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Ascent of Pikes Peak on 2016-11-14

Climber: Bradley Reese

Date:Monday, November 14, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pikes Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14110 ft / 4300 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Plan: I was on an extended weekend vacation, staying with my college roommate. The day before he and I hiked Elbert. On this day he had to work. After Elbert, Pikes and Blanca were on my radar, I was too fatigued after travel, Elbert to plan thoroughly, but decided to aim for the shorter hike up Pikes Peak, via the route known as "Northwest Slopes" on 14ers.com (I've also seen the trail called Crags to Devil Playground). The biggest con to me for this mountain was that there was a road and cogway to the summit. The biggest con to the route I hiked was that a significant portion followed along the road. The longer hike, listed at 26 miles round trip, was not really an option to me if I wanted to bag another peak the next day.

Parking: I typed "Crags Trail Head" into Google Maps and it took me directly to the parking area at the trailhead. All roadways were relatively smooth and 2WD should be able to make it easily.

The hike: After arriving at the trailhead I was the only one there, but soon two other vehicles showed up. I had not packed the evening before so spent some time getting my pack ready, the two other groups were started before I was. After I got started I took off trying to catch another group planning to ask if I could join them. I was catching one group when I thought I'd left my sunglasses behind. I turned around to get them, but soon realized they were on top of my head. Due to this I gave up on catching this group. I stopped for a minute to adjust some things in my pack and the other guy that had started before me came up from behind, I'm unsure where I had passed him. I introduced myself and asked if I could walk with him.

The guy's name was Todd, he was probably in his middle 40's. He said I could walk with him, but he would probably slow me down. I responded that I was not in a hurry. I asked if he was planning to hike to Pikes, he said "no" he wasn't in the shape for that. As we walked he shared that he was a 22 year Navy Veteran and probably on his last assignment. He shared that he'd been stationed many places including Virginia, Florida, Maine, and Iceland before Colorado. He shared that he was married and had three young daughters. I shared that I was married, but had no kids yet and some of my work experience. At 0.67 miles of hiking we met a fork in the trail and went opposite directions, before parting I thanked him for his service.

Through the first 1.5 miles the elevation gain was minimal, at 1.5 miles the trail became steeper. Through here I continued through a thick Spruce forest. Eventually I began hearing voices of the guys I'd been trying to catch in the beginning. I missed a switchback and ended up about 25 yards behind them. They sped up in what felt like an attempt to make sure I didn't catch them. Soon after this we reached the tree line (2.5 miles of hiking and ~11,800 ft of elevation). I continued to try to catch the group in front of me. The leader of the group continued to pull away from me and the guy he was hiking with, I was making small gains on the slower of the two. Since breaking through the tree line the route had been quite steep, and I had been pushing to catch the group in front of me, with my heart racing at 3 miles of hiking I turned back and saw the view behind me and decided to take a break. I took a handful of pictures here and drank some water and ate a snack. The other group would come in view a few more times, but I would never get close to catching them again. After the break I continued and reached the ridge at 3.25 miles.

After reaching the ridge the next 2.6 miles (5.85 total) was relatively flat. I would reach the toll road at 4 miles total of hiking. After crossing the toll road the trail was relatively flat until around the 5.8 mile mark. After this the steepness would increase and the hike would soon turn into a class 2 scramble. The scramble along with the elevation led to me becoming short on breath and having some lightheadedness. I took several short breaks throughout the scramble. Finally at around 6.3 miles of hiking I reached the flat summit of Pikes Peak. The high point was encircled by the road with the high point being a boulder in the middle. Being a week day the summit wasn't terribly crowded, there were about 25 to 30 people at the summit. Views were great, but not as good as Elbert's. Similar to Elbert when I took my phone out it showed ~50% battery but after 2-3 pictures the cold windy weather killed it, again I was able to restart it and continue to take pictures with my external battery.

I hiked down via he same route I went up, but did not see a single other hiker.

Weather: The weather was unseasonably warm, and there was no ice or snow along the route I took.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4739 ft / 1444 m
    Elevation Loss:4739 ft / 1444 m
    Distance:13.4 mi / 21.6 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Clear
Beautiful, cool and windy at the top.
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:4739 ft / 1444 m
    Extra Loss:645 ft / 196 m
    Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route:Northwest Slopes
    Trailhead:Crags Trailhead  10016 ft / 3052 m
    Time Up:4 Hours 35 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4094 ft / 1248 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 10.9 km
    Route:Northwest Slopes
    Trailhead:Crags Trailhead  10016 ft / 3052 m
    Time Down:3 Hours 33 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley Reese
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




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