AdAmAn Alley - CSPM

AdAmAn Alley

By The AdAmAn Club

The AdAmAn Alley project is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the AdAmAn Club’s first climb up Pikes Peak to set off fireworks from the summit at midnight on New Year’s Event.

Pikes Peak (Tava Kahv or Sun Mountain) is nicknamed America’s Mountain, but the Peak has held special significance for many diverse groups, from the area’s earliest Indigenous communities to today’s residents, visitors and outdoor adventurers from around the world.

For 100 years, the AdAmAn Club has helped this community further connect with Pikes Peak by presenting an annual midnight fireworks show to ring in the New Year, ignited at the summit and visible throughout the entire Pikes Peak Region. Club members brave extreme conditions to scale the Peak on the last day of the year in order to continue this tradition of light and hope in the dead of winter.

In a time when the Pikes Peak Region is undergoing rapid growth, public art can make a powerful statement about identity and values. The AdAmAn Club exemplifies this region’s spirit of adventure and its perseverance in overcoming adversity, carrying forward tradition while making the club’s mission ever more inclusive. Especially as so many of Colorado Springs’ residents and visitors are drawn by our outdoor culture, the murals and other placemaking elements of AdAmAn Alley will serve as an evocative depiction of our community’s best attributes through the lens of America’s Mountain.

Through the creativity of lead designers RTA Architects, the full participation of the adjacent property owners, and the support of Downtown Partnership, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities, this first-of-its-kind creative placemaking adventure will entertain, educate and inspire, leaving visitors with an indelible memory of the City at the foot of Pikes Peak. 

AdAmAn Alley


Since its inception, the starting point from which the AdAmAn Club begins its annual journey has varied with each year’s conditions.

Most often, the climb has embarked from the Barr Trail trailhead. On rarer occasions, due to things like harsh weather or more recently COVID, it has started from the base of the Incline, the Cog Depot, and, when hiking the road, Glen Cove.

Before they leave, it is a long-standing tradition to take a group photo and say goodbye to friends and family members who have come to see the group off on their trek.

This is the beginning of the annual tradition to challenge the alpine winter and summit Pikes Peak, ringing in the New Year in a unique and, some have said, foolhardy way.

Lat/Long: 38.855781°, -104.933968°
Elevation: 6,700 ft

Wally Wininger (left) and Chuck Fogelman (right) waiting for Sizzlers, 2009
Wally Wininger and Chuck Fogelman waiting for Sizzlers, 2009

AdAmAn Corral & Rest Stop

The Coral, a quarter mile above the point where Barr Trail and the Incline intersect, the AdAmAn Club will take their first rest stop.

The trail takes a sharp right at a ridge, and fencing along the trail leaves the impression of being in a coral.

While the group sets down their heavy packs, and munch on red vines — another AdAmAn tradition — they reminisce on the past and share stories and laughter. Next stop: The “Lunch” tree.

Lat/Long: 38.854503°, -104.942783°
Elevation: 7,950 ft

AdAmAn Lunch Tree

Its lunchtime on the first day of the climb. When hiking Barr Trail, the AdAmAn Club traditionally stops for a bite to eat at the Lunch “Tree,” even though the tree is long gone. 

The tree used to shelter the climbers during snow storms but died in 1995 and was subsequently cut down. The Club now gathers on the hillside adjacent to No Name creek, still honoring the tradition of the Lunch “Tree” that began many years ago.  

Various sandwiches are assembled, and the hungry hikers enjoy each other’s company before continuing on their trek toward Barr Camp, where they will spend the night. 

Lat/Long: 38.856656°, -104.957863°
Elevation: 8,745 ft

Climbers hiking up to AdAmAn Rest Rock on a single trail. They are heading to s stop to rest before Barr Camp. This photo was taken in 2021,
After a break, next stop Barr Camp, 2021.

