Manitou Incline Repairs Update

Manitou Incline Repairs 2014

A lot of work has been done on the Incline over the last couple months. Much of it has been to reduce the erosion issues along the side of the ties. On the steep section where the ties were in the worst condition, a section has been replaced with new timbers. The new timbers are anchored into the mountain side to reduce the chance they’ll slide down the slope.

Below you can see photos of some of the work done around the Barr bail trail. Note: these photos are courtesy of the Colorado Springs Park and Rec department and the Incline is still closed to the public during repairs.

The cold and snow last week slowed progress on the repairs. Not only does bad weather make it hard for the crews to work on the Incline but it affects scheduling of the helicopter that is being used to lift gravel and supplies up to the work site. The helicopter is only available when it’s not being used on its primary contracts with other companies.

I spoke with the project manager, Sarah Bryarly, last week. She said the crew from Timberline Landscaping is working hard to stay on schedule. However, she thought that it’s unlikely the Incline will open on December 1st but she expects that it’ll still be sometime the first week of December.

Want to be one of the first few up the Incline to see the repairs? The Incline Friends are offering an opportunity to the first 30 people who donate $250 or more to the Incline through the Indy Give! campaign to get to climb the Incline a day early, before the official re-opening! Giving through Indy Give! also makes your donation go farther through matching funds.

Possible 2015 Incline Calendar Photos

Manitou Incline Winter Sunrise

Update 11-24-14: 2015 Manitou Incline calendars can be ordered here.

2014 is coming to a close and 2015 will be here before long. I’m a little behind schedule but I’m finalizing the 2015 Manitou Incline calendar and will have it available the beginning of December.

Below are some photos that may be on the 2015 Incline calendar. You can give your input on what you’d like to see on the calendar by liking or commenting on them over on the Manitou Incline Hike page.

Have a photo you think is worthy of being on the calendar? Share it and if I use it you’ll get a free calendar. For photos to be used on the calendar, they need to be shot horizontal and available in high resolution. Most camera pics aren’t high enough resolution.

Iron Springs Chateau Incline Friends Fundraiser

This Saturday, November 8th, the Iron Springs Chateau is holding a fundraiser for the Incline Friends. The Incline Friends is the official friends group for the Incline and play a huge rule in creating a sustainable Incline. All of the night’s show proceeds are being donated directly to the Incline Friends.

There will be an update on the Manitou Incline repairs. The Incline Friends will also be announcing an EXCLUSIVE chance to have a sneak peek at the repairs on the Incline.

The show is “The Pigskin Perils of Old PU” a football melodrama set in 1915. Alisha Scott, local radio celebrity from the Cutter and Alisha morning show on CAT country 95.1, joins the Iron Springs Chateau Players and Incline Friends in a community fund-raising kick-off event for the 2014 “Indy Give!” campaign.

For $40 you get a three course meal with dinner salad, main course (4 entrée choices, including gluten free pasta) and dessert, coffee and/or hot or cold tea, and a show pass. Dinner is at 6 PM and the show begins at 8 PM There will be a cash bar available.

Get the details on the fundraiser here or call (719) 685-5104 for reservations.

Falcon Stadium Fitness Challenge

Falcon Statium Challenge

Feeling Incline withdrawals while the Manitou Incline is closed repairs? Air Force Football has a challenge for you to prove you haven’t been sitting around losing fitness.

Falcon Stadium will be hosting a first-ever fitness challenge, which will take place prior to the Air Force vs. New Mexico football game on Saturday, October 18. This challenge will take place on the stairs of Falcon Stadium, and will include a short and long course. The short course will be 886 steps on the Mezzanine level, and the long course will be 1,719 steps on both the Mezzanine and Upper levels.

Falcon Stadium Challenge CourseWhen it comes to the course for the Falcon Stadium Challenge, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. The image to the left (click for larger size) shows the course. Competitors will run up on one set of stairs between the seats and down the next as they go across the stadium level or levels depending on whether doing the short or long course.

Depending on the number of participants, competitors will be released from the start line in heats (20 per minute or so). Those doing the long course will start first and then the participants who are doing the short course will start.

The challenge isn’t officially being timed but anyone who wants to time themselves are more than welcome to do so. The idea is to keep this inaugural challenge as simple as possible and motivate people of all levels to push themselves to just complete it and have fun instead of striving to beat a time or come in first place.

Registration for the Falcon Stadium Fitness Challenge is $30, and includes participation in the challenge, a game ticket for the Air Force vs. New Mexico game, a t-shirt, and a post-challenge recovery package.

