Manitou Incline X 2


My intent this morning was to hike the incline twice:  one to see the sunrise, and again for the exercise.

I woke up at 5am, got a cup of coffee, and opened my front door to look at the mountains:  fog/clouds were covering them.  I couldn’t even see the light atop Pikes Peak.  That settled it:  I was going back to bed.

I woke up briefly again at 6:50 am to get the kids off to school, then snoozed until the cats woke me up at 11:10am.  I looked outside:  no serious clouds over the area I intended to hike.

I quickly made a quesadilla and downed it with a glass of milk (those of you who know me know what that means) and made it to the incline in record time.  As I was driving up Ruxton Ave I saw someone I’d met at the 14er Happy Hour, offered him a ride the rest of the way, but he declined (presumable because he was on a date).

It was frosty but not too cold (around 30 degrees) when I started.  I began at 12 noon and decided to take it slow, mainly because I intended to do this twice today.

I trudged along, leap frogging with Eric for a bit, and then finally hiking on my own for the last quarter mile or so.  I summited in 40 minutes, which was slow for me but reasonable since I’d intentionally paced myself.  I took a summit selfie to prove I’d made it, and continued back down (after chatting with the girl hiking with Eric:  she and I made it at about the same time… he was a bit behind).


The entire 3 miles back down the Barr Trail I debated if I should actually hike the incline again?  I wanted to, but I was worried I was short on time. I needed to be back for cookie appointments, and a shower was essential beforehand.  I could just go home and run for 40 minutes or so on the treadmill, but wasn’t that why I was out here today?  Because I didn’t WANT to run the treadmill?  I wanted to hike outside…

The trail was covered in snow… I was wearing microspikes and kind of walk/jogging my way down.  (Note to self:  get tighter pants, my yoga pants kept falling down as I tried to jog).


The last part of the Barr trail has a very small incline up about 15 steps.  I hiked up them and thought: “Nope, I’m done for the day, this hurts” and continued towards the parking lot.

I made it to my truck, realized it was only 1:30pm, and knew I had PLENTY of time to do it again.  So I did.  Why run on a treadmill when I could hike in the mountains?  I told myself I wouldn’t worry about time:  I’d just trudge on and see how long it took me.  I kept a slow and steady pace, and it was actually easier the second time.  Maybe because I’d warmed up?  Or maybe because I wasn’t worried about my time.  I met lots of fun people along the way, and summited in 42.57 minutes (we’ll go with 43 minutes).  Not too bad, considering it was my second time up today!


I again took the Barr Trail down, and when I was about a mile from my truck started texting my kids about pick-up, after school clubs, etc.  Emily actually wanted to stay an extra hour and a half, so I had plenty of time.  I mentally congratulated myself for making the right choice and hiking the incline twice.  All in all, today I did 4200’ of elevation gain, and just under 8 miles in 3 hours.  Woot!

I’m thinking this would be a proper 14er comparison if I could bump it up to 4 rotations.  Next time maybe I’ll try 3…

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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