Peak(s):  Pikes Peak  -  14,110 feet
Date Posted:  01/06/2012
Date Climbed:   01/06/2012
Author:  mlayman09
 Pikes Peak- Northwest Slopes winter edition   

This past summer, I was a staff member at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I decided to come back during the winter to experience Colorado in the winter time. I had my heart set on Pikes Peak via from the beginning, since it is the highest peak
in the camp area.

I started out at 6:30am and began the trek up the road to the Crags/Devils Playground trailhead.
I had heard about hydration bladders freezing in cold weather, and sure enough in the first half mile, mine froze. I was able to squeeze a little out at a time, but I had to resort to eating snow for most of the climb. This, as one can imagine, does not satisfy one's thirst. But God certainly gave me strength, I still don't know how I made it with minimal water other than by His power.

The trail from the Crags campground is well traveled and packed. Snowshoes were not necessary, even though I had them. Once I reached treeline, I picked the path with little to no snow, which proved to be good at the moment but not so good once I reached the ridge. I realized I had not reached the saddle, but instead was about 1/4 mile below it. So I had to backtrack across the ridge to the saddle and from there I took the trail to the Devils Playground parking area.

As soon as I reached the road, I took that the rest of the way up. It may have added more distance, but certainly was easier. At this point I was taking a break every 10 minutes. With a heavy pack and only having been at altitude for 4 days prior (I'm from Virginia) the breaks were necessary. I met a ranger who was looking at Bighorn sheep in the distance and she let me have a look through here binoculars which was really cool.

From the time I reached the ridge to about a mile from the summit, there was ZERO wind, despite NOAA's forecast for a 10-15mph wind. Again, God's faithfulness was very much apparent. Even at the summit, there was only a mild breeze. I reached the summit at 11:00am and crashed in a booth in the restaurant and drank heavily from there water fountains. I knew it would be wise to get a ride down, given my exhaustion. I was hiking by myself, which also put me at risk if I were to fall on the rather treacherous slopes down. I met a very nice Irish man who readily agreed to take me into Woodland Park. We had a grand time talking about mountain climbing, Colorado, etc. Once into Woodland Park I was able to call someone at camp and have them come pick me up. I still can't believe what happened today. God be praised.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

Nice Climb!
01/07/2012 00:12
Very lucky to have no wind. Better off drinking the small amounts you can get from the bladder than eating snow, it lowers your body temp and causes further dehydration, just for future winter climb advice

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