Conditions weren't too bad, just a lot of powdery snow drifts but the wind, to be expected, was brutal.
Started just before 4am and summited just before 10am. Then the rain, hail, lightning moved in..... VERY scary at Devil's Playground! The thunder/lightning was right on top of us. We did everything right by getting an alpine start and summiting long before noon, but the mountain had other plans for us. Oh, and the forecast was for a bluebird day with temps in the 80's! Next morning, Pikes was covered in snow...
Stormy weather, mashed-potato snow, postholing crotch high in places made for frustrating and tiring hike. Definitely worth it.
Crags NW approach allowed us to wake up at a reasonable hour in Denver to climb. Started at 7am, summit at 1pm, down at 6pm. Nice trail till tree line (at 11,800') then increasing post-holing (up to our calfs) in places. Warm day, rain storms with a little wind, but could of been worse with the notorious lightening inside the playground. Face protection ideal for the ice pellets/exposure.
Camped at Crags Campground and had a great solo climb.
Winter ascent. The best way to get this peak if you don't like crowds.
Done this route numerous times. It's so much better than hiking through the crowds on the Barr Trail. Favorite time is Spring on tele skis; coming down the bowl from Devil's Playground is a blast!
We camped the night before and summited Pikes and the Devils Playground on Saturday.
Trail was clear except for some snow patches near the road. It was a lot better than hiking Barr Trail since I didn't have hundreds of trail runners and tourists to contend with. It also has great views after you get past the treeline.
I had a really fun time on this hike, even though the wind was pretty wicked after getting up to the road crossing. I found the road super obnoxious. I think that some EF! action is warranted to get this road, ummmm, "closed"... let tourists take the cog RR and cut off the steady stream of SUVs that detracts from the experience of this mountain. I guess next time I'll try a different route. Lovely hike, though, and a great view!
Ended my vist to the ridges on the north and east side of Pikes on this trail, very well marked.
This was 50th climb of this route! And my 61st time to summit pikes! maybe i hold some sort of record?
I have never done Barr's Trail, but this seems like a much better alternative.