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On July 17, 1913 William Wayne Brown drove his car, the Bear Cat, 20 miles (32 km) to the summit.[10][11] The ascent took 5 hours and 28 minutes.

The uppermost portion of Pikes Peak, above 14,000 feet (4,267 m) elevation, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.[12][13]

Pikes Peak was the home of a ski resort from 1939 until 1984.[14]

There are several visitor centers on Pikes Peak, some with a gift shop and restaurant. These centers are located at the 6-mile (9.7 km) and 12-mile (19 km) markers of the toll road, plus one at the summit itself. Along with other food, the Summit House sells special high altitude doughnuts, frying up to 700 per hour. The doughnuts collapse or go mushy if transported to lower altitudes.[15]

There are several ways to ascend the mountain. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, the world's highest cog railroad,[16] operated from Manitou Springs to the summit, conditions permitting but closed in 2018. While the cog railroad is closed for refurbishing between 2017 and 2021, and a temporary shuttle system has taken part of its place, a number of outfitters have stepped in to provide transportation up the mountain.[17]

Road vehicles can be driven to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, a 19 mi (31 km) road that starts a few miles up Ute Pass at Cascade. The road has a series of switchbacks, treacherous at high speed, called "The W's" for their shape on the northwest side of the mountain. The road is maintained by the city of Colorado Springs as a toll road. A project to pave the remainder of the road was completed on October 1, 2011.[18] The project is in response to a suit by the Sierra Club over damage caused by the gravel and sediment that is constantly washed off the road into the alpine environment.[19][20] The road remained open during construction.

The Highway is famous worldwide for the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a motor race held since 1916. The short film Climb Dance features Ari Vatanen racing his Peugeot automobile up the steep, twisty slopes. It also hosts the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb (formerly Assault on the Peak), a cycling hillclimb race first held in 2010,[21] and the USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championships, a race first held in 2016.[22]

The most popular hiking route to the top is called Barr Trail, which approaches the summit from the east. The trailhead is just past the cog railway depot in Manitou Springs. Visitors can walk, hike, or bike the trail. Although the Barr Trail is rated only Class 1, it is a long and arduous hike with nearly 8,000 ft (2,400 m) of elevation gain, and a 13 mi (21 km) trip one-way. The Pikes Peak Marathon, a trail race held since 1956, is a round trip between the trailhead and the Pikes Peak. The Barr Trail Mountain Race is a 13 miles (21 km) round trip between the trailhead and Barr Camp. Another route begins at Crags Campground, approaching the summit from the west.[23]

Barr Trail can also be accessed via the Manitou Incline.

Since the end of 1922, the AdAmAn Club has been an unusual group of mountaineers who climb the icy slopes of Barr Trail on the east face of Pikes Peak each year on De

There are several ways to ascend the mountain. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, the world's highest cog railroad,[16] operated from Manitou Springs to the summit, conditions permitting but closed in 2018. While the cog railroad is closed for refurbishing between 2017 and 2021, and a temporary shuttle system has taken part of its place, a number of outfitters have stepped in to provide transportation up the mountain.[17]

Road vehicles can be driven to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, a 19 mi (31 km) road that starts a few miles up Ute Pass at Cascade. The road has a series of switchbacks, treacherous at high speed, called "The W's" for their shape on the northwest side of the mountain. The road is maintained by the city of Colorado Springs as a toll road. A project to pave the remainder of the road was completed on October 1, 2011.[18] The project is in response to a suit by the Sierra Club over damage caused by the gravel and sediment that is constantly washed off the road into the alpine environment.[19][20] The road remained open during construction.

The Highway is famous worldwide for the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a motor race held since 1916. The short film Climb Dance features Ari Vatanen racing his Peugeot automobile up the steep, twisty slopes. It also hosts the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb (formerly Assault on the Peak), a cycling hillclimb race first held in 2010,[21] and the USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championships, a race first held in 2016.[22]

The most popular hiking route to the top is called Barr Trail, which approaches the summit from the east. The trailhead is just past the cog railway depot in Manitou Springs. Visitors can walk, hike, or bike the trail. Although the Barr Trail is rated only Class 1, it is a long and arduous hike with nearly 8,000 ft (2,400 m) of elevation gain, and a 13 mi (21 km) trip one-way. The Pikes Peak Marathon, a trail race held since 1956, is a round trip between the trailhead and the Pikes Peak. The Barr Trail Mountain Race is a 13 miles (21 km) round trip between the trailhead and Barr Camp. Another route begins at Crags Campground, approaching the summit from the west.[23]

Barr Trail can also be accessed via the Manitou Incline.

Since the end of 1922, the AdAmAn Club has been an unusual group of mountaineers who climb the icy slopes of Barr Trail on the east face of Pikes Peak each year on December 30th, stay overnight at Barr Camp, and continue to the top on December 31. Then, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the thirty or so AdAmAn members and their guests ignite a glorious fireworks display from the summit to usher in the New Year.[24]

Since 1969, the summit of Pikes Peak has been the site of the United States Army Pikes Peak Research Laboratory, a medical research laboratory for the assessment of the impact of high altitude on human physiological and medical parameters of military interest.

On June 4, 2018 ground-breaking was held for a new 38,000 square feet (3,500 m2) Summit Complex which is being constructed next to the current Summit House. The older facility will remain open to the more than 600,000 visitors annually through the end of construction in the fall of 2020 or summer of 2021. Around 40 contractors are working on the $50 million project. The general contractor, G.E. Johnson Construction Co., estimates that about half of the budget is for materials, many of which are prefabricated in downslope shops, and the balance is for labor, because of the project's high standards and the rigors of working for a maximum of ​6 12 hours per day at such a high altitude during a short season of April to October. Heavy equipment and prefabricated building components are slowly moved up the mountain's highway in the middle of the night to avoid any car traffic. Ground conditions are bedrock and alpine permafrost, soil and rock that remains at or below freezing temperatures all year to depths of up to 200 feet (61 m), only warming above freezing in direct sunlight or due to external sources. Problems with excavation and blasting exist because the permafrost in the fractured granite actually absorbs energy. The project is being constructed to achieve both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification and Living Building Challenge. The new complex will include a visitor center, a communications facility for Colorado Springs Utilities, and the Army's High-Altitude Research Laboratory.[25][26][27][28]

At the peak, the partial pressure of oxygen is only about 60% of that at sea level. Water boils at 186 °F (86 °C) at 14,000 feet, rather than 212 °F (100 °C) at sea level.[29]

A faster rate of respiration is required by humans and animals not acclimated to high altitudes.[30] Altitude sickness may develop in those who are s

A faster rate of respiration is required by humans and animals not acclimated to high altitudes.[30] Altitude sickness may develop in those who are sensitive or who over-exert themselves.

The summit of Pikes Peak has a polar climate (ET) due to its elevation. Snow is a possibility any time year-round, and thunderstorms with high winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) or more are common in the afternoons.[31][32]

Surrounding areas have different climatic variations depending on location and elevation. Much of the area near Pikes Peak has a continental semiarid climate, while other areas would be classified as hemiboreal.