Colorado February 2014

Dates: February 26 - March 1, 2014

People: Mark, Denny, Matt H.


  • 2-26 (Travel Day)
  • 2-27 (Barr Camp)
  • 2-28 (Pikes Peak)
  • 3-1 (Travel Day)


We left the house at 4:40pm to head for the airport. We might have left later but we wanted to get Luke back to Grace by 6pm for Weekday School. We said our good-byes at the curb and I headed into the airport. Check-in and security went as usual. Upon getting into the terminal I decided to get some walking done and so I went from one end to the other. This was also an exercise to see where I should get supper. After seeing all the choices, I opted for simplicity and ended up at McDonald’s. I ate my food there and then went on down to the gate. I was able to get some good reading in Aron Ralston’s “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” done on my Paperwhite before it was time to board.

We boarded on time but it was about 7:35pm for a 7:20pm flight when we finally pushed back from the gate. During the flight I was able to finish the Ralston book. It ended up being a pretty good read. I then started into Joe Tasker's "Everest: The Cruel Way", an account of the British winter expedition to tackle the West Ridge, and without oxygen. It was a roughly 3-hour flight into Denver. The stewards were great at making sure we had ample drinks for the longer flight. It was about 15 degrees outside when we left Detroit, and in the low 40s upon arrival in Denver.

The flight arrived a few minutes early, which was handy as Dad and Matt had already been there about 2 ½ hours. As usual Denver, though, was a little slow in getting the bags out. When they arrived I texted Matt and Dad and they were at the curb within minutes. Matt and Dad had gotten supper and then hit a Safeway for groceries while they awaited my arrival.

We enjoyed chatting it up on the drive down to Manitou Springs. Shared about Ralston's book and that got us into talking about Everest and various climbing books we'd read lately. At the Comfort Inn we got a nice room that even had a small balcony space (though hardly usable in winter). We spent the better part of an hour repacking our gear to be ready in the morning for the hike.

It was a real challenge deciding what clothes to pack and wear to start the hike. We know the first stretch heading up to Barr Camp could possibly be warm (40s). We also know the Friday summit push could be freezing cold. Likely will start with two thin capilene/coolmax layers and the gore-tex jacket and see if that is enough. Likely zip-off pants only on the bottom. Will pack the extra layers in the backpack. Based on recent beta we have made the group decision to leave snowshoes behind. Definitely not necessary up to Barr Camp. Deep snow is windblown and tracks pushed in above treeline.


We were up about 6:30am to get ready for the day. We got a good breakfast at the hotel and then decided to just get going to the trailhead. We figured it would be better to spend time up at Barr Camp than down here at the Hotel. The rest of today's events are in my Trip Report on the blog:

Pikes Peak Barr Trail Expedition Trip Report


All of today's events are in the Trip Report:

Pikes Peak Barr Trail Expedition Trip Report


All of the morning's events are in the Trip Report:

Pikes Peak Barr Trail Expedition Trip Report

We had at one point figured it would be easiest to repack all our gear for the airport while we were still at the Barr Trail trailhead. The cold temps and light snow changed our minds. We hopped in the car and drove on down into Manitou Springs. As we neared Colorado Springs we found a Pizza hut and decided to stop. With hopes it was a Buffet we were let down. Nevertheless we had their Big Dinner Box deal which got us two pizzas, breadsticks, and a side of wings. We scarfed it all down short just two pieces of pizza and a breadstick.

Upon finishing a hungry-man’s lunch and warming up we decided we’d best just do our re-packing there. It was still snowing and it was about 18 degrees outside but we took turns standing behind the Chevy Escalade rental and packing. We also took turns heading inside to the bathroom to change clothes.

On the drive to Denver we were re-routed around a massive accident on I-25. It had happened at 11am but had the interstate closed for 5 hours near that spot. We were fortunate not to get caught up in all of that.

We hit REI Flagship for about an hour. I returned a sleeping bag liner and instead got a backcountry inflatable pillow. They also had a Garage Sale going on which we browsed but didn’t really find anything.

As we neared the airport we were getting word that both of our flights were delayed. My flight was coming from Santa Ana and left an hour late. Not sure if that was related to weather or what. Their flight originated in Denver for Chicago and was still delayed by 20-30 minutes.

We found seats at an empty gate and lounged for 45 minutes. As my flight time neared we grabbed a snack at McDonald's and then parked at my gate. My flight was scheduled to leave at 5:50pm. The delay had us then set for 6:20pm. As they emptied people from the previous leg they then changed it to 6:30pm. We were board shortly after 6:30pm but didn't take off til around 6:50pm. Still hoping to make Detroit only 30 minutes late at 11:10pm.

Flight itself was pretty uneventful. I purchased the Southwest Wifi for the first time to stay in touch with Sarah via Google Voice texting. Also got a bunch of catch-up work done on my e-mail inbox and to do lists.

My flight did arrive at the gate near the late time of 11:10pm. Poor Sarah had driven all the way up to the airport on a snowy I-275 and also got yelled at by a cop when she sat in the long line of cars waiting at Arrivals. I made the drive home running only about 40mph all the way on 275. We discussed in hindsight it would have made much more sense for this 4-day trip to have simply parked my car at the airport and paid the money. Next time.

The End.