Participants can head to Falcon Stadium for this event at 9:30 AM. The challenge will begin at 10:00 AM, and will end at 11:30 AM. Air Force will kick off against New Mexico at 1:30 PM. Spectators can also purchase game tickets for $22.

For more information, contact (719) 472-1895. To register online, click here.

Manitou Incline Work Day Sept 13, 2014

Manitou Incline to Barr Trail Connector

This Saturday, September 13, will be the first of 3 work days this fall for the Manitou Incline. The other 2 are October 11th and November 1st.

This first work day will be on the trail that connects the top of the Incline to Barr Trail. This connector trail has been a social trail with serious erosion issues and multiple paths. The social trails will be closed and a new sustainable trail will be built.

Participants must be 12 years or older, anyone under 18 must have a guardian accompany them during the workday. Check-in/late registration the morning of will begin at 7:30 a.m., in the Barr Parking Lot. The project will begin at 8 a.m., ending at 3:30 p.m. Please come prepared to work the entire day and hike 3 miles up Barr Trail to the project work site.

Tools will be provided and brought to the project work site by staff. You will need to bring and hike with your own gloves, water, hat, sunscreen and lunch.

You can sign up by going to the Colorado Springs Parks and Rec volunteer page and searching with the keyword “incline”. The direct link for the September 13 work day is here

Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon August 16 & 17, 2014

Pikes Peak Ascent on Barr Trail

Photo by Evan Sanders

This Saturday is the Pikes Peak Ascent and Sunday is the Pikes Peak Marathon. On Saturday the 1st Wave starts at 7 AM and the 2nd Wave at 7:30 AM. Barr Trail should be clear after 8:30 AM for runners going up.

Sunday the start is 7 AM but there will only be a small window before runners will be coming back down Barr Trail until late afternoon. The cut-off for an official Pikes Peak Marathon time is 5 PM but runners will still be coming down after that time.

If you still want to go this weekend, try avoiding Barr Trail while the racers are on it. The racers have right of way and have trained hard for the event so please respect them and stay out of their way.

On Saturday there will be no parking on Ruxton Avenue and some side streets from 4 AM until 8 AM. Sunday there will be no parking 4 AM to 5 PM. Also because of the race, the free Manitou Incline shuttle won’t be running up to the Iron Springs Chateau. Iron Springs Chateau will have their $5 a day parking open starting at 5 AM both Saturday and Sunday.

The Manitou Incline closes at 6 AM Monday and will be closed until early December. This weekend is your final chance to hike the Incline before repair work is done. Just beware of the racers and let them complete their races as quickly and safely as possible. If you want to get one last hike in, Saturday after 8:30 AM would be the best time.

Red Mountain Incline Exhibit

Red Mountain Incline

The Manitou Incline isn’t the only incline that was built in Manitou Springs. An incline railway on Red Mountain operated intermittently from 1912 to 1922 and is associated with the famed story of Emma Crawford. There was a bar and dance floor at the top.

Manitou Springs Heritage Center volunteer David Walker has assembled information, photos and artifacts from the Heritage Center’s archives and other collections. “It was a challenge tracking down information on the Red Mountain Incline. Compared to the more famous Manitou Incline, it was almost like this second funicular railway didn’t want to be found.” stated Walker. “A last minute find of images in the Old Colorado City History Center and Tom Daniels collections was like striking gold!”

As part of Manitou’s Third Friday ArtWalk, tonight the Manitou Springs Heritage Center is opening its newest exhibit titled “Red Mountain – Manitou’s Other Incline”. The exhibit opening will be from 5-8 PM, Friday, August 15th. The Manitou Springs Heritage Center is located at 517 Manitou Avenue.

The same evening anyone looking for something to do after the Third Friday ArtWalk can find out “What Goes Bump in the Night” during a Paranormal Investigation hosted by the Heritage Center. Participants will go ghost hunting with the experienced, Manitou-based Haunted Dimensions team of investigators using their equipment. Tickets are $10 and participants meet at the Center at 10 pm. No reservations are necessary.

For more information and contact info, check out the Manitou Springs Heritage Center website.

Manitou Incline Erosion from Summer Rains

Manitou Incline Erosion at the Barr Bail Trail

Heavy rains in the Pikes Peak region the last few weeks have created rumors that the Manitou Incline is closed because of the rain. The rains haven’t closed the Incline but a plan to close the Incline for repairs was announced earlier this year. The current unofficial plan is for it to close on August 18th, 2014 for about 4 months. More details on the Incline closure and repairs is here.