AdAmAn Rest Rock Ridge

Rest Rock Ridge; On a rocky ridge, just before Barr Trail crosses a small stream, is the afternoon rest stop for the AdAmAn Club.  

It provides a nice sunny spot to sit for a moment, drink water and eat snacks. There is also a nice view of Pikes Peak from here, a glimpse of what the group has in store tomorrow. 

Once the weary legs are rested the hikers prepare for the final push into Barr Camp. 

Lat/Long: 38.848828°, -104.990940° 
Elevation: 9,645 ft 

Barr Camp

Halfway through their climb, the AdAmAn Club will stop for the night at Barr Camp.

Fred Barr, one of the original Frozen Five, hosted the AdAmAn Club at his cabin, Barr Camp during his lifetime. After he passed in 1940, the camp fell into disrepair and for several years the Club cooked in the main cabin but slept in tents transported to Barr Camp via pack horses.

In 1983 Barr Camp received much needed renovations, and is now a non-profit operation with year-round caretakers. 

Every year on December 30th, the AdAmAn Club stays overnight at Barr Camp, commemorating a tradition that began with Fred Barr and his cabin high in the woods.

Lat/Long: 38.847771°, -105.006987
Elevation: 10,200 ft

John Graham, right, enjoys a large bonfire and tall tales by his elders, 1976
John Graham, right, enjoys a large bonfire and tall tales by his elders, 1976

AdAmAn Point

Starting in the 1970’s, upon reaching Barr Camp, members of the club would make their way one mile north of camp to build a bonfire signaling to Colorado Springs that they had made it safely to their halfway point.  

As this point on the map had no name, the AdAmAn Club successfully lobbied the US Geological Survey, to name it AdAmAn Point.  

With sustained drought conditions in recent years, the club discontinued the bonfire tradition. But the spot still holds sentimental value. Many AdAmAn members who have passed requested for some of their ashes to be spread at AdAmAn Point. Hikers take time each year to visit and remember their friends and family who are now part of the mountain.  

This marks the end of the first day of climbing, tomorrow the AdAmAn Club will finish their journey. 

Lat/Long: 38.851840°, -105.010033° 
Elevation: 10,325 ft 

Lt. Gen. Christopher Coates is wearing a red sweat, one black glove and a hiking pack. He is giving the camera a thumbs up with his ungloved hand. There is another individual behind him.
Lt. Gen. Christopher Coates is ready to roll after a short break, 2018

Bottomless Pit Trail

At the northern most point on the trail between Barr Camp and the A-Frame and the northern end of “the long switchback”, the Bottomless Pit Trail diverges from Barr Trail.   

A sign marks the spot, and a barrier has been recently constructed to keep uninitiated runners and hikers from getting off route.   

The AdAmAn Club usually takes a short break here to adjust clothing, drink some fluids, and eat a little snack before pushing on to the A-Frame. 

Lat/Long: 38.850266°, -105.017206° 
Elevation: 10,845 ft 

Climber traverse the Dismal Forest, c. 1961
Climber traverse the Dismal Forest, c. 1961

Dismal Forest

Just below A-Frame, the hikers will travel through a unique and distinctive area called the Dismal Forest, an area dominated for years by the skeletal remains of trees, burnt and scarred by a massive forest fire over a century ago.  

The snags, bleached white by the harsh elements have gradually disappeared as nature has reclaimed this portion of the trail with new trees and vegetation.   

Life on Pikes Peak has always met the challenges of alpine conditions, just as the AdAmAn Club will meet the challenge of reaching the Summit. 

Lat/Long: 38.843115°, -105.024219° 
Elevation: 11,800 ft 

AdAmAn group flashes mirrors at Colorado Springs, 1967.
AdAmAn group flashes mirrors at Colorado Springs, 1967.

A-Frame Lunch & Mirror Flash

As Barr trail nears tree line, the A-Frame shelter comes into view. The AdAmAn Club will take a short break here, and begin another one of their infamous traditions. 

