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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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
What I see:
What Darrin sees:
Photo Credit: Darrin
Just off the summit, and it gets buzzed by a local:
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.
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):
I was up the Crags route two days before you. Been up the Barr Trail numerous times, but this was my first trip up Crags.....I also enjoyed it. Did you happen to see this cute little guy near Devil‘s Playground ?? He was as friendly as a dog.....
I crossed paths with you guys, just before the final summit climb. I was also quite surprised at all the clouds down below to the east, covering CO Springs, since it was totally clear there at 6am. Made it feel like we were way high in the sky!
I‘ll be posting a TR too, but first gotta finish my Conundrum report from Saturday. I enjoyed your report!
Plenty of fly-overs recently. Even saw 2 in Horn Fork basin the previous day
mtgirl - Unfortunately we didn‘t see the fox. I would have loved to seen it, as that is my surname.
Darin/d_baker - So we almost ran into you again... Where ya going this weekend?
Matt/slaggbottom - Looking forward to your version of the views, and the Conundrum tr.
Mark - If you wait till more flowers are on the upper meadows, the photography could be tons better. Though more people. Trade offs!
Steve - It was fun leap frogging you up the peak! Glad you decided to drop the pack for the final push. Thanks for the invite for a place to stay, we‘ll keep that in mind for next time. Here‘s a photo I took of you, as you were reaching the saddle, let me know if you would like the full size version
slynn4_13run - Why isn‘t there a better sign there? We met one guy that summitted some other peak by accident, and asked us where the real trail was, back in the parking lot.
btw...MtnGirl, if you saw that fox on Devil's Playground, he (or she) is probably one of the regulars that hang around Glen Cove.
They're probably being fed by the tour'ons, because they will come within a few feet of you.
Otina (& Darrrrrrin w/too many r's): I'm not sure where I'll be this weekend, but I wish you two would stop following me. ;)
I missed that turn both times I did the Crags route. And I‘m sure I‘ll miss it again next time . The entertainment of people on Pikes almost makes it worth the repeats. Last time I came down from Pikes, I was almost near the TH when I was approached by a lady and her 4 year old boy. She asked me how much further it was to the playground. I had to explain to her it wasn‘t a real playground.
We saw a badass F-16 flyover saturday while skiing around Little Italy (Y-Couloir had no f**king snow!!!). It was really loud and realyl close, guy seemed to be having a field day in the surrounding valleys.
I too have always thought of the Crags route as a photographic journey. The people on the summit or along the road never really bothered me (but the rangers did).
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