Climbing the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak

4:51 p.m. on August 8, 2015 (EDT)
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In preparation for my Mt. Rainier trip in September, I'm taking a quick trip out to Colorado to climbing Pikes Peak next week. I'm planning to arrive Thursday evening and spend Friday with the family at Garden of the Gods to help acclimate to the higher elevations.

Friday evening I plan to have the wife drop me off at the trailhead for Barr. Then I'm going to hike 2-4 hours, spend the night in the national forest around 10,000', and complete the hike by late morning on Saturday. My family will meet me at the top for the drive down.


I know it's bear country, and I will need to hang my food bag.

I also know to be aware of lightening storms (that's why I'm not attempting the full climb in just one day. I don't want to get caught above tree line in a storm & since I'm a rookie to high elevations, I thought the above plan was wiser.)

I won't do a campfire, but plan to cook on my alcohol stove. I did not see any prohibitions on either, but I'm not a big fan of the former outside of car camping.


Do I need to be concerned about mountain lions if I'm hiking solo at dusk and dawn? Last time I was in Colorado Springs, I saw a posted sign near Garden of the Gods warning people not to walk alone at night because of mountain lions.

10:15 p.m. on August 8, 2015 (EDT)
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Goose,

People are getting very jumpy now when it comes to predators. There is too much information about them all the time. I have spent lots of time in Colorado and Wyoming. When you get to higher elevations, there is little habitat to support bears or mountain lions.

I was at the edge of tree line this week in the Sierras. I looked hard for signs of predators and found none at all. That said, always be ever vigilant. Carry bear spray on the belt of your pack, not in the pack. Make some noise when you are in cover or in low light conditions. You are not likely to have any interactions with predators at higher elevations.

10:26 p.m. on August 8, 2015 (EDT)
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I didn't think about bear spray, ppine. Do you really think I need it?

Predators have only been a secondary concern of mine. I'm more antsy about dealing with possible Altitude Sickness and summer storms above the tree line. 

Of course, when you have seen a sign telling you not to walk alone after dark, that does make you think. I was staying at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center 6 or 7 years ago, and signs in our room told us not to walk alone at night. It snowed overnight, and the next morning, I found mountain lion tracks in the snow on the trail behind my cabin.

11:10 a.m. on August 9, 2015 (EDT)
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I always carry bear spray after so many bear incidents in Alaska. It gives me peace of mind. 

 Altitude and the weather are absolutely your greatest hazards. Be careful with both of them.

7:21 a.m. on August 10, 2015 (EDT)
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Are you going to stay at or in the vicinity of the Barr Camp?  http://www.barrcamp.com/

I lived in Colorado for over a decade and never had an encounter with bears or mountain lions.  I spent a great deal of time in remote backcountry areas especially on numerous segments of the Colorado Trail.  There's enough natural prey available for mountain lions that they won't normally go after an adult human but they will stalk small children and pets who are unattended.  I hiked and mountain biked at night and didn't have issues, but, obviously, I could have been very lucky or I made enough noise and looked large enough that the lion didn't want to tangle with me.  Generally though this time of year, there's enough human activity with climbing 14er's and such, that the wildlife in general tend to move out of the high use areas so you should be fine.  

I think your plan for using a stove instead of a campfire is a wise decision.  

8:18 a.m. on August 10, 2015 (EDT)
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Well, it's all a mute point now!


I just discovered this morning that the Pikes Peak Marathon is this weekend--1,800 runners on the trail on Saturday.

Guess I'm not going. :(

7:14 a.m. on August 12, 2015 (EDT)
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I had plans to climb Mt Lindsey in July but due to heavy rains, the 4wd road to the trailhead was buried in a landslide blocking it 2 miles from the actual trailhead.  Forest service said it may be years before they reopen it.  

10:01 a.m. on August 12, 2015 (EDT)
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Rob,

Walk the extra two miles and no one will be there.

3:02 a.m. on August 13, 2015 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Rob,

Walk the extra two miles and no one will be there.

 Already considered it.  Problem is there is a private land issue.  Forest service cut off public access 6 miles from original trailhead and the now buried FS road travels through private property.  Mtn biking on the old road might be an option, however.

12:54 a.m. on August 15, 2015 (EDT)
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It is a one day event and it should be just a memory (albeit a messy trail) the next day.  Barr Trail is about 12 miles one way.  It could be a longer day trip especially if you can get a ride down.

From timberline up is seemingly a long slog. One consideration is that altitude affects will be a bit more noticeable the next day if you spend the night above 10,000 (Barr Camp area).  The trick is to get up and down before your body catches on you are too high.

If you are within a month of Rainier, it shouldn't be a bad day trip up for you.  The trick of high altitude summits is to learn and practice a steady gait that doesn't cause you a lot of stops to gasp.


60 miles north is Mt Evans with the same elevation gain and a longer trail AND a road at the top.

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-evans/150481


Getting to 14,000' won't exactly equate to Mt Rainier a month later.  But if you are coming from near sea level 12,000 will give your body a good whack. You might consider Mt Elbert.  By the time you would have hiked to the flats behind Mt Manitou you could be starting up something grand.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=39.11289,-106.42871&z

Its between Buena Vista and Leadville.  It is a shorter day hike up and down.  If you leave Colorado Springs before day break you'd be off the top before thundershowers happen...and kick the highest mountain in Colorado.  300 more feet above 14,000' adds a 'Rainier Push'.  Your wife can visit Leadville and other places while you are having fun.

Once you are shielded from Leadville the cell phone reception is spotty.  We had good connection from the summit to call in transportation from Colo Spgs. (Broken tie rod - and we never left the trail head parking lot). Karma happens.

April 4, 2020
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