www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Pikes Peak Summit Sign with Roger J. Wendell and Tom and Linda Jagger - 06-10-2006
Pikes Peak and Barr Camp
Colorado - and no place else!
14,110 feet - 4,301 meters/metres

 

 

In 1803 Pikes Peak came under American control through the Louisiana Purchase. President Jefferson dispatched Zebulon Montgomery Pike to determine the Louisiana Purchase's southwestern borders. Pike tried to climb the peak on November 24, 1806 from the Pueblo area, but was forced back by a blizzard. The first recorded ascent of Pikes Peak was by Dr. Edwin James, doctor, botanist and historian, and two others from an expedition led by Major Stephen H. Long on July 14, 1820. Major Long gave the doctor's name to the mountain, but Pikes Peak soon became the official name, as shown by military maps of 1835.

"Pikes Peak or Bust" became the symbol and slogan of gold seekers in the 1850s. In 1858 Julia Archibald Holmes became the first woman to climb Pikes Peak. She made the ascent with the Lawrence party and stayed on top for two days. Mrs. Holmes is also known as the "Bloomer Girl" because of the bloomers she wore while climbing the mountain. In 1889 the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad was built. In 1901 the first automobile to reach the summit (on August 12th) was a two cylinder Locomobile Steamer driven by C.A. Yont and W.B. Felker. In 1914 improvements to the trail up the east face of Pikes Peak were undertaken by Fred Barr and his father. Their work was completed in December of 1918 and is now known as Barr Trail.

Nowadays the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs have been somewhat abusive with Pikes Peak (They've encouraged roads, car races, trains, restaurants and everything else up to the summit) but things were starting to change; A 2000's era Sierra Club lawsuit requiring them to control roadside erosion was in the works. And people, in general, seemed more interested in exploring the mountain on foot than they had in the past (as evidenced by all the interest in Barr Camp).

Nevertheless, whether you hike to the top, take the Cog Railway, or drive by car, the summit of Pike's Peak is always an interesting place! The base of the mountain is about an hour and a half from my home in the Denver area so I don't get to hike it as often as I'd like. Still, the Barr Trail itself is a great workout that's provided me lots of pleasure over the past few years (and you can see, further below, where I've written a lot about it, in addition to a lot of pictures).

The remainder of this page features the occasional hike with friends and family - although I hope you'll find it interesting I'd be even more delighted if you did a bit of hiking up Pikes Peak yourself! It doesn't have to be Pike's Peak - just getting out in Nature does a lot for our soul and outlook on life and the natural world. Hope to see you out there sometime - happy trails!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado

 

Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my 12ers page...
Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my 13ers page...
Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my 14ers page...
Ten Essentials Click Here for the Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!

 

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(Click on any of this page's "thumbnail" images for a larger view!)

Barr Camp

(Anthony and Renee's photo posted with permission)

Renee Labor and Anthony Duricy - 2013
Anthony and Renee
Anthony Duricy and Roger J. Wendell - 02-09-2014
Me and Anthony
Please remove your spikes at Barr Camp! - 02-09-2014
Please remove your spikes!
For me, Barr Camp is a big part of the Pikes Peak experience. I've hiked to the top of Pikes Peak, many times, but have also satisfied myself with pleasant walks halfway up to Barr Camp and then back down again. Total roundtrip distance, from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak, is about 26 miles (42 kilometres) with Barr Camp, itself, being about 7 miles (11 kilometres) up from Manitou Springs.

Barr Camp remains a pleasant oasis for hikers enjoying Pikes Peak and the surrounding forest. Fred Barr built the trail, for burro rides to the summit, during the years of 1914-1918. The Barr Trail originally started at the top of the adjacent (and now exercise route) "incline" rail that took tourists 2,000 feet (610 metres) up above the Cog Railway depot in Manitou Springs. The Forest Service, using Civilian Conservation Corps workers, added the lower three miles of trail in the 1920s.

