.
At 8.8 miles and ~2500 feet of elevation gain, its strenuous rating keeps a lot of the casual hikers away in anything other than perfect summer conditions. Add in internet reports of sketchy conditions crossing the traverse before the lake, and we were quite pleased with the overall lack of people on the trail.
Just another typical Colorado mountain trail to start – thick forest, packed snowy trail, and deep snow everywhere around.
We passed a twenty-something on our way up wearing Crocs with microspikes. He said the footwear worked great but his feet were wet and cold due to all the sloppy snow. Crazy kids.
Things change quickly as you break treeline around 11,000 feet, the wind picks up, and the snow starts to come down. These mountains create their own weather, and it’s always an adventure.
Storm Setting In
Crazy Wind Gusts
The storm brought plenty of wind along with it
And with mountain weather – it comes and it goes. 30 minutes later, and we’re back under blue skies.
Starting To Break
After giving Colette a quick primer on self-arrest in the event of a slide down the mountain, we cross the traverse. Despite the internet reports about it being sketchy, it’s quite fun if you take your time and watch your footing.
Chasm Lake Traverse
Not as sketchy as mentioned
About halfway across I asked Colette if she was doing okay and if the exposure was making her nervous. Her reply – I didn’t know I was supposed to be nervous until you just mentioned it…
The elevation gain and slip sliding in the soft snow is totally worth it when you scramble up the final headwall and you see Chasm Lake tucked beneath The Diamond on Longs Peak east face – it really is amazing.
Break out the camp stove and throw together some Campers Cheezy Couscous while we soak up the views and stay tucked in out of the wind, then it’s time to do the whole thing in reverse.
The Fun Is Over
Time to Head Back Down