Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Date Posted:  11/08/2010
Modified:  11/09/2010
Date Climbed:   11/07/2010
Author:  Mtn_Topper

 Early November on Barr Trail  

Given the length of the Barr Trail route up Pikes Peak, I chose to break this climb into two days with an overnight stop at Barr Camp. On Saturday November 6, I left the Barr Trail trailhead in Manitou Springs just before noon and began the 6.5 mile trek up to Barr Camp. The weather could not have been better for this early November climb of Pikes Peak. For the relatively step first 3 miles, the sunny, mid-70s temperatures were almost too warm. There was fair bit of traffic on the trail (mostly runners heading down) below the top of the Incline but otherwise it was smooth going. ImageImage I was moving quite well and was able get to the Incline turnoff in about an hour and 15 minutes. After passing the Incline turnoff, the toughest part of the climb up to Barr Camp was complete and I pretty much had the trail to myself. After the short climb follow "Experimental Forest" turnoff, I had my last glimpse of Colorado Springs for a while and would shortly get my first views of the summit of Pike Peak. ImageImage The pleasant, wooded trail was flat or gently rolling for the next 3 miles. Though it was early November, the trail was completely dry to Barr Camp, with the exception of a small icy patch just prior to reaching the camp. For those wishing to skip the hike from Manitou, there is a 1 1/2 spur off of the Barr Trail that goes to the Mountain View stop on the cog rail line. I've often thought about bring my family up this way. After a little more than two hours on the trail, I finally reached Barr Camp. Image I love Barr Camp. This was my second time staying here and both visits have been wonderful. Neal, Teresa and Scott are very hospitable and serve up some great food (always Spaghetti and Pancakes). I was one of five guests in the main bunk house and I enjoyed a nice, restful afternoon and evening prior to completing my climb of the peak. I got up on Sunday morning and was on the trail by 7am to finish the final 6 miles to the summit. Again, the trail was completely clear and dry, except for some small icy spots, for the first 4 miles past Barr Camp. Image The first 3 miles up to treeline are nice but offer few clear views of either the plains or the peak. I reach the A-Frame at treeline at about 8:15am. I actually lost the trail at this point (it makes a sharp right turn here) and ended up going straight up the slope toward the peak until I finally intersected with the trail again about 1/3 of the way up to the summit. Image It was cloudy and windy from here to the summit. The trail was pretty clear but the final two miles had several spot with packed snow and ice. I never needed my Yaktrax but I did need to step carefully. Image Image The 16 Golden Stairs weren't nearly as daunting as I'd been expecting and I was soon on the summit. Unfortunately, I made the summit at about 9:30am but the Summit House did not open until 10am. I walked to the high point, visited the assortment of plaques and memorials, took some picture and then found a place out of the wind to wait. Image At 10am, the Summit House opened and I became just another tourist. I'm glad that most 14ers are a more "natural" experience, but I have to say that it was kind of fun to warm up, use a real restroom and enjoy a hot meal before having to begin the long hike down. It was a LONG hike down. I left the summit at 10:30 and got back on the Barr Trail. I stopped to grab some stuff at Barr Camp that I had left but otherwise went straight to the bottom without stopping. When I made it back to the trailhead in Manitou Springs might feet were killing me due to some freakishly large blisters but I otherwise felt good. It was a very worthwhile experience.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice report!
11/09/2010 16:43
As you said, it is nice that most peaks are not so commercialized and Pikes, but I do have a certain love/hate relationship with that peak. Guess that explains why I have done it 7 times and want to do it in the winter this year
Congratulations on completing the marathon hike!

Dr. Dave


Two days is the way!
11/09/2010 17:15
I was on the trail from Crags on Saturday. Having done Barr trail twice as single day expeditions, I now know the correct way to do it! Thanks for an enjoyable report. 8)

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