Input on Biking Pikes Peak

November 7th, 2012

Pikes Peak Summit by Bike

Cyclists got a chance to bike the Pikes Peak Highway during September. I took advantage of it and rode from my house to the top of Pikes Peak and then down Barr Trail. I know lots of people who also rode. The’s no reason for it to not be open all the time the Pikes Peak Highway is.

The Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is taking input on allowing bikes on the Pikes Peak road in the future at their meeting tomorrow, November 8th. The meeting starts at 7:30 AM. Bikes on Pikes Peak is fairly far down on the agenda so if you can’t arrive until a little after 8 you should be there in time and give input. The meeting is at parks headquarters, 1401 Recreation Way.

Hope to see you there! You can check out my Pikes Peak photos and ride report here.

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Moonstruck

February 22nd, 2008

Moon from Trail Near Mount Manitou

Full moon is this week. Last night was a full lunar eclipse but unfortunately we mostly had clouds. When the moon should have been partially eclipsed, I could see bits of it through the clouds. When it was coming out of the eclipse, there were just thin clouds so I could see it faintly but it wasn’t very impressive.

Sunday I hiked up to Barr Camp and got up there just after dark. It had snowed off and on during the day but it was clearing while I was hiking. On the way back down, I had great moonlight sparkling off the fresh snow.

Last full moon I had mentioned that in the past I’ve hiked to the top of Pikes Peak by moonlight in the winter. Chris asked in a comment whether I was interested in having someone along. We ended up making plans to do it tonight.

Pikes Peak, February 22, 2008Hopefully it’ll be a clear night but there’s a slight chance of snow in tomorrow morning. Last night it snowed a little during the evening but by 11 PM there was bright moonlight. It’s a beautiful morning and there’s bright blue sky.

The round-trip on Barr Trail is about 26 miles with 7,500 vertical feet. Going up the Manitou Incline would cut about 2 miles off but not make it any easier. Above timberline this time of year, I generally just go up the face because the trail is burried.

Depending on snow conditions and weather above timberline, it’ll probably take somewhere around 12 hours to do the hike. I talked to some guys on Sunday that had been to the summit. They said Barr Trail was pretty packed all the way to the A-Frame which will help. Above timberline they didn’t feel their snowshoes were grabbing enough so they switched to crampons. With crampons they were breaking through the crust and struggling.

There’s new snow so we may be alright with snowshoes. We’ll have YakTrax, snowshoes, crampons and ice axes so we should the gear for any conditions. We may end up using all of them.

Below are a few more pictures from my hike last Sunday.

Base of Cameron's Cone

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

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Hiking and Running in Snow and Ice

February 13th, 2008


Late Sunday afternoon I headed up to Barr Camp. A guy stopped me down by the Cog Railway depot. He said that there was an emergency and they weren’t allowing anyone to park in the Barr Trail parking lot.

The weather was warm over the weekend which makes for slushy, slick snow during the day and turns to ice as it cools off in the afternoon. A guy had slipped and fallen just above No Name Creek, a little over 3 miles up. The skin was peeled back on his hand and he had severe bleeding. Search and Rescue originally thought they might have to chopper him out. They were able to slow the bleeding and when I got there they were helping him hike down.

So how do you reduce the chance that something like this happens to you? You could stay away from icy trails but that’s no fun. Three of the things to help you keep your footing in snow and ice are Yaktrax, screws, and crampons.

Yaktrax

Yaktrax are my choice for hiking. I try not to run unless something big and scary is chasing me but I know runners that also like them. They fit over most shoes so you can use them with hiking boots or running shoes. About the only way I can tell I’m wearing them is that I don’t slip on the ice. I will notice them a bit if I end up walking on a hard surface like pavement. They’re small and light so you can carry them in your pack or even your jacket pocket in case you find a spot you need them.

They come in 2 versions. The Pro version has a strap that goes over the top of the shoe or hiking boot to help prevent them from coming off. I still have the original ones that don’t have the strap. They only come off occasionally but when I replace them I plan to get the Pro version. That might be soon since mine a getting pretty worn.