Fred Barr built Barr Camp in 1922 to 1924 as a halfway overnight stop for his burro trips to the summit and other trails on the mountain. At the time there were three cabins at Barr Camp but one of them, along with a burro barn, burned in the early 1970's. Although Fred Barr never owned the land he did have exclusive rights to the burro concession from the Forest Service. The burro concession continued after his death, in 1940, until 1959 when the camp was abandoned. Suffering from years of vandalism, the Mennonite Church took over the camp's lease and worked to rebuild the cabins and grounds in 1964. The church had trouble maintaining the camp so some hikers, in the late 1970's, got together to save the camp before the Forest Service was about to raze the buildings.

Through the hard work and donations of hikers, and others, the camp was revived with it becoming a non-profit organization in the 1990's. Caretakers have been operating the camp, on a continuous basis, since 1979. It's been my pleasure, over the years, to have met a great many of the regular, and temporary vacation relief folks, who have been taking care of Barr Camp so well - further below you can see photographs of the various people and caretakers I've encountered at Barr Camp and along the trail to Pikes Peak. It's always been a warm and welcoming community that's full of friendship and good cheer!

- Roger J. Wendell
February 2014

 

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June 10, 2006
Hike to the top

Tom and Linda Jagger are Pikes Peak experts having climbed the mountain more times than anyone I've ever known. Even now that they live further away, up in Denver, they still hike, jog, and train on the mountain whenever possible. One Saturday, just two days before some scheduled surgery for me they asked that I join them. My doctor said it was okay so off we went to the "Crags" trailhead at around 10,000 feet.
Pikes Peak Highway - 06-10-2006
Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway - 06-10-2006
Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway - 06-10-2006
Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Devil's Playground - 06-10-2006
Devil's Playground
Pikes Peak Highway Elevation Sign - 06-10-2006
Elevation 3,962 metres
Pikes Peak Use Low Gear - 06-10-2006
Use Low Gear...
Pikes Peak Summit House Sign for Hikers - 06-10-2006
Sign for Hikers
Pikes Peak Summit House Tom and Linda Jagger - 06-10-2006
Tom and Linda Jagger
Pikes Peak Summit Parking - 06-10-2006
Summit Parking
Pikes Peak Summit - 06-10-2006
Summit
It was a partly cloudy, cool and windy day with most of the trail completely to ourselves. Of course its 4,000 feet of elevation gain eventually took us through the "Devils Playground" (an area prone to frequent Lightning strikes) and then alongside the busy Pikes Peak Highway.

Total roundtrip distance, from the Crags Trailhead and back again, is about 14 miles. It took the three of us 3:59 hours to reach the very top - a bit slower than what Tom and Linda are probably accustomed to due to my slightly weakened physical condition and some photo opportunities (see below...). Anyway, once on top we hung around for a while to watch the other tourists while we ate some french-fries and other "health" food. The hike back down took us 2:52 hours

 

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YouTube Logo Click Here for my YouTube video of an inside tour of Barr Camp!

 

December 24, 2005
Barr Trail

It was Christmas Eve when Darin, Barbara and I decided to hike the Barr Trail as a last bit of preparation for our Ecuador climb the following week. Despite one third of the trail being packed ice we still made it up in good time (It took me exactly 2 hours, 17 minutes and 14 seconds, according to my stopwatch...) and both Neil and Teresa were at the door greeting us and everyone else who made the trek that day.

When we stepped into the cabin to enjoy the Christmas cheer and hospitality provided by Neil and Teresa they mentioned a lady from India had used my web site (this very page!) for her own planned trip to Barr camp! I was pleased that somebody found my site useful but thought it would be cool if there was a picture of Neil and Teresa here as well. They both agreed so here are the shots we took of all five of us that bright and warm Christmas Eve afternoon at Barr camp:

Teresa and Neil Taylor at Barr Camp - 12-24-2005
Teresa and Neil Taylor
Neil, Tereas and Roger Wendell at Barr Camp - 12-24-2005
Neil, Teresa and me!
Neil, Teresa, Darin, and Barbara Study a Map of Michigan at Barr Camp - 12-24-2005
Map of Michigan...
Teresa Taylor's Open Hand for the Birds of Barr Camp - 12-24-2005
An open hand for birds...
A Bird Feeds out of Teresa's hand at Barr Camp - 12-24-2005
A bird on Teresa's hand!

Changing of the Guard:
 
On May 7, 2005 (Saturday) I found myself at Barr Camp once again. Greg and Stephanie were preparing to leave by week's end. Neil and Teresa, from Monument, were there as well - they were the new caretakers-in-training that took over for Greg and Stephanie. Although Greg and Stephanie have been missed it's clear that Neil and Teresa have created their own "niche" and were doing a fantastic job as well! One change, that's especially interesting to me, is that Neil and Teresa are vegetarians and decided not to serve or sell meat at Barr Camp!! Some hikers, to my amazement, grumbled about this change but I can assure you, gentle reader, that most of us can easily go a day or two without meat - we'll be okay!!!

Oh, here's a bit of an addendum: The "guard" changed again, in September of 2013, as Anthony and Renee took over from Neil and Teresa. I first met Renee as she was hiking back down to town on February 9th, 2014 while a friend and I were on our way up to the cabin. Once at the cabin I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony for the first time, too (A picture of he and I together is further up this page). It's obvious that each set of caretakers bring their own magic to Barr Camp - regardless who has ever been running the place I've always felt welcomed and comfortable there and am sure you will too!

Click Here for everything you ever wanted to know about Barr Camp!

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New Year's Day, 2005:
Winter ascent!

On January 1st, 2005 Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) leaders Tom and Linda Jagger led eight others of us up that steep and winding trail to the top of Pikes Peak. Our happy little band of mountaineers was comprised of me, Tom Jagger, Linda Jagger, Janet Farrar, John, Scott, Marilyn, Greg German, Mark, and Frank - all reaching the top in well under five hours from Barr Camp.

As you can see from other photos on this page, Pike's Peak can be a pretty busy place. However, winter conditions like this New Year's Day climb really thin the crowds out as the AdAmAn Club was the only other group willing to populate the mountain under such cold and snowy conditions...

Roger at Original Summit House
Me at original summit house
Weather, on the summit, was an unexpectedly "warm" -6 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit) punctuated by extremely strong wind gusts. The sky was mostly clear with visibility good to the horizon in every direction.

All of these New Year's photos were taken by me except for the one of me in the cabin - I think Tom took that one, and
the one of me and Tom in front of the cabin was probably taken by John or Mark...

Linda and Roger
Linda and me
Junk on top of Pikes Peak
Junk on the top
Pikes Peak Tourist Lookout
Tourist lookout
Pikes Peak Weather Station
Weather Station
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Cog Railway at the top
Pikes Peak A Frame
"A" Frame at 11,900 feet
John, Scott and Mark
John, Scott and Mark
Janet, John, Marilyn and Mark
Janet, John, Marilyn & Mark
Roger at Barr Camp Cabin
me
Tom makes a point
Tom makes a point
Roger and Tom at Barr Camp Cabin
me and Tom
Janet at Barr Campt Cabin
Janet
Stephanie runs Barr Camp
Stephanie runs Barr Camp
Greg helps Stephanie
Greg helps Stephanie
Scott, Tom and Linda
Scott, Tom and Linda
Don Ellis's 97th climb up Pikes Peak!
Don Ellis' 97th climb!
John and Janet
John and Janet
Marilyn warms her legs
Marilyn warms her legs
Marilyn and Mark read the map
Marilyn, Mark & the map...
Barr Camp Bird House
Barr Camp Bird House
Ice Cold Barr Water
Ice cold Barr water...
Welcome to Barr Camp!
Welcome to Barr Camp!
Barr Camp Compost
Barr Camp compost
Bottomless Pit 4 miles away
Bottomless pit 4 miles
Barr trail Warning Sign
Warning
Sign
Sign of the times
Barr trailhead
Barr trailhead
Marilyn Finishes the 26 Miles
Marilyn finishes 26 miles
Linda and Janet finish 26 miles
Linda and Janet finish
Scott finishes 26 miles
Scott finishes 26 miles
John finishes 26 miles
John finishes 26 miles
Mark finishes 26 miles
Mark finishes 26 miles
Janet, Mark and Marilyn
Janet, Mark & Marilyn
Mark's Leisure Shoes
Mark's comfort shoes...
Janet's License Plate
Janet's license plate

 

The trip was described in the CMC's Winter 2004-2005 Activity Schedule as follows:

Friday-Sunday
December 31 - January 2

Pikes Pk. 14,109'
Barr trail - Difficult D, On trail

Experience a unique New Years event. Friday, hike to Barr Camp, view fireworks up close weather permitting. Sat., attempt summit and return to Barr Camp. Sun., hike out, drive home. Preference given to summiteers. Ice axe and instep crampons recommended. Pkes Pk/Manitou Springs. 26/7,400' 150 mi. Register with leader Linda Jagger and Thomas Jagger. Limit 10. (trip #28592)

 

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July 03, 2006:
Cog Railway

As luck would have it, we finally got a chance to ride the Pike's Peak Cog Railway over the 2006 Independence Day holiday. It was somewhat overcast but a pretty good ride with light snow and 35 degrees on the summit!

Pikes Peak Cog Railway Cog Wheel - 07-03-2006
Cog Wheel
Pikes Peak Cog Railway Amber and Roger - 07-03-2006
Amber & Roger
Pikes Peak Cog Railway Roger and Donna - 07-03-2006
Roger & Donna
Pikes Peak Cog Railway Cog Wheel - 07-03-2006
Roger, Garrett & Lisa
Pikes Peak Cog Railway going uphill - 07-03-2006
Uphill Train & Brian's hat...
In the last photo, in addition to Brian's "Sooners" hat, you can see the car ahead of us going up the steep hill. The conductor said that the grade can be as much as 25 percent along portions of the Pikes Peak cog railway...

 

1901 Summit Photo:

Pikes Peak Summit - 1901

 

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Links:

  1. 12ers
  2. 13ers
  3. 14ers
  4. Acongcagua - a 2004 Bonowski/CMC trip...
  5. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  6. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  7. AIARE - The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
  8. Alpine Resuce Team - Evergreen, Colorado
  9. Amazonia
  10. American Avalanche Association
  11. Backcountry Skiing
  12. Barr Camp
  13. Camping
  14. Climbing
  15. Colorado
  16. Colorado Avalanche Information Center
  17. Bear Safety
  18. Climbing
  19. Climbing Photos
  20. CMC Activity Schedule
  21. CMC by me
  1. CMC Main Page
  2. CORSAR - Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card
  3. Gear - Stuff for the Backcountry...
  4. Ecuador
  5. High Altitude Medicine Guide
  6. Hiking
  7. Incline Friends - Manitou Springs
  8. Leave No Trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics
  9. Lightning Safety
  10. LOJ - Lists of John
  11. Margy's Hut
  12. Peakbagger.com
  13. Pikes Peak Summit Cam
  14. Sierra Club
  15. Summit Post
  16. Survival in the backcountry
  17. Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!
  18. Travel
  19. Travel Two
  20. Walking softly in the backcountry
  21. Waypoints

 

Warning! Climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing are dangerous and can seriously injure or kill you. By further exploring this web site you acknowledge that the information presented here may be out of date or incorrect, and you agree not to hold the author responsible for any damages, injuries, or death arising from any use of this resource. Please thoroughly investigate any mountain before attempting to climb it, and do not substitute this web site for experience, training, and recognizing your limitations!

 

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