Prior to electronic radio and cell phone technology, the AdAmAn Club began the tradition of using mirrors to signal to family and friends in Colorado Springs that they had arrived at timberline safely.  

The community of Colorado Springs flashes back in response, using their own mirrors to signal back to the club.  

It is a heartwarming sight for the cold hikers, knowing their friends and family are following them along their journey. 

Lat/Long: 38.841942°, -105.026559° 
Elevation: 11,910 ft 

A group of twelve climbers take a photo together at the base of a memorial wooden sign. Harry Standley is holding a rock in the front to place the stone to remember Fred Barr, 1950.
Placing a stone (Harry Standley) and remembering Fred Barr, 1950.

Fred Barr Cairn

In 1940, Fred Barr suffered a fatal heart attack, the first of the Frozen Five to pass away. That same year the AdAmAn Club set the base of a large memorial cairn just above timberline, beginning a tradition of dropping rocks on it each year during the climb.  

Over time, the cairn grew so large that it can be viewed on Google Earth.  

The club has stopped adding rocks to it, but each year they pass by the cairn, they remember Fred Barr, the original trail master of the AdAmAn Club. 

Lat/Long: 38.844511°, -105.026245° 
Elevation: 12,160 ft 

Climbing past the Cirque, 1990.
Climbing past the Cirque, 1990.


Marked with a sign, the point where Barr Trail overlooks the amphitheater-like valley on the south side of the east face is called “The Cirque”. 

The AdAmAn Club will pause here to take in the view and prepare for the final push to the Summit. At this time of year it is often the last place to soak in the warm rays of sun before walking in the shade for the remainder of the climb. 

800 feet of elevation, and one mile left to go… 

Lat/Long: 38.838140°, -105.036742° 
Elevation: 13,330 ft 

Glen Law waits to great climbers near the top of the stairs, 2012.
Glen Law waits to great climbers near the top of the stairs, 2012

16 Golden Stairs

Nearing the end of the trail, the AdAmAn Club faces the final challenge before reaching the top, the 16 Golden Stairs. The 16 Golden Stairs refers to the last set of switchbacks, or the zig zags, on the trail. In this case a “stair” refers to moving from one left-hand switchback to the next left-hand switchback, and two switchbacks equal one stair.  

At this point in the climb, given the winding nature of the trail and the limited brain capacity available due to lack of oxygen at altitude, most climbers have trouble counting the stairs as they traverse through them. Any number from 8 to 64 is an acceptable count! 

Once the climbers reach the top of the stairs, they have one challenge left to meet, the Summit of Pikes Peak… 

Lat/Long: 38.839676°, -105.040606° 
Elevation: 13,770 ft 


While the Summit marker of Pikes Peak is located several hundred yards to the west, the Barr trail sign next to the Cog railway tracks is the point where climbers celebrate their arrival to the summit. 

This is an emotional time for club members and their guests. They are thankful for successfully reaching a goal that was both physically and mentally demanding. With harsh weather, fierce winds and high altitude, climbers may have been questioning whether they would make it to the top of the mountain.  

Upon reaching the Summit, the AdAmAn Club will switch gears and begin preparing their fireworks.  

The Colorado Springs community will join the celebration at midnight, when the AdAmAn Club sets off spectacular fireworks to welcome the start of a new year. 

Lat/Long: 38.840358°, -105.042172° 
Elevation: 14,115 ft 

Learn More at Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Located in the historic 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum (CSPM) is a free admission museum that builds a lasting connection to the Pikes Peak region by preserving and sharing our cultural history. This mission is accomplished through powerful exhibits, innovative programming and outreach, and diverse collections that reflect our region’s complex history.

The AdAmAn Collection was donated to the CSPM and includes over 160 artifacts and over 23 cubic feet of archival materials documenting the history of the AdAmAn Club, dating from 1922 to the present day. Interested in learning more about the AdAmAn Club? Visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 215 S. Tejon Street.