| Pikes Peak- Northwest Slopes winter edition
This past summer, I was a staff member at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I decided to come back during the winter to experience Colorado in the winter time. I had my heart set on Pikes Peak via from the beginning, since it is the highest peak
in the camp area.
I started out at 6:30am and began the trek up the road to the Crags/Devils Playground trailhead.
I had heard about hydration bladders freezing in cold weather, and sure enough in the first half mile, mine froze. I was able to squeeze a little out at a time, but I had to resort to eating snow for most of the climb. This, as one can imagine, does not satisfy one's thirst. But God certainly gave me strength, I still don't know how I made it with minimal water other than by His power.
The trail from the Crags campground is well traveled and packed. Snowshoes were not necessary, even though I had them. Once I reached treeline, I picked the path with little to no snow, which proved to be good at the moment but not so good once I reached the ridge. I realized I had not reached the saddle, but instead was about 1/4 mile below it. So I had to backtrack across the ridge to the saddle and from there I took the trail to the Devils Playground parking area.
As soon as I reached the road, I took that the rest of the way up. It may have added more distance, but certainly was easier. At this point I was taking a break every 10 minutes. With a heavy pack and only having been at altitude for 4 days prior (I'm from Virginia) the breaks were necessary. I met a ranger who was looking at Bighorn sheep in the distance and she let me have a look through here binoculars which was really cool.
From the time I reached the ridge to about a mile from the summit, there was ZERO wind, despite NOAA's forecast for a 10-15mph wind. Again, God's faithfulness was very much apparent. Even at the summit, there was only a mild breeze. I reached the summit at 11:00am and crashed in a booth in the restaurant and drank heavily from there water fountains. I knew it would be wise to get a ride down, given my exhaustion. I was hiking by myself, which also put me at risk if I were to fall on the rather treacherous slopes down. I met a very nice Irish man who readily agreed to take me into Woodland Park. We had a grand time talking about mountain climbing, Colorado, etc. Once into Woodland Park I was able to call someone at camp and have them come pick me up. I still can't believe what happened today. God be praised.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):