Pikes Peak Question
I know, I know, there are better less crowded trails, but honestly, I need to get up there and I certainly don't want to take a train or drive... Or walk down
So my question is this: I thought about riding to Barr Camp and locking my bike up there before hiking the rest, or just riding/carrying up the whole thing. Which is better? I made it up to the top of the incline on Barr Trail without any trouble, but I'm sure it gets worse. I'm not afraid of carrying my bike, but sounds like it's hardly worth it as the descent isn't all that great above tree line anyways. Advice, ideas, chastising?
I've ridden up as far as timberline and stashed my bike before. That's actually a very good way to summit Pikes since you don't have to walk down (other than the 3 miles from the top to the timberline). The section from the top of the incline to timberline is pretty decent singletrack--it's just the first ~3 miles and the last ~3 miles that suck.
As a trail, Barr isn't that bad really, but I do go out of my way to discourage shuttling of it for several reasons. The main one is that there are several shuttle options within a 2 hour drive that are 1) more fun and 2) toll free. I do have the alterior motive that Barr is a HIGHLY hiked and highly visible trail in the community and the last thing we need is a local conflict issue (since Colorado Springs is Nirvana in my opinion).
Thats more along what I was thinking.. Maybe lock it to the A-frame or something. I hate walking down, and my knees hate it even more.
I thought the switchbacks up to the top of the incline were pretty fun, I only went fast when I could see all the trail in front was clear. Hell, I even pulled off and yielded for the ones that didn't immediately do it for me. I thanked those ones. Did get a few glares though. Being unemployed and all, I can do it in the middle of the week so I won't see as many hikers.
I recently rode Pikes for the first time. I agree with Kristian that it wouldn't be worth shuttling, for many reasons. I'd only consider riding it (up and down) on a weekday, too. Barr Trail gets an incredible amount of traffic. Bad for you (annoying, no flow) and bad for cycling / potential conflict.
But I found it to be an incredible ride. I wrote some about it:
In short, if you think you can make it to the top, I'd encourage you to do it. In my opinion everything but the last "16 golden stairs" was worth riding, both up and down. Your experience may vary, of course. But I was pleasantly surprised by it all, especially having ridden (walked) other 14ers.
Yes, the Pikes ride is fun - despite the traffic, and it actually wasn't bad this weekend.
I dropped from the summit on Saturday with my girlfriend and we took our time. This took 5 and a half hours. I dropped form the summit again on Sunday morning and did it in 1 and a half. The joke that I kept making was that the 16 golden stairs seem more like 100 golden stairs. I definitely had to walk alot at the top but on Sunday I wore full armor and was able to clean nearly all of it. Although I scratched the **** out of my chainstays and bent my deraillier a bit.
Usually I start from Elk Park but I would say that if you do it - do it from the summitt. You won't be disappointed. Oh, and start as early as you can.
Thanks for the input, I do plan on riding up too (shuttling just seems wrong) and judging by pictures seems pretty good up to the stairs. Thanks for the link Krein, I promise I'll register topofusion once I get a job!
I did this ride 2 summers ago on a hardtail with 80 MM travel fork & V-brakes. Time up was 5 hours, down was 3 hours. Most of the time was spent well-above timberline as I THINK I made it to Barr camp in only 45 minutes ?????
I'm honestly not sure if that's right as I'm just going off my memory and I was suffereing from severe brain damage after that ride. I knew, though that I could have ridden the downhill a lot faster if I had not been so exhausted from the uphill. My wrist, neck, and back were killing me afterwards. I would not wish that ride on anyone except my very worst enemies. Not fun at all ........
It seems that you can make great progress until you hit a little bit below timberline. Then after that there is way too much short hike-a-bike sections and the soil that makes up the trail tread is so hard to maintain traction on becouse it's loose crushed granite gravel. At a lower altitude it might be easy to power through it, but up there you have to measure every effort. For comparison, I've ridden Mt Evans on a road bike many times and this was at least 5 times as hard.
Considering riding to Elk Park, stash the bike, and hitch a ride from there. All of it is ridable except for a very short section above severy creek.
Bring a filter, instead of carrying all your water. Barr camp will sell you bottled water. It is 7 miles and 3000' to the camp, so loaded down with food, clothes, and some water it'll take a bit - for me it is 1:15 unloaded and sprinting, 1:30-1:40 loaded and taking it easy.
The most important thing about this is going down- don't ride Barr trail all the way down, especially the Mt Manitou switchbacks. Take the Experimental Forest Road, upper entrance 2 miles below Barr Camp, go North, then take the Ute Indian Trail near highway 24 to get back to Manitou. There are two entrances to this road, one at the 3.5m mark from the trailhead, just above the main incline entrance to Barr Trail. The other, upper entrance, is at the 5mile mark from the trailhead. This upper entrance is much better, and easier to ride, but hard to find the start of. Going uphill, near the 5mile mark, notice the view of the peak on your left, unobstructed. Keep going, you will enter a stand of timber, and on your right it will slope uphill. Look for a faint trail there, it immediately turns to double track. Head north. Take a left at the T, climb for a couple hundred yards, then descend like a madman all the way to the Ute Indian Trail, just above Highway 24. You missed it if you are heading up barr trail and you hit one of the very few downhill sections near the 5.3 mile mark.
This road is incredible - and after the ascent race is pristine since they maintain it to support the runners. It is full of medium sized rolling water bars with steep, visbile landings. Go slow and you just roll over them. Go medium and fast and you will get tons of air, barely landing before being thrown back up in the air by the next one. And, No hikers, hardly ever. I was just on it 1.5 weeks ago, it is in fine shape, no ruts. It will be on your top 5 descents if you like air and dropping fast on fireroads. Views are awesome here too - you can see this road by looking at the peak, North of the Incline mark, cutting a steady steep line across the foothills.