Pikes Peak via Barr Trail
Peak: Pikes Peak
Route: Barr Trail
Distance: 26 Miles
Elevation Gain: 7,500'
Class: Class 1
Crew: emohr, jlarson630, Ginevra
Hike Time: 9 Hours
Barr Trail is a Roach *Classic* that climbs the world famous East Face of Pikes Peak. After several minutes of intense research, I was able to confirm that this route is not only the longest route offered on 14ers.com, but also has the single greatest elevation gain of any route on the site. The longest route I had done before this was the 13 miles, 7,500' gain of The Mizzelford. I had done the up half of Barr Trail before, and immediately put "Completing Barr Trail" on my bucket list. Luckily for me, I have a climbing partner who is equally as dumb as me, who needed Pikes to complete The Front Range 14ers. Jake(jlarson630) was more than willing to go for the full 26 of Barr. Things fell into place, and we planned our 26 mile adventure for September 8th, the day after The Pikes Peak Challenge. I wish I would have planned things better and actually done the PPC; it would have made the 78 miles that Jake, Ginevra, and I hiked that day a lot more poignant.
We arrived at the Barr Trail Parking Lot at 4:00AM, paid our $5 parking pass, and began our seemingly endless day. It was pretty surprising to see so many cars and people in the parking lot, but we didn't see anyone until we reached Barr Camp.
Team Masochism.. and that guy
When it says this route is Class 1, it really means the entire route. The first portion of the day is following several sets of switchbacks followed by flat, straight paths for 6.5 miles to Barr Camp. We arrived to a quiet, and empty Barr Camp 2.25 hours into the hike. We were making good time, and the sun was just about bright enough to put the headlamps away. We knocked out the first 1/4 of the hike in pretty good time, and we continued to march up the switchbacks above Barr Camp
Sun rising on the switchbacks above Barr Camp.
18,426 switchbacks... I counted
Knowing there were donuts only 810 vertical feet away from me was all the motivation I needed
Traversing one of the handful of switchbacks that crosses the the whole East Face
Felt like there were more than that...
At 9:00 AM, we arrived at the summit, 5 hours after started. The 13 miles up were getting pretty hard on my legs, but I knew I would be fine for the 13 down because A) I would get to use some different muscles going down and B) I would get to do some serious refueling at the summit gift shop
13 down, 13 to go!
Captain Colorado: Serving High Altitude Justice. Barr Trail was a "memorable" way for Jake to finish off The Front Range
The views from the summit are truly unlike any other 14er
I won't say Pikes Peak was my favorite summit, but I didn't get no cheeseburger or donuts on Blanca!
I've done some serious slogging in my day, but the final 13 miles of Barr Trail will forever be in the Slog Hall of Fame in my mind. The first 11 miles went by surprisingly easy and quickly, but the last 2 were just terrible. I think my legs have a maximum output of 30 miles in a day, so after mile 24, everything in my legs started to hurt. By the time I woke up the next day, it felt like I woke up from one of my high school football games. Absolutely brutal. #YOLO
Rolling clouds providing a break from the sun. We saw 20-25 people ascending this above timberline section during our descent
Clouds covering the boulder slopes
And just when we thought the highlights of the trip had already come and gone...
... Jake finds the most realistic rock buttocks our young eyes have ever seen! He's a modern day geoproctologist!
Rock Butt!!!! (The previous 15 miles were starting to get to us)
Farewell Rock Butt. Until... well I'm never doing Barr Trail again, so I'll never see you again. Glad I got the pictures
Looking South towards Lake Moraine
Oh yeah baby, Fall is on its way!
What are you looking at??
One last break before we begin that brutal final 6 miles
Barr Camp is in a league of it's own. Where else can you find such awesome hospitality ON a 14er??
At the point, my body stopped working. The final 2 miles were 2 of the longest, slowest, hardest miles I've ever hiked
Completing the full 26 miles in Chacos was almost as satisfying as watching Peyton throw 7 touchdowns against The Ravens. Almost
After 1 hour on the summit, and 9 hours of hiking, we made it back to the car at 2:00PM. To put it simply, this was a long, memorable day