Anybody can shoot New Year’s Eve fireworks from the top of a skyscraper or a bridge. The AdAmAn Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., shoots theirs from the top of Pikes Peak — after a two-day climb to the 14,114 ft. summit. This year the intrepid climbers faced some of the coldest temperatures of the year, single digits hovering on either side of 0°F.
I moved to Denver in 2005, yet not until this year did I hear about the AdAmAn Club and their annual Pikes Peak fireworks. These people are my new heros. All that climbing in the snow and cold, 12 miles or so to the summit, just to shoot off fireworks on New Year’s Eve. And winter weather being what it is, there’s no guarantee anyone below will even see the show.
They take the Barr Trail out of Manitou Springs. At the 6.5 mile mark, they spend the night in cabins at Barr Camp. (Good thing, too. The wind chill was approximately -40° that night.) At the top they can stay in the Summit House. Mind you, there’s a road to the top that’s kept open year round. And the fireworks trailer is driven up the road in advance of the hikers’ arrival. But the AdAmAn climbers … climb.
From the AdAmAn press release this year:
Since 1922, the AdAmAn club has made its annual winter trek to the summit of Pikes Peak to fire a midnight blast of fireworks to help the Pikes Peak Region ring in the New Year. The club started when Fred Barr (who built Barr Trail) and four of his adventurous friends (Fred Morath, Ed Morath, Willis Magee and Harry Standley) made a New Year’s Eve trek to the summit. That night they set fire to some of the Cog Railway’s surplus railroad ties. Upon their return to the Springs, they discovered that many had seen their fire.
The resulting buzz inspired them to start what has become a long standing tradition for the Pikes Peak region.
The club adds just one new member each year, hence the name AdAmAn. The capitalized As depict mountains.
There are many photos from this year’s hike on the AdAmAn Facebook page (scroll down for three photos of the fireworks), and many, many more of past years on the AdAmAn website. Here’s one of this year’s fireworks (all the above are from previous years):
And here’s one I just found of the fireworks truck/trailer making its way to the summit:
The Colorado Springs Gazette has a gallery of photos of this year’s climbers starting up the mountain.