Although the plan is for the Incline to be open until August 18th, it would be best not to wait until the final weekend to hike it. The Pikes Peak Ascent is on August 16th and the Pikes Peak marathon is on the 17th so Manitou and Barr Trail will be crowded that weekend.

Hydro Plant Pipe Exposed on InclineI hiked the Incline on July 23, 2014. I’ve been focused on training for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race so haven’t been hiking the Incline much this summer. There has been considerable erosion since I last hiked it the beginning of the summer.

Most of the damage has been in the gullies along the sides of the Incline and not to the ties themselves. There were a few more ties missing and the gullies are cutting under the end of several of the ties. This was the first time I’ve seen the pipeline for the hydro plant exposed above the Barr bail trail.

We all love the rugged, jumbled character of the Incline and don’t want to see it changed. However, it won’t stay the same as it’s constantly eroding. Take a look at the old photos on the Incline closure page. It’s clear that repairs need to be made so we can continue challenging ourselves on the Incline for years to come.

Manitou Incline to be Closed for Repairs

Eroded Section of Manitou Incline

Update November 17th, 2014 It’s currently like the Manitou Incline will re-open the first week of December but not on the 1st. More Incline repair details here.

Update August 5th, 2014 Colorado Springs Park and Rec has confirmed that the Incline will be closing August 18th at 6 AM. The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon are on final weekend the Incline is open. Find info about the effects of the races on the Incline here.

Manitou Incline Then and Now

(Click to Enlarge) Photos from City of Colorado Springs

First the good news, the Manitou Incline will be getting some much needed repairs. Now the bad news, the Incline will be closed for about four months. The contractor hasn’t been selected yet so the exact start date isn’t known but will most likely be mid-August after the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.

The Incline has slowly been eroding since the cable car quit operating in 1990. Volunteers pounded in rebar and made other repairs over the years or the Incline would be in worse shape. Last fall’s heavy rains did considerable damage.

If hikers are caught trespassing during the closure, they could receive a $100 fine. According to project manager Sarah Bryarly, Manitou Springs police will enforce the closure.

Drawing of Incline Restoration

(Click to Enlarge) Drawing of Incline Restoration

The Incline work will include repair and replacement of damaged retaining walls, cleanup of rebar and loose debris, construction of additional drainage structures, stabilization of existing ties and stabilization of surrounding slopes. The plan includes putting in a sustainable trail where the social trail connects the top of the Incline to Barr Trail. The four main goals of this project are improved safety, enhanced user experience, long-term sustainability of the trail and increased accessibility.

While the long-term sustainability of the trail is critical, I’m not sure how the user experience is going to be enhanced. One of the key things users wanted during public input meetings during the legalization process was for the Incline retain it’s rough character.

The conceptual drawing on the left that was provided by the City of Colorado Springs doesn’t seem to leave it so rugged. Of course looking at the photos above that compare a section in 1996 to it’s current condition, it appears it could be at least as rough as back then. I started hiking the Incline in 1998 and have noticed it changing over the years but didn’t realize how much.

Manitou Incline Project Funding

(Click to Enlarge) Incline Project Funding Details

During the Incline closure the surrounding trails will remain open. These include Barr Trail, Ute Indian Trail, Intemann Trail and Red Mountain trail. The free shuttle will also continue as planned through mid September.

The project is expected to cost nearly $1.6 million. About half a million will come from FEMA because of the rain damage. The remainder will come from the Great Outdoors Colorado Grant, Colorado Springs Utilities, the State Trails Grant, the Colorado Springs CTF Program, Incline Friends, Colorado Springs TOPS Program and the Manitou Springs Barr Parking Lot Fund.

In the excellent video below, engineer Don Jacobs talks about some of the challenges of working to stabilize the Incline.

Free Manitou Shuttle Resumes Incline Service

Manitou Incline Shuttle

Tomorrow, May 18th, the free Manitou Incline shuttle starts running again for the summer. It will run through September 13, 2014.

The Incline bus (Route 33) will operate from 6 AM until 8 PM every day on 20 minute intervals. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays there will be a 2nd bus from 10 AM until 8 PM. The 2nd bus will be timed so there will be about 10 minutes between buses. There’s also another bus route that will service downtown Manitou. See the map of the routes here.

The Incline bus runs from the free parking lot behind the Tajine Alami Restaurant at 10 Old Mans Trail in Manitou. Park around the side and park of the restaurant and not out in front. The shuttle stop is across the street from the restaurant.