When in Colorado in July or August, I always try to squeeze in a 14er… I hadn’t done Pike’s yet, and hadn’t seen Gordo for two years since he paced me through Leadville… We got a bit of a late start, as Ben was on call until 6 a.m. and had a call come in that kept him up until 2, but eventually we were on the road a little after 7, picked up Gordo a little after 8, and made it to the trail head around 9 a.m.
This was going to be stout — 4300′ in 7 miles up, then back down. This just 2 days after the 20 miles Ben and I put in at an average of 11,000 ‘ over in Breck. But there were donuts waiting at the top! Pikes is one of those mountain summits that has a road to the top (as well as a train!), along with a gift shop, deli, etc. But we heard the donuts were good and were determined to earn them the hard way! :-)
(I did need to excuse myself from the mass crowd inside the building at the top — there’s something about big crowds in places like this that I get a bit agrophobic… Big crowds in big cities or stadiums, etc., never bother me, and “phobic” isn’t really the right word… But I guess there’s something I don’t care for about such close proximity to 500 or 1000 other people in settings like this. :-/)
I’d have to say this was my strongest 14er to date… I was feeling it on the 1st steep pitch up to 13,000′ or so, but there there’s a mile and a half flat/gradual ascent section before the final pitch, and that gave me a chance to recover. The final pitch of all my prior 14ers have been a slog, but I felt pretty good on this one. We arrived at the top roughly 30-45 minutes faster than I had expected!
Lots of photos below:
And some shots from Gordo: