Manitou Incline Reopening

November 17, 2017

Photo Credit: @pretty_pineapple90

UPDATE: The Incline has opened early!

Manitou Springs Incline Re-opens Dec. 1
Rejoice, at last, the moment we’ve waited months for has arrived. The Manitou Springs Incline will reopen on Dec. 1! (Weather permitting, of course). We know you’ve been soothing your sadness with some of the other beautiful trails around Colorado Springs and beyond, but we also know there’s no substitute for true love. Fortunately, you and the Incline will be star-crossed no longer.

A Labor of Love: The Incline Repair Crew
We wanted to take a minute to talk about the amazing work that Timberline Landscaping has completed because it’s simply amazing. They’ve been on the project through all three phases, completing work in some pretty unique conditions. Since the Incline’s closure on Aug. 21 (right after the Pikes Peak Marathon & Ascent), the crew has been working through Phase 3 of the Incline repair project. The company website indicates that this project has been about way more than revenue. It’s a feather in their cap, a challenge to overcome and a labor of love for the community.

Photo Credit: @chavezphotography92

A Hazardous Project: Navigating the Perils of the Incline
Phase 3 of the project began at the false summit, one of the steepest parts of the trail, where the elevation gain is 500 feet. You probably remember the first time you crested that bit of deception and felt your soul sink as you realized that not only were you not done, the next bit of the climb was the hardest yet. We’re not too sure if that’s how Timberline workers felt about the final phase of repairs, but it’s entirely possible.

Or is it? These folks are seasoned Incliners now and the Timberline website has cool stats about the project, including average weight lost (10-15 pounds in Phase 2) and heaviest item hiked up the trail—a 500-pound drill.

The team replaced damaged ties and installed a new cabling system to help keep them in place through heavy rains, erosion and other environmental factors. They also added more erosion mitigation on the sides of the ties. Materials were flown in by helicopter, trucked in by all terrain vehicles and carried in by the crew. It was not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. If you happen to come upon one of the Timberline Incline repair crewmembers, we suggest you thank them profusely, buy them a beer or shake their hand. Why? Check this out.

Their day started at 6 a.m., where they traveled a rather precarious route to get to the steep section of the incline. Some of the crew would actually hike up the Incline from the bottom to the job site when there wasn’t enough room on the transport vehicles. Imagine that for a second