Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Date Posted:  06/17/2011
Date Climbed:   06/15/2011
Author:  Stiffler_from_Denver

 Manitou to Pikes and Back  

Mountaineering tends to draw men and women not easily deflected from their goals....we had all been subjected to levels of misery and peril that would have sent more balanced individuals packing for home long ago. To get this far one had to have an uncommonly obdurate personality. -Into Thin Air

After 21 miles of hiking in one day and still with 5 more miles to complete to get back to my car, I kept thinking about the aforementioned quote. At that point in my trekk I asked myself, "what compels a person to drive to Manitou Springs at midnight, sleep in the back of a car for a couple of hours, hike up a trail in the dark before sunrise, and climb 26 miles in one day alone?"

Ascent Party: Stiffler_from_Denver
Start Time: 4:22 am
Back at Car: 7:15 pm
elevation gain: 7500 feet
distance: 26 miles

I left Denver at 11:30 on Tuesday evening and arrived at the Pikes trailhead parking lot at 12:30. There were already 4 other cars there. I had set my alarm for 4:30 am, although I woke up around 3:30 with nervous anticipation of a long day ahead. At that point there were a few other people gearing up and hitting the trail by lamplight. This would be my first solo ascent.

first light over Colorado Springs from Barr Trail

the view from where I stopped for breakfast an hour after beginning

about 2.5 miles from the trailhead the trail winds under/around these boulders

under the boulders

That's a long way left to get to the top!

I made it to Barr Camp, which is 7 miles from the trailhead, around 7:30 am. I enjoyed some cheese, salami, and a bagal on one of Barr camp's picnic tables. I shared my bagel with a friendly critter. The I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee and friendly conversation with fellow hikers and the attendant at Barr Camp. It was a welcomed break. I also refilled my water bottles with sterilized water from the stream at the camp.
Watson the chipmunk sharing my snack

delicious cup of percolated coffee at Barr Camp

gnarly branches jabbing the blue sky

I put on some warrior face paint just above the A-frame to give me some motivation on my solo ascent.
just passed the A-frame shelter and above treeline

Butt Rock

1 mile to go


start of the golden stairs

looking back at the switch backs


looking back to the peak on my descent

I stopped at Barr camp to refill and sterilize more water. I got a change to meet the owners who were sitting infront of Barr Camp chatting to fellow hikers. The last 5 miles of my hike were brutal. It seemed as every muscle in my legs were giving up. There were a lot of runners going up and down the Barr trail around two miles left to the parking lot. I got back to my car around 7:15 pm, just under 15 hours after leaving. My first solo ascent was a success. After 26 miles in one day, I feel like other 14er trips won't be as difficult.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice Work!
06/17/2011 17:45
I've done the roundtrip hike 4 times on Barr Trail, even though my times get faster, the hike down doesn't seem to get any easier. Congrats on your solo trip up and down Barr Trail!

Exiled Michigander

Way to Go!
06/17/2011 18:55
Congrats on your spirit quest up Pikes! The face paint was a nice touch! I'm sure if they had a Quincy's on top of the summit you would have sprinted up in under 4 hours.

Craig Cook

06/17/2011 23:43
This was my first 14er last year, and I found you TR to be eerily similar to mine - even the start and finish times are almost exact! And yes, those last five miles or so were an absolutely brutal stretch.


06/19/2011 03:06
That was no easy task! My friend and I did it last year! Well actually we broke it up in two are way more hard core than we are...hah..hah..! But I enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for sharing!


Nicely done!
06/19/2011 16:43
That is a long day. The only time I've been on Pikes I went up the Barr trail in 7 hrs with a buddy from South Carolina and rather than walk down my wife drove to the top and pick us up. Sometime I should try going up and down in one day.

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