After a little over 10 years, I finally completed the last of the Colorado 14ers with an ascent of Pike’s Peak!  When I first climbed Mt. Democrat on July 1, 2006, I had no idea that I’d ever come close to finishing all the 14ers…at that point all I knew was that they were supposed to be crazy difficult and that people sometimes died on them.  Climbing one was a big deal for me, and it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I even attempted my 2nd and 3rd.  Once I’d gotten about 10 or so under my belt, I kind of figured that I’d at least get half of them knocked out, but of course after doing half, I decided that there was no good reason not to finish them all.  It’s been a fun project, and has gotten me out to some of the most beautiful spots in the state, as well as introduced me to some amazing friends and climbing partners.

I’d deliberately saved Pike’s for last so that it would be easy for people to join me.  Folks who were interested in the climb could come along on a relatively simple class 2  hike, and people who didn’t want to hike could drive up to the top with celebration beers.  Win-win for everyone, especially me!

The climb itself was pretty easy; a nice well defined trail starting in pine trees, moving up to a ridgeline above treeline, crossing the Pike’s Peak road a couple of times and then topping out after a brief class 2 scramble over some rocks.  The hiking group passed the driving group on the road, and it was great to have people waving at us from the top yelling encouragement.  Steph and Jim had brought a bottle of champagne that we opened and drank right at the top before moving on to the summit house for group photos.  Pikes is such a surreal mountain since there is both a road and a cog-rail that goes up to the top.  Being surrounded by lots of out of shape people who were browsing at the gift shop and talking loudly was odd, but it was kind of nice to know that I’d done something that most of them would never even attempt.  After a celebratory donut, (seriously, they have amazing donuts at the gift shop!), we headed back down into a pretty good rainstorm, but managed to dry out before hitting a brewpub back in Manitou Springs.  Thanks to everyone who came out; it was an amazing day!

The route down

The route down

Total distance: 14.62 mi
Max elevation: 14127 ft
Total climbing: 5039 ft
Total Time: 08:25:26

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