Man’s body recovered on Keyhole Route of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

The iconic Keyhole at Longs Peak. The Keyhole Route, meant for technical climbers, can become treacherous due to ice and snow, with sharp ledges and falling rock.
Harley Van Hauen/Courtesy Photo

On Saturday, Sept. 17, recovery operations began for a deceased male above the Ledges on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Due to operations, the Keyhole Route was temporarily closed at the Keyhole to the summit of Longs Peak.  The closure has now been lifted, when the man’s body was recovered at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday.

A group of hikers discovered the body on Saturday, after they had passed over the Keyhole at Longs Peak. Park officials have stated that further information regarding the incident will be released when the investigation is completed. 

Fall conditions means there may be ice and snow on the route to the summit, especially above the Ledges. On Friday, there was snowfall on the top of Longs Peak at the Keyhole route. The route is 16 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of nearly 5,000 feet.

On their webpage about hiking Longs Peak via the Keyhole route, the Park writes, “It is a climb that crosses enormous sheer vertical rock faces, often with falling rocks, requiring scrambling, where an unroped fall would likely be fatal. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs.

“For most of the year, climbing Longs Peak is in winter conditions, which requires winter mountaineering experience and the knowledge and use of specialized equipment. Disregard for the mountain environment any time of year has meant danger, injury and even death.” 

For more information about Longs Peak and updates to the investigation, please visit

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