Ascent of Pikes Peak on 2018-07-28

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, July 28, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Pikes Peak
    Elevation:14110 ft / 4300 m

Ascent Trip Report

Construction is underway on a new Summit House gift shop. As a result, parking on top is limited, and at busy times you may have to park at the 16-mile mark and take a complimentary shuttle to the top. More significantly for peakbaggers, the benchmark and highest rocks are in the fenced-off construction area. I bought a copy of the benchmark at the gift shop, and the clerk told me that the actual benchmark had been accessible until the day before I arrived, when it was fenced off and posted, "Keep Out." Nimble and legalistic peakbaggers probably could climb over the 4-foot fence and reach the benchmark, but I got as high as I could in the legal area and called it good. The summit sign claims 14,115 feet, which would put it 5 feet higher than the benchmark, but it is actually about 10 feet lower.

On the drive down, we got to experience one of the Rockies' legendary thunderstorms. In five minutes, the temperature plummeted from 50 to 33 and we were barraged by sleet and hail that turned the mountainside white. The weather also turned my knuckles white, driving down the hairpin turns. But the road is in great shape--paved all the way to the top--and we had no problems in a rental Kia Forte.

If you're planning a trip, be aware that the cog railway is closed for repairs, with reopening scheduled for 2021. Also, make sure you have at least a half-tank of gas. We were turned away with a little over a quarter of a tank and had to go fill up first. It's a 40-mile round-trip drive, but the ranger told us you will use 90 miles of fuel. Admission was $13 for over-55.

Cog Railroad Update:
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Trailhead:14090 ft / 4294 m
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)

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