NewsCovering Colorado


Clear the summit: Wild weather on Pikes Peak

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jun 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-15 16:39:23-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — It has been an intense couple of weeks for rangers on Pikes Peak.

They have had to clear the summit of America’s Mountain multiple times because of the extreme weather.

“Things we don't typically see this late in the summer, in the month of June,” said Pikes Peak America’s Mountain, General Manager, Skyler Rorabaugh.

There was one day when eight inches of snow and blizzard conditions caused three-foot drifts.

When dangerous weather is likely, the preferred scenario is warning drivers at the gate they will be stopped short of going to the top.

“Health, life, and safety is paramount of concern for us,” said Rorabaugh.

In cases where people are already on the peak and severe conditions build with little warning, the goal is getting visitors to safety ahead of a storm.

Sometimes visitors ignore warnings, or the storm moves in too fast.

That is when contingency safety protocols start.

“Hey, you stay in place, shelter in place at the buildings or hey, you need to evacuate and head downhill immediately, and rangers are always making those kinds of calls,” said Ranger Supervisor, Kate Severson.

Evacuating the summit is rare during the summer, but it has happened several times in June.

During the blizzard conditions, multiple drivers agreed to leave their vehicles at the summit, get a ride to the base from rangers, and then come back the next day to retrieve their vehicles.

“We don't want to create more problems on top of one another, having a bunch of people moving around on snow and ice is not a good way to manage it,” said Rorabaugh.

It is wise for visitors to be aware that weather conditions at the summit of Peaks can vary widely from the base.

“That summit forecast is more important than the forecast for Colorado Springs,” said Severson, ”So definitely check that out before coming to see us.”

Click here for the Pikes Summit weather conditions.


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