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.

Peaceful Sounds

Peaceful Sounds
Taking a break by a stream running down the mountainside.


Lightning Hazard

Lightning Hazard
It’s pure sunshine, nothing to worry about!


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.


Proper Footwear

Proper Footwear
I’ve been doing it all wrong for all these years!


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

Storm Setting In
The minute we broke treeline, it started dumping snow on us. Longs Peak is starting to white out here.


Crazy Wind Gusts


The storm brought plenty of wind along with it


More Storms

More Storms
More storm clouds keep building behind Mount Lady Washington.


And with mountain weather – it comes and it goes. 30 minutes later, and we’re back under blue skies.


Starting To Break

Starting To Break
The snow starts to abate, as Colette checks in to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.


Blue Skies

Blue Skies
With the crazy winds up here, the snowstorm blew through quickly and we’re under blue skies again.


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

Chasm Lake Traverse
In winter conditions, the traverse is not for those with a fear of exposure.


Traverse Video


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…


Narrow Footing

Narrow Footing
This shows how narrow the footing is across the traverse.


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.


The Scramble

The Scramble to Chasm Lake
Finally a short scramble up the final headwall to Chasm Lake.


Longs Lunch

Longs Lunch at Chasm Lake
A perfect lunch spot beneath The Diamond on Longs Peak.


The Reward

The Reward
After the short scramble, this amazing view is your reward!


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


Monkey Back Down

Monkey Back Down from Chasm Lake
It looks a bit more awkward going back down the scramble section.


The Ships Prow

The Ships Prow above Chasm Lake
Headed back down to the traverse, with the Ships Prow prominent in the background.


Mush Slush

Mush Slush
The sun turns the traverse softer and softer as the day goes on.


Final Stretch

Final Stretch
It’s good to almost be back on normal footing.