Mountaineering tends to draw men and women not easily deflected from their goals....we had all been subjected to levels of misery and peril that would have sent more balanced individuals packing for home long ago. To get this far one had to have an uncommonly obdurate personality. -Into Thin Air
After 21 miles of hiking in one day and still with 5 more miles to complete to get back to my car, I kept thinking about the aforementioned quote. At that point in my trekk I asked myself, "what compels a person to drive to Manitou Springs at midnight, sleep in the back of a car for a couple of hours, hike up a trail in the dark before sunrise, and climb 26 miles in one day alone?"
Ascent Party: Stiffler_from_Denver
Start Time: 4:22 am
Back at Car: 7:15 pm
elevation gain: 7500 feet
distance: 26 miles
I left Denver at 11:30 on Tuesday evening and arrived at the Pikes trailhead parking lot at 12:30. There were already 4 other cars there. I had set my alarm for 4:30 am, although I woke up around 3:30 with nervous anticipation of a long day ahead. At that point there were a few other people gearing up and hitting the trail by lamplight. This would be my first solo ascent.
first light over Colorado Springs from Barr Trail
the view from where I stopped for breakfast an hour after beginning
about 2.5 miles from the trailhead the trail winds under/around these boulders
under the boulders
That's a long way left to get to the top!
I made it to Barr Camp, which is 7 miles from the trailhead, around 7:30 am. I enjoyed some cheese, salami, and a bagal on one of Barr camp's picnic tables. I shared my bagel with a friendly critter. The I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee and friendly conversation with fellow hikers and the attendant at Barr Camp. It was a welcomed break. I also refilled my water bottles with sterilized water from the stream at the camp.
Watson the chipmunk sharing my snack
delicious cup of percolated coffee at Barr Camp
gnarly branches jabbing the blue sky
I put on some warrior face paint just above the A-frame to give me some motivation on my solo ascent.
just passed the A-frame shelter and above treeline
1 mile to go
start of the golden stairs
looking back at the switch backs
looking back to the peak on my descent
I stopped at Barr camp to refill and sterilize more water. I got a change to meet the owners who were sitting infront of Barr Camp chatting to fellow hikers. The last 5 miles of my hike were brutal. It seemed as every muscle in my legs were giving up. There were a lot of runners going up and down the Barr trail around two miles left to the parking lot. I got back to my car around 7:15 pm, just under 15 hours after leaving. My first solo ascent was a success. After 26 miles in one day, I feel like other 14er trips won't be as difficult.