Screws

Hard core runners put screws in the bottoms of their shoes. It’s the method recommended by Matt Carpenter. He has good instructions on how to put them in and where to place them. I’ve read that you don’t want them in the middle of the ball of your foot because it can increase the pressure and cause pain. Screws can also be used on mountain bike shoes for when you have to get off and walk.

The screws definitely are the cheapest option. I do see a few screws on the trails but a new one can easily be put in. For runners that have a pair of shoes that will only be used for running in the snow and ice during the winter, they seem like a great choice.

Crampons

I keep seeing crampon tracks when I go hiking. Generally it’s only a single set of tracks. Although I’ve used crampons a lot for mountaineering, I don’t recommend them for normal hiking. Maybe it’s just the way I walk but I really have to pay attention not to trip with them. It’s worse when I’m not sinking the points all the way in. I also don’t like dulling the tips when there’s sections that have melted and it’s just dirt. Crampons are also the most expensive of the 3 options.

Do you have a favorite way to stay off your butt when hiking in snow and ice?

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Hike to Barr Camp

February 1st, 2008

Colorado Springs Lights from Barr Trail

Last Sunday afternoon I headed out to do the Manitou Incline. I’ve been doing it and wanted to do something longer. I knew I would hurt but I decided to go to Barr Camp.

Pikes Peak from Barr TrailBecause it was warm, the snow on the Incline was wet and slushy. This made it more slippery than the dry snow the last few weeks but not enough for me to slip my YakTrax on. My time was slightly faster than I’ve been doing it but still miserably slow.

Although there was quite a bit of snow on Barr Trail, it was well packed as normal. Unless there’s fresh snow, I don’t think snowshoes are necesarry until after Barr Camp. I did put my YakTrax on pretty soon after the Incline since I was slipping some on the packed snow.

Barr CampIt’s been a while since I’ve gone up to Barr Camp but I still remembered the trail really well. I got to Barr Camp just as it was getting dark.

After chatting for little while with the Barr Camp caretakers and a couple guys that were on their way down from the summit, I headed back down in the dark. I don’t like using my headlamp unless absolutely necessary because it ruins my night vision. It’s cool being able to see the outlines of the rocks and trees. I was able to pick out the packed line through the snow in the dark except I stepped into some deep unpack snow a couple times.

I don’t normally like all the city lights but they’re actually quite a pretty sight from a few thousand feet above. I tried taking several pictures of the city lights. The best one is above but I couldn’t really capture them. It doesn’t show the outline of the hills and trees in the foreground or how far the lights are below.

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Hiking Manitou Incline the Hard Way

April 21st, 2007

The last few times I’ve done the Manitou Incline, I’ve taken Danielle along. She just turned 4 a couple weeks ago. Sometimes she hikes quite a long ways and other times she doesn’t make it very far. The best she’s done going up is to the Barr Trail cut-off which is about 2/3 of the way. I think that’s quite impressive since that’s a ways up the steep section. She might have made it a little farther but she cut her leg on a stake trying to pull herself up one of the really big steps. She has hiked all the way down Barr Trail from the top of the Incline but that time she had slept most of the way up.

As hard as it is, I’d rather carry her up in the Kelty pack than going down the trail. Between her and the pack, it’s about 45 pounds and my knees get hammered on the way down. Last week she slept for a while on the way down. She was bouncing all over even though I was trying to walk carefully which strained my knees more than normal. See my post from a month ago to see her fast asleep in the pack.

No Trespassing Sign on Manitou Incline

The middle part of the Manitou Incline is owned by the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and they have a No Trespassing sign. They used to have it where it somewhat blocked the way but somebody kept destroying it.

Taking a Break on the Manitou Incline

Danielle stops for lots of drinks and snacks.

One of the Big Steps on the Manitou Incline

Some of the steps where ties are missing are nearly as high as Danielle.

Pasque Flower Along Barr Trail

The pasque flower is one of the sure signs of spring in the Pikes Peak region even though we still get snow storms. Each week we’ve been seeing flowers higher up Barr Trail.

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