Since I can literally see Pikes Peak from my house this summit had been on my to-do list for a pretty long time. I decided to go for it today even with a shaky weather report. I left my house in the Springs at 0515 and got to the trailhead at 0620. After running down my final check list and using the TH bathroom I took off at 0630. The first hour or so of the hike is a nice quiet jaunt through the woods.
There is one part where you can get confused. You will come to an opening with a seemingly obvious trail right in front of you. Do not take that trail. Go to the right where you will see a small bridge across a stream. Someone has posted a small piece of paper on a tree to direct you. During the entire hike if you see signs that say you're headed towards Devils Playground you're headed in the right direction.
GO RIGHT here towards the small stake that reads 664 DEV PLY
I knew I was moving at a brisk pace but looking at the incoming weather I could tell that if I didn't hurry I wasn't going to be able to summit. (before all the Smokey the Bears chime in keep reading)
Finally I was able to get a glimpse of the summit. I read on the route description that I probably had about 2.5 miles or so left (not sure though). Looking back west I saw clouds coming but they looked entirely of the lighter looking clouds and not storm clouds. I saw no danger in these since I had hiked through them before, so I continued on.
the clouds covering the summit
The clouds started really rolling in and making things quite cold and difficult to navigate. I could see the daily battle of Sun vs. Cloud raging above me, and with my bet placed on Sun, I moved on. As you can see in the picture below, when I got to the summit I was sweaty and hungry, but very much still alive.
I walked into the restaurant on the summit and soaked up the heat pumping through the building. At that point a hot chicken sandwhich and french vanilla cappuccino were priceless, so I paid the $25 to warm me up (not really, more like $8 but you get the point). After sitting and warming up for a good 15 minutes the Sun vs. Cloud battle was leaning more towards the Sun so I stepped out to take a few pictures from the summit.
Looking towards the west I could see clouds coming towards Pikes summit once again. This time, they did not look like friendly clouds, or even clouds that you give a head nod to, or even clouds you wanna walk on the same side of the street as, so I hustled out to the parking lot to find a car going down. Yes, I hitched a ride in the back of an extremely generous man's pick-em-up truck. The very gracious man drove me to the Devil's Playground which probably cut off a good chunk of minutes from my hike back down.
clouds coming, and fast
After seeing the clouds in the picture above I ran for the next 30 minutes or so to get back down to timberline. About a 20 minutes hike from the Devils Playground, at almost the exact time I took the last picture, a group asked me if I thought they would make it. The thing with Pike's Peak is, there is a shelter at the top, but thats no guarantee for anything. I told them the clouds would probably get to them before they got to the Peak, and being that the Devil's Playground is named for lightening jumping around between the rocks during storms, I told them that they might want to consider turning around. On one of my first 14er hikes a wise man told me, "Going to the summit is optional, going home is NOT." I left them with this advice and continued my run on down the mountain. I got back to the TH at 1140. The hike took me 5 hours and 10 minutes. It is a great hike for a day hike and is all Class 1 except for a small amount of Class 2 right before the summit. Thanks for reading!