Pikes Peak

Date to Climb: June 13, 2009

Date Climbed: June 16, 2009

Elevation: 14,110

Range: Front Range

Latitude: 38.84050, Longitude: -107.08300

Route: Northwest Slopes ll, Class 2

Round-Trip Mileage: 11.4

Pre-Climb Comments

We originally wanted to do Culebra as our first mountain, then found that the first climbing date was not until the 27th of June, so we moved Culebra to the end of the list. On all the peaks we hope to sleep at the trailheads, wake early, and start walking by 0330. The early start will give us an hour of walking in the dark, but that’s why they make headlamps! Hopefully being early birds will help us get lots of worms. We have never done the Northwest Slopes Route, but it seems very doable as a first peak as long as the snow is not too deep. We will check daily for snow updates. People tend to get lost on this route in snowy conditions, it must be confusing. We will make sure the GPS is operating.

Post-Climb Comments

We didn't do Pikes Peak first. It was our first acclimating hike, but there was so much snow we postponed it to the sixth position.

Leaving Buena Vista after climbing Yale, we began the long drive to Crags Campground on the west side of Pikes Peak. Heading toward Pikes we kept getting glimpses of its upper slopes. Everything was white and it looked like there was even more snow, if that was possible. Dejected we discussed the possibilities of not being able to climb it.

Leaving site 17 of Crags Campground at 5:00, we began the long walk. It was cold. We made pretty good time on the trail and across the snow as it was early and the snow was firm. As we followed the trail we got glimpses of the upper slopes, there was less snow than when we had hiked the trail a week earlier. We were relieved.

The higher we climbed the stronger the wind. It was never ending. The snow was covered pea size hail pellets. It made for some slick patches.

Pikes morning

Around 12,500 in the Morning


Finally we reached the Pikes Peak Road. After crossing the road, the trail followed the road most of the way to the top. There was a final slope that added a little spice to the climb.

And then we were there, the road, the parking lot, the cog train, the heated restrooms, the gift shop, the restaurant and all the people. The summit of Pikes is unlike any of the others (thank goodness). We did get some hot donuts and coffee and it was very good. Jake, the dog, got his picture made as he sported his red boots. He did look good.

Pikes summit

The Top

After a quick break we were back to the descent. We decided to don crampons and were glad we did. It made the descent faster and safer. After retracing our steps back along the road, we made good time on semi-firm snow. Once we re-crossed the road we entered into postholing competition. I was heavier, so I won, but it was not without some challengers. Jake and Amy sunk regularly. Amy, seeing my frustration, volunteered to go first. I stepped in her compressed steps. Though I made them bigger, I still did not sink in quite as far.

Soon we were on the real hiking trail and back to camp by two. We readied the car and headed for Alma, CO for our next peaks.

All and all it was not that hard of a day even though we had six miles of snow to travel through. And, it was yet another day of cold windy weather. But despite the negatives, we did get hot coffee and donuts at the summit. Now that's climbing!

Pikes Peak - Climbed June 16, 2009 summit check