Pikes Peak is a 14k peak towering over the City of Manitou Springs and the surrounding area. It serves as a training ground for elite trail runners, alpinists, and outdoor enthusiasts and is home to the third oldest marathon and first to allow women to compete in America, the Pikes Peak Marathon. The Pikes Peak Backslap combines the two popular trade routes up, and down, Pikes Peak (14,110'); the Barr Trail and Crags Trail. Together, these two trails unite to birth the Pikes Peak Backslap!
- Start at the traditional Pikes Peak Marathon (PPM) Start (Manitou Springs City Hall and Memorial Park)
- Ascend Pikes Peak by Barr Tail, entering from PPM Runner's gate
- Summit Pikes Peak, tag summit sign (13.5mi, +7370')
- Descend Crags Trail to Crags TH (6.7 mi, -4260')
- Ascend Crags Trail to Pikes Peak Summit, tag summit sign (6.7 mi, +4260')
- Descend Pikes Peak by Barr Trail, exiting through the PPM Runner's gate
- Finish where you started at the traditional PPM Start (13.5mi, -7370')
I did this back in 2015 with some buddies, starting at Crags instead. We called it the "Pikes Peak Pain Train" but Backslap is quite accurate! Before I knew who Zach Miller was, we saw him summit at sunrise, take a wiz around the summit house without breaking stride, and blast back down Barr. Then he sold us Gatorade on our way back up from Manitou.
I wonder which start is more mentally challenging, starting from Crags or Manitou? Either way, Pain Train sounds pretty accurate!