Also known as the Mountaineer’s Route or “Grand Course” of the mountain. This popular climb was pioneered by Swiss guide Walter Kiener in the winter of 1925. It is a classic, moderate alpine climb.
Conditions can vary depending on the season. June through September are typically the best months for an ascent of Kiener’s. However, winter and spring ascents are not uncommon. Early summer provides firm snow giving way to sections of ice later in the season.
After following the trail to Chasm Lake, we’ll wind through the boulders on the north side of the lake and head towards the famous Lamb’s Slide snow section named after Elkanah Lamb. Lamb was one of the first professional mountain guides of Longs Peak and infamously slid and survived an unplanned decent of it, hence the name. We’ll rope up here, put on our crampons and ready our ice axes. Lambs slide gains about 1000 feet to the start of the Broadway traverses, and is approximately 50 degrees in slope.
Broadway is essentially a narrow ledge system with unparalleled exposure some 800’ down to Mills glacier below. One can walk and climb these ledges with the security of a rope. In good conditions it is easy scrambling with awesome positioning on the mountain. You’ll pass the super exposed “step around”, climb through the chimneys, and gain access to the upper reaches of the East Face. Easier scrambling leads to the top. You’ll descend via the North Face which involves easy walking, down climbing, and a couple of short rappels. We’ll hike out through the boulder field descending through the treeline back to the trail head having literally completed a traverse of the mountain!
In summer, the route is commonly done in a long day, though a high level of fitness is needed. An overnight camp at the base of the East Face is another option. In winter heavy snows may turn step kicking into trail breaking.
Note* – Lamb’s slide affords some excellent skiing when the conditions are good and avalanche danger is low.