Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Date Posted:  04/18/2011
Modified:  01/03/2012
Date Climbed:   04/16/2011
Author:  globreal
 A Whole Night on Pikes Peak  

Pikes Peak (14,115)
A Whole Night on Pikes Peak

Crew: globreal-solo (sort of)
Climb date: April 16-17, 2011
Start Time: 12:15pm (Saturday)
End Time: 7:00am (Sunday)
Total Time: 19 hours (total hiking/non-hiking time)
Trip Length: 26 miles
Total Elevation: 7,500 feet (from


I woke up Saturday morning with the day free. I had offered to help some friends move, but they never got back with me. So, now I knew what I wanted to do.

First, I went to the 9 Health Fair since I haven't had a physical in probably 10 years, and I'm now over 50...better take advantage of these low cost medical screenings for the sake of my family. I was done with that by 11:30am. I then called my family to tell them where I was going climb Pikes Peak...solo, which I rarely do on the big peaks. When I went to bed Friday night, I wasn't actually sure I'd go through with this idea. But by 11:30 I had decided, "I'm going for it."

I was at the Barr Trail trailhead at noon. Of course, no parking spots. Argh! It took 15 minutes to finally find a free parking space on Ruxton Ave. And when I say "free" that not only means an "open" parking space but also a "no-cost" parking space. However, it looks like it won't be long until the city of Manitou Springs will be charging.

By 12:30pm I was hiking up the Manitou Incline (the bottom is at 6,500 feet) with my winter pack. This drew several comments from lighter and faster climbers.

For those that aren't familiar with, "the incline," as we locals call it, it's a highly popular exercise spot for Colorado Springs hiking enthusiasts who want a strenuous workout, as it covers 2,000 vertical feet in less than a mile. From "Completed in 1907 the Manitou Incline was a 1 mile cable tram built to support the construction of a hydroelectric plant and it's waterline."
"Quote and photo courtesy of"

It was later purchased and turned into a tourist attraction. "In 1990 the Manitou Incline closed after a rockslide damaged the tracks again and the Cog Railway decided to cease the failing operation and focus on the profitable Cog Railway."
Quote and photo courtesy of

I made it to the top of the incline in less than an hour and then followed an old trail to the west which took me to a dead end. There's a water pipe with walking planks on top, crossing a ravine. However, it's now fenced up so you can't cross the "bridge." I have to apologize now, as I wasn't thinking to much about doing a trip report on this climb. So, I was quite lax in taking photos. I think there is another trail which is more to the north which by-passes this fenced obstruction. Today, I just dropped down in the steep gulley and up the other side. It requires a little scrambling and some bush whacking, but it was easily doable. Back on the trail on the west side of the water pipe detour, and it was just a short couple of minutes and I got my first view of my goal. So close...but oh so far!

Two hours later at 3:30pm I was at Barr Camp. I love Barr Camp....what a great place. They've got running water year round (not treated,) a real bathroom, snacks for purchase, even a bed if you want it. I got some hot water from Neil (the caretaker) for my Top Ramen, and had a nice 45 minute break there. (Sorry, no photos but they have their own website:

Halfway on up to the A-Frame (11,800) I ran into two guys coming down who are training for Denali. That's how I got this picture. Thanks guys. And good luck next month!
As you can see in the background, there is still snow/ice on the trail. Microspikes were a definite blessing coming back down later.

And there are numerous spots between Barr Camp and the A-Frame where it looks like this on the trail. The good news it there is a packed trail all the way to the A-Frame and so there's no post-holing!

Starting to near treeline, I got a view out east and an appreciation for the elevation already gained...approximately 5,000 feet.

Looking south-west there was a military helicopter hovering over by Almagre Mountain for several hours. Don't know what they were up to.

Now, I get an opening in the trees and get a view of the summit. Still 2,600 verts to go. The trail takes you to the far left around all that cliffy rock.

Here is a trail sign just shy of the A-Frame and showing 3 miles...that is if you stick to the trail that switch backs all across the east face there.

