| Pikes: A photographic journey
Trekkers: Darrin (kansas) and me
Route: Crags, plus a little detour
Trailhead: Crags - new starting point
Elevation Gain: ~4,300'
With the train and the road to the summit, this has been a peak I have been "putting off for later". I took my Mom up the train a decade ago, so I knew what to expect, tons of tourists milling around like oxygen deprived drunks. Looking at previous TR's for the Crags route, I also wasn't enthused. It didn't look very interesting or photogenic. How surprised I was to find this wasn't the case! Or maybe, this being my first peak in a vastly different area, in almost a year, the "new-ness" of the view inspired me.
We camped at the new trailhead, comforted by the sign saying it was the start to the Crags trail. We didn't think too much about route finding or navigating as we went up the trail, we thought it would be obvious, it's Pikes after all! But after the new trail section meets up with the old, the log bridge was missed. Amusingly, there was a sign for "Crags 15", and I remarked on it saying 15... Soon we were distracted by the views of climbing nirvana on our left. Smooth crags to climb, and bouldering problems abounded. We were thinking of all the fun we could have playing on the boulders on the way down, that neither of us really realized that we hadn't gained any elevation, or got closer to the peak. Darrin's GPS batteries had died, and so at photo #2, he added new ones, and realized our mistake. Oh well, at least it was a flat mistake, with eye candy!
A dewy morning
If you see this view: YOU WENT THE WRONG WAY!
Once back on the correct trail, we made fast work up the slope. We passed by the crags in photo #3 on the other side, as sunlight was just starting to make it's way down to us. Only slowing down so that I could capture the new sights.
Now that looks like some fun climbing
Making our way up the first slope, we only encountered a few small areas of snow. Nothing troubling, and all avoidable.
Once up on the first hump, we could see our destination, off in the distance. A long slow incline up to the final summit push.
First view of Pikes
Devil's Playground provides ample opportunity for some interesting photography.
Finally reaching the first road intersection, I am distracted east by the low clouds in the valley. Quite the view this morning!
Ahh the summit of Pikes... here we go! First person we meet is the most excited kid to be on the summit... never seen snow, never thrown a snowball, thought we were going skiing (trekking poles)... we ran away... quickly!
Some summit snow, and the most excited/annoying boy scout EVER!
We wandered over to the observing platform to take photos before our summit feast. Mmmm cold Gatorade, donuts and beef stew.
We waited for the train to leave before we went to take our cheesy summit photos by the sign. Darrin had to climb to the top, of course.
Must scramble something....
What I see:
What I see...
What Darrin sees:
Photo Credit: Darrin
Just off the summit, and it gets buzzed by a local:
Who has more fun: the pilots or the tourists?
Also just a few feet off the summit, and "Darrin the Destroyer" rolls his ankle, badly. Of course, of all the summits and peaks to injure yourself, this would be about the best one. At quite a few points you can flag down a car, and go up or down to see an EMT, or wait for your partner to retrieve you. What does Darrin choose? To tighten his boots, take some Advil and hobble down the nice trail.
Storms were brewing all over the mountains, and with the sweeping views we had, we knew where they were. Thankfully it wasn't until we were much much lower and into the trees before we heard any instability. Once down in the valley the storm had moved off the peak, and over Colorado Springs.
Big storms in the area....
That's not an interpretive dance... that's ankle roll #2
Down, just in time!
Overall I was quite pleased with the trek up Pikes, it held some surprises I wasn't expecting. Mountaineering for me is more about photography, experiencing the views and the camaraderie with ones partners, than just another checkmark or an exercise opportunity. So after all the repeated 14ers lately, and summiting new peaks in known areas, this was a nice treat to remind me to look a little harder for the "newness".
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):