Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Post Date:  06/19/2012
Date Climbed:   06/16/2012
Posted By:  HarknessHooligans


 The Gentle Giant - Crags  

Start: 5:30am
Summit: 9:40am


In summary, there is no snow. This is an excellent hike even though you can drive to the top. I was surprised with how big and beautiful this peak was. I am nick-naming Pikes Peak, The Gentle Giant, because it is such a big mountain with rolling hills on one side and some exposure on the other. It doesn't look very intense from Co Springs, yet it has a great amount of elevation gain and makes you still work for your reward. If starting from Manitou Springs, you gain over 7,000 ft! Pikes is definitely one big Gentle Giant.

We have relatives that live in Co Springs that we haven't seen for over 2 years. This seemed like a great opportunity to visit and quickly bag a peak. We only did the ascent and had our Uncle pick us up at the top so we could spend more time with family this past weekend.

We picked up our cousin in Denver and headed down to Co Springs Friday evening. We woke up early to find our Aunt cooking us a full course breakfast and 4am! Never thought I would get to eat warm French Toast, bacon and orange juice the morning before I hit a 14er trail. It was awesome! We left the house at 4:30am and got to the Crags trailhead and started hiking by 5:30am.

After you see the 3 pipes, the small 664 Devils Playground turnoff comes up quick. Dont miss it.
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Some photos of the first part of the hike.
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Loved being above the clouds. Very cool to watch

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You gain some good elevation and eventually pop up over the hill and are granted with your first view of Pikes and an amazing valley. It was so vast and green.
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Pikes peeking over the hill

We hiked past the Devils Playground. This is an excellent area to take advantage of a faster pace. The trail is very wide and flat.
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After you pass the cool rock formations, you will finally encounter the road. It wasn't as weird as I thought it would be to see a paved road on a 14er hike. From here on out the road will be in your view most of the time. It really didn't bother me because I thought the hike was still so pretty and unique.
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Any takers?

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We came to a really cool lookout point where we stopped and relaxed for a good 15 minutes and tried to take in all the beauty. The cliffs on this back side were incredible.
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Resting on the wall

Follow the trail and keep a lookout for cairns. We actually lost the trail at one point and followed some hikers across the road again. You shouldn't have the cross the road a 2nd time. Stay left of the road from here on out.
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The trail disappears here. Follow your way through this area and make sure to stay off the tundra. There are plenty of rocks to make your way across

Keep a look out for cairns. They are tricky to find sometimes. The trail eventually comes back after you have boulder hopped across that field.
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Finally you will start up the rocky peak. This was an excellent trail! Kudos to those who created it. The rocks are stable and most of them were flat (like walking up stairs). I was impressed. It was very hiker friendly considering that the entire last part is hiking on rocks and boulders. It was quick and painless and before we knew it we reached the top.
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Changing up the summit picture

And of course I couldn't come all this way without also concurring the summit sign at the top.
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We all felt great. Our ascent took us about 4 hours. As weird as it is to reach the summit and find a mass of visitors, we rather enjoyed spending time in the summit house drinking hot chocolate. I got a cute souvenir for my little 2 year old son who was waiting for me back at the Springs. It was a perfect trip. We were glad for this time around that we had transportation off the mountain because a storm rolled in, as the weather had predicted, that brought with it some lightning and hail.

Overall, Pikes Peak was amazing. Before hiking, it had not been desirable to me. Pikes proved me wrong and showed me how beautiful its slopes are. You shouldn't let the idea of a road to the top stop you from hiking this mountain. It is still a great hike!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
SolarAlex


nice
06/19/2012 14:28
planning on hiking this route one day next week, great pictures!


FireOnTheMountain


Is that
06/19/2012 16:48
Ryan Cerise?????


HarknessHooligans


FireOnTheMountain
06/19/2012 17:54
Yeah! Good guess. How do you know him?


huffy13



Very nice!
06/19/2012 18:07
I agree that many folks under-appreciate Pikes for some reason...I thought it was a great hike with some amazing views. especially from the Crags campground route.


FireOnTheMountain


re:
06/19/2012 19:51
Ryan and I graduated in the same class from Cheyenne Mtn HS. Just recognized him. Nice job on the Pike!


jsdratm


re:
06/19/2012 20:32
The Crags route is really cool. It would be nice to take some time to explore the subpeaks around Pikes.


kansas


Great Report
06/20/2012 01:35
I have really enjoyed Pikes both times I've been on it for its uniqueness, great peak that too many look down their nose at.


Zol


Great Pics
06/30/2012 18:59
My buddy and I were planning on this trail in two weeks but with the fire we may have to put it off for another time. I enjoyed reading your report and looking at the pics.



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