Diamond Blitzed in Winter


On a warm, calm day last Friday, Jonny Copp and Josh Wharton raced up the Diamond of Colorado's 14,259-foot Longs Peak in 14 hours and 17 minutes, car to car. They left the parking lot at 4:30 a.m., hiked five miles of snowy trail to the base of Longs' East Face, climbed the eight-pitch D-7 route on the Diamond, and descended via the North Face and the long trail back to the car. Copp said the crux of the day was the North Chimney approach pitches, below the Diamond, where powder snow covered the slabby holds.The Diamond has only been climbed a few times in winter in a single day. In 1996, Topher Donahue and Craig Luebben made the first known one-day ascent, going car to car in 20 hours, 40 minutes, despite poor snow conditions and the short days of January. In March that same year, Kennan Harvey made a solo one-day ascent, going car to car in an amazing 17 hours. "We weren't really trying to smash records," Copp said. "We just kept a good pace."