I didn't think to take a picture but here is the A-Frame (11,800) for those of you that haven't been there or seen it. It's surprisingly large inside and has two mattresses to lay on that are really comfortable! Inside it has some "L" shaped sheet metal up against the left wall to cook on. This shelter can be (and has been) a real life saver to get out of the wind and weather.
Photo courtesy of Josh Handrich

It's now 6:15pm and I'm back on the trail for the summit. After a short while I'm above treeline and the views open up. The sun is getting lower and casting long shadows across the Rampart Range in this view to the north.

At one point, if you are hiking the actual trail, it takes you way left (south) to what is called "The Cirque" which is just about 13,000. Here, there is a serious cliff that descends into a deep bowl. There is a sign here stating it's 1,500 feet deep!

Looking south over "The Cirque" I caught the last remaining rays of sunlight at about 7:20 or so.

In talking with the two guys I ran into on the trail earlier, they mentioned that two more guys would be coming off of the summit heading for the A-Frame. Sure enough, around 7:30pm I met up with them around 13,300 feet. Lo and behold, (or should I say, "High and behold"?) it was someone I knew...Doug Hatfield. He was with his hiking buddy Uwe Sartori. Uwe is a well respected CMC leader whom I've heard of numerous times around this climbing community. It was great to finally meet him in person. They were heading down to rest in the A-Frame for a few hours. I told them I would check in with them once I get back down there. Hiking solo, it was nice to know someone else knew of my where-abouts...or I guess, last known where-abouts.

Now, I've got so say....this last 1,500 feet was tough in spots. Yes, there is snow up there!

Dang! Why didn't I think to bring my pack mule to haul my heavy pack? This could bring a whole new meaning to the GO LITE brand!
An 1890 winter climb (near Windy Point) up Pikes Peak. Yes, it's an actual archive photo on Pikes.

I didn't realize we were going to have a full moon tonight. Wow...what a blessing. It was really nice...I could see across the whole east face and hardly used my headlamp going up or coming down. Nice!

At 8:58pm, I'm on the summit. Made it!

Just before reaching the top, I heard voices. But I thought I was just hearing things. It turned out, there were two other guys who climbed up from the west side via the Crags route. I would have never thought I would actually run in to other climbers at 9 o'clock at night! But I did....David and John. That's how I got the summit photo.

Now, I feel it's time to regress a bit here and explain why I chose to do this climb in the first place, and to do it solo. I don't know about you but I'm feeling the recession. I am self-employed and don't get a paycheck every two weeks. In a few days I'll be finishing up my last contract and don't have any work on the horizon. About a week and a half ago I found out from my CPA what my tax bill was going to be. This magnified the fear. When I heard the bad news I literally had butterflies in my stomach like I felt prior to climbing Little Bear or Capitol Peak. So, the thought of not being able to support my family has been tough at times, equal to the pre-climb fear of climbing some of the harder 14ers.

For those of you who know me, you know I have a faith-component to my life. I recently came across this scripture verse in the Bible and it jumped out at me....

Luke 6:12
And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.

Wow...that's an interesting idea...I need to do just that! I need to go away, pray through the night for my family and for new work and income. When I first read that verse, the thought intrigued me....and it wouldn't leave my mind. But I thought, there's no way I could do that. Pulling all-nighters at my age isn't easy anymore. Add to it the difficulty of praying through the night. Not possible! Plus, I thought about the story in Matthew 26 where Jesus asked some of his disciples to stay awake with him through the night and they fell asleep...three times! I figured that would be me.

Well, here I am, on the mountain to pray through the whole night.

Back to the trip report...
Instead of taking the risk of down climbing alone, I chose to join David and John. It was pretty windy on the summit so we didn't stay long. Somewhere between 9:20 and 9:30pm we are heading down. BTW, this was their first 14er. Congrats guys!

We pretty much took a straight line down the center of the east face, heel-kicking steps into the snow instead of following the switchbacks. This made the descent pretty quick even though we stopped to sit and rest periodically. We were all feeling the effects of altitude sickness...something I've not had in a really long time.

David, John and I get down to the A-Frame at 11:15pm. I go over to check in with Doug & Uwe. Sure enough they are there tucked away in their sleeping bags. They offered for us to join them in the shelter, but also part of this trip for me was to practice a night out with what I would normally carry in my standard winter pack. David and John had sleeping bags and ground pads, I on the other hand just typically carry a bivy sack and a very small ground pad.

We had very high Chinook winds kick up that night however,the Gore-tex bivy blocked them sufficiently. And with my down jacket on I stayed warm enough. Just my feet got a bit cold. So, test successful...if only for a couple hours. And a side note...with the high winds...I didn't even feel sleepy and was able to stay awake, pray and read scripture that whole time in the bivy.

Doug and Uwe had to meet up with some other people back at the trailhead to lead a CMC hike at 7:30. So, their plan was to get up at 2am to head down. I decided to hike with them since my plan was to stay up the whole night anyway. Might as well, right? I did think to get a photo of my two, "hike through-the-night" hiking buddies.

They took one of me...

Getting back to a place where we could see the city lights of Colorado Springs was pretty nice. The picture is shaky since I am hand bracing a time-exposure on a tree stump. A tripod would have worked better.

Seeing the sunrise was really one of the best parts of the trip for me as it signified that I pretty much did what I set out to do. And that was to pray "through the whole night" as stated in Luke 6:12.

Of course I didn't pray continuously, but I least I did stay with it through "the whole night."

I believe God hears and answers our prayers. Sometimes He answers... and sometimes He chooses not to give us what we ask for. And sometimes, He even gives us what we haven't even thought to ask for.

During my ascent when I reached the top of the incline, I read this text from my wife:

"I love u! Thanks for fighting for our family! Jesus will meet u & be with u as u pray on the mountainside."

Wow...I didn't' even think to pray for my wife to be supportive of this all-night adventure. She isn't usually in favor of me climbing solo. Here God answered a prayer I hadn't even thought to ask for. All the more reason for me to trust Him.

Faith. It's not really faith until you have to exercise I am now.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Awesome Report
04/19/2011 06:11
Love the night hikes. Good job on staying with it through the night! Good luck with the future stuff

Smilin Joe

04/19/2011 11:16
Inspiring, both Spiritually and physically. I have no doubt that your efforts will be rewarded.


Excellent !
04/19/2011 12:36
Way to go Britt! That is a long haul and a rewarding finish. Glad to see another one of your trip reports.

Great photos and Report. Have a great year!


06/02/2011 14:57
idea. ”If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Your love for your family pales in comparison. Many blessings to you brother.


04/19/2011 13:57
I am saying a prayer that god will provide right now. I loved your post.


Very Inspiring Report!
04/19/2011 14:23
Thanks for sharing this, Britt! A truly inspiring climb and report! I'm a little older and in a similar situation, but like you said, you can only trust in God and have faith that He will lead you down (or up! ) the right paths.



You are never alone
04/19/2011 14:51
Greatly enjoyed walking vicariously with you, through story and photos, on this whole night out.

You had the faith and courage to start your journey solo, and yet were blessed with friends at every turn.

Thanks for sharing your night with us. There is little doubt your faith will remain strong as the Lord provides for you and your family.



04/19/2011 16:00
Very good G. Very good. Remember the sparrows.


Great Report!
04/19/2011 16:18
I truly enjoyed your report! Inspiring, motivating, encouraging... I loved it! I try to hike a 14er once a month with a group of friends. I hope our paths cross sometime, it would be a pleasure to meet you. I will pray that God answers your prayers. All the best to you and your family.


Great work, Britt
04/19/2011 16:23
I love your calm demeanor and quiet confidence in God's provision - a true example of how to thoroughly enjoy nature. Thanks for posting!


04/19/2011 16:38
I really liked reading your TR. I hope things look up for you soon.


Really enjoyed this one, Britt
04/19/2011 16:59
What a great read, well done.


04/19/2011 17:49
on a great TR. I like the combo of history, art, practical detail, and self reflection.

Oh...How long did you sleep the next day? I can't after similar nights. i have to wait until the following evening.



04/19/2011 20:54
Nice touch with the old time photos!
I've often thought of how our Lord would withdraw to the mountains also. And I could never do an all niter in prayer! Though I spent most of the night doing just that, in my one unplanned overnite mountain adventure

But that is the number one draw and reason I love going to the mountains so much. Being with Him. Always feel one with God and experience His greatness. Whether solo, or in a group, I am drawn to the Master. And He speaks to me there.

He is Risen!


04/19/2011 23:58
That is a very inspiring report Britt!!. Your faith and simple obedience to what God was telling you to do, to seek him and pray. That is inspiring. And what a wonderful wife you have...her text message to you is so very cool. It's so beautiful to see couples that come together during difficult times not pull apart. Blessings to you my friend.


04/20/2011 00:01
for the TR Britt! It is a great reminder to us all. Inspiring and encouraging. Awesome stuff. Very awesome.


Very Nice!
04/20/2011 00:38
Hey Britt! Nice report!!! My brother and I (he took your picture!) were the ones who talked with you below the A-Frame! Actually, I'm the only one training for Denali (along with Doug and Uwe!), my brother was just along for the hike! Anyway, we talked about you periodically during our hike down to the parking lot (wondering how you were doing up there on the East Face!), and it's nice to know that you accomplished all that you set out to do over those 19 hours!! We were pulling for you!!!


Interesting How The Lines Intersect
04/20/2011 01:43
It was a pleasure meeting you while Doug and I were doing 'Operation Snickers'. Nice conversation down the mountain. A wonderful pace you led, getting us to the TH right on time to meet our group. Very cool. The majestic mountain soothes the soul. That is a for sure.


Glad to hear you accomplished what you set out to
04/20/2011 03:31
Britt, nice to hear you made it and accomplished what you set out to do. I hope it brought some peace to your thoughts. I was the brother along for the hike that took your picture. I must admit, I thought your goal to summit that night was a bit ambitious but low and behold you knocked it out proper. Good to meet you on the mountain, hope to see you there again sometime.

Rusty Shackleford

04/20/2011 15:04
THAT is a great trail (life?) report! God Bless!


04/20/2011 17:02
Britt, it was a nice surprise to see your report here this morning. At first I thought, ”Britt hiking night?” But then when you explained the bigger picture it made perfect sense. Great job and great report! I haven't been keeping up with TR's too well lately but it was good to see another one from you. I'll keep you in my prayers.


04/20/2011 18:51
God is there and you are never closer to Him than on top of a mountain. I too pray for you and your family.


You will be taken care of!
04/20/2011 22:52
Matthew 6:28 ”And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Nice TR! Our father will provide for you!


This Is Your Year
04/18/2014 19:27
You may be at a crossroad in your life and you don't know what to do. Everybody is seeing increase and favor, but things are not changing for you. It's time to start speaking the Word and thanking God for your breakthrough. You must be just like David and speak to that Goliath in your life and watch it come down. This is your year! Love, Bishop


Awesome Britt!
04/28/2011 22:33
Very cool. Well-written TR and accompanying photos!


05/08/2011 00:00
What a moving TR. I am in awe of the commitment to what you knew you had to do. I wish the best for you.


Prayer is as instinctive as breathing ...
05/10/2011 21:31
You are truly blessed, Britt. What a fascinating journey you had ... you were rewarded with a stable and reliable path to follow to the summit and back, the joy of meeting old friends and the making of new ones, success in your winter test of your gear, the reinforcing foundation of a praying wife, and the cleansing and refortifying affect of putting it ALL in the hands of our Lord and Saviour. I'm sure there was a point where a wave of relief and peace washed over you as you knew He was listening. Many times in a day, I turn to prayer. I ask now for blessings on you, your family, your health, your work and give you great thanks for all those you touch everyday. Happy trails, my friend.


Peace be with you...
05/13/2011 06:03
When I feel pressure that things are not going the direction I would like, I find it useful in resolving the feeling by stripping away the little issues and focus on what matters. Your night time climb was a perfect way to do that. I usually find that I do have what matters: God and family. You have what matters, Britt, and stay the course, it is a true course.


I love it!
09/27/2012 21:17
I know it's been a year a nd a hlaf since you climbed this...but I am now just reading it. I am looking forward to climbing this mountain in the same conditions you did...hopefully in April.May 2013. I also hope that I too can endure the same night of prayer you's really amazing what happens when you experience moments with your savior. Thank you for sharing your heart for Jesus! Your love for your wife and family! And your experiences on these mountains. I hope it's ok to hit you up next spring for Beta on Pike's and more importantly for prayer and guidance. You Rock!!!!!


Great TR
06/21/2014 14:36
Came across this trip report and feel it is one of the best I have read. Love the spiritual connection to the mountain and prayers of the unknown.

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