Went up Manitou Incline and Pikes Peak 2 days ago... wanted to share my experience:
Hi, I went to Colorado Springs for a wedding (at Garden of The Gods, awesome btw) and couldnt resist going up a few hills. First off, its my first time in this area of the rockies and wow, Pikes Peak is impressive and can be seen from 60-80 miles away. Weather was perfect, nearly cloudless all day every day I was there. There was some wind but manageable even above treeline (30-40mph max).
On my first day I took it easy to get used to the altitude (I came from elev. 200 ft asl!). The next morning I went up the Manitou Incline to the bailout point and down the Barr trail. It was very good to get a taste of the climb. It was as tough as it looked. The Barr trail is beautiful throughout and smooth, I bet it can be done barefoot! (compared to the trails Im used to back home in the rainforest). The next day I went up the whole incline and back down the Barr trail and I really felt it afterwards, it was really tough and I nearly sprained and ankle on the way down when I didnt pay attention and my foot gave on a small rock. (props to my Five Ten camp Four shoes which helped in giving stability (saved me from a sprain) and amazing grip throught the hike)
At about 2pm that same day I got in the car and drove up pikes peak with my GF. All was well up until after the Glenn Cove when going up the switchbacks my GF freaked out and started complaining that she could go any further to please turn around, calling me names etc cursing, she freaked out. I was quietly very nervous and just concentrating on driving safely, not easy with someone freaking out besides you. There was no place to turn around until at or above devil's playground. Then the road got less scary since one could see ground beyond the edge of the road and not a sharp dropoff. My GF was freaking out, I could see the summit and didnt look too bad so I kept going, she was very very mad. We got to the summit we got out and it was cool and very windy. Even though it was a Sunday traffic was really almost nonexistant and there wasnt a zoo on the summit as I expected.
I felt the altitude, didnt feel too bad but felt "funny", although my GFrieds yelling and the stress of driving up didnt help.
I had my Marmot Driclime Catalyst wind jacket over my t shirt and it worked great in keeping me warm but my hands were cold (really an ideal piece for hiking in this dry, windy and cool weather). It was about 49F deg. compared to the 85F deg when we started up the road!
The alpine region of Pikes is really amazing but quite an unforgiving place and quite expansive, not great to be caught in bad weather. Its definately a place to have a hardshell jacket and maybe even hardshell pants even in the warmest part of the day. It was a 10 deg. above normal day and very dry and it was still cold. By contrast the climb up Incline/Barr was very very warm, easy 80-85. I guess if climbing from Manitou Springs a change of clothes is necessary at Barr camp.
I was impressed with the couloirs and cliffs below devil's playground that go down to Glenn Cove. They look awesome for climbing! (is it advisable in late june?)
I want to return to Pikes and really explore the alpine region on foot. Its really an amazing place.