longs peak keyhole route
A cairn on Longs Peak's Keyhole Route; (photo/Rick McCharles via Flickr)

RMNP Keyhole Route Reportedly Reopened After Body Recovered on Ledges

A man died above the Ledges on Colorado’s Longs Peak. Officials closed the Keyhole Route while working to remove his body over the weekend, but they reopened it Sunday night, according to reports.

The National Park Service (NPS) announced Sept. 17 that the popular Keyhole Route to the Longs Peak summit was closed pending removal of a deceased male’s remains.

The agency said everything between the Keyhole and the summit (14,259 feet) would remain closed Sunday and “possibly” Monday, pending updates. As of this writing, the NPS had posted no new developments.

However, the Estes Park Trail Gazette separately reported that recovery operations concluded around 5 p.m. Sunday night and the route has reopened.

The Keyhole Route is the busiest conduit to the Longs Peak summit. It exists on the tipping point between a hike and a serious mountaineering route — exposure characterizes the upper sections.

After hikers reach the narrow “Keyhole” at around 13,000 feet, they soon encounter the Ledges. A moderately steep ascent with high fall consequences awaits.

The route is also popular among climbers on The Diamond as well as hikers pursuing fastest known times (FKTs). Accidents there are not uncommon. We will update this story with any official word from the NPS.

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.