Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:50 pm

Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby jibler » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:52 am

Anyone have experiences? Seems like it might be possible before the end of the year - as long as we don't get a huge snow storm in before.


But I don't like snow shoes or gear in general. Seems like Pikes Peak would likely be fairly windswept anyway right?
"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken", Colonel Sanders

User avatar
Posts: 1416
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:27 pm
Location: Denver/Golden

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby SurfNTurf » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:05 am

I've done it from Crags in late November and as a February winter ascent. It depends on the current conditions, but you might need snowshoes below treeline. The odds of having a boot-packed trail are fairly high, as the area sees a good amount of traffic. Above treeline will almost definitely be wind-scoured. I left my snowshoes in the car both times and didn't regret it.
Many Miles to Go (Blog)

“There are two kinds of climbers: those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” - Alex Lowe

"There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I cannot dare to dwell; and with those in mind I say, 'Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end.'" - Edward Whymper

User avatar
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:39 pm
Location: Thornton

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby eskermo » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:26 am

EDIT- I did Pikes from Crags solo two years ago in January. Once you get to the Devil's Playground, it's pretty much all windblown and straightforward the remainder of the way to the summit. With that in mind, it's a LONG time to be above treeline with a ton of wind right in your face. The portion up to treeline was pretty well packed down, then near treeline there were tons of snowshoe and skin tracks that went in every direction. Although I'd summitted Pikes before in July, I couldn't figure out which way to go. I ended up post holing through some sketchy terrain and hooked back up with the main trail just below Devil's Playground. On my way down, ALL footprints and ski tracks had been filled in by snow, and I was left struggling to find my way back into the woods while post holing waist to chest deep at some points. It was pretty miserable. I knew which direction I needed to go and I knew exactly where the car was located down at the Crags trailhead, I just couldn't find a safe way to get there.

That said, make sure you bring a GPS so that you can stay on the main trail. I make maps for a living and I am a badass with my sense of direction, but even the topo I had with me was worthless. Just because you get up it doesn't mean it's going to be easy to follow bootprints all the way down. I learned a LOT on the mountain that day, and Pikes taught me a lesson in humility and stupidity. Don't take it lightly just because it's a walk up in the summer. 13 miles roundtrip with tons of post holing is a LOT more taxing than it is in the summer.

Have fun, and try not to make the same mistakes I did :)
Last edited by eskermo on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:50 pm

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby jibler » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:37 am

Good info. I'm already getting the cabin fever and we're not even to winter yet!

This could be a good excursion to wrap up the year?
"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken", Colonel Sanders

User avatar
Posts: 2263
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:36 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby rijaca » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:42 am

You would think a badass that makes maps for a living would know the Garden of the Gods is not near the Crags route on PP.

User avatar
Posts: 7208
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:23 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby Jim Davies » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:50 am

Though it does explain the routefinding difficulties. ;-)
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

User avatar
Posts: 455
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:59 pm
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby justiner » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:01 pm

He probably means, "Devil's Playground".
The Long Ranger | STRAVA

"Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster" - Pirsig

User avatar
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:39 pm
Location: Thornton

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby eskermo » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:03 pm

Right?! What a moron!

Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:50 pm

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby jibler » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:25 pm

So is it just total weak sauce to already be pondering taking the train down??
"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken", Colonel Sanders

Moderator
User avatar
Posts: 4881
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:54 am
Location: Woodland Park, Colorado

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby CO Native » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Don't rely on the train in the winter, the snow often prevents the train from reaching the summit. Not saying you can't use that option, just have an alternate plan too.

Aren't you starting at the Crags? It's probably easier to just walk back to the Crags than to figure out the logistics of getting from Manitou Springs back to your car at the Crags.
Remember what your knees are for.
http://www.hikingintherockies.com

User avatar
Posts: 610
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:47 pm
Location: Denver, Frisco, KC

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby tlongpine » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:24 pm

jibler wrote:So is it just total weak sauce to already be pondering taking the train down??


That's one way to avoid getting lost on the descent! ;)
I am unable to walk away from the mountain without climbing it. An unclimbed mountain tugs at my consciousness with the eternal weight of time itself. Until I've pressed my face into it's alpine winds, hugged it's ancient granite walls, and put it's weathered summit beneath my heal I'm unable to resist it's attraction.Knowing nature gives the mountain more time than she gives us adds urgency to the obsession. As has been said before; the mountain doesn't care.

It can wait forever. I cannot.

User avatar
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:37 pm
Location: Broomfield, CO

Re: Pikes Peak Winter Ascent?

Postby Rainier_Wolfcastle » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:59 pm

I did a solo trip up Pikes via Crags this past Feb 23rd. 4wd was necessary to get to the upper trailhead that day. The trail was well packed and flotation was not necessary on the ascent, I carried snowshoes all day. The only other people I saw all day turned around just above treeline. It was pretty windswept, but often the easiest course of travel was the road...albiet longer. Any exposed skin would have been toast, so I had all that gear on. Obviously the train, road, summit shop were all closed. I short-cutted through the angled snow covered talus on the way down from the summit to a lower switchback on the road, but it was nerve-racking, as I would have been toast with a busted ankle...my phone died in cold temps.

I raced to beat the incoming snowstorm before it removed all trace of the trench through the trees, but I was too late...the trail was gone. So in a snowstorm, in the trees, with a compass and NatGeo map I had the first true test of my navigations skills. I really thought I was going to over shoot the TH and end up back at a highway well after dark. But I found a sign lower down, then a bridge, and I got back to my car just after dark.

So anyways, good luck and take care!
Shawn D
Broomfield, CO

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 81trucolors, JeremiahJohnson, Jerlane, KentonB, RobertBuras and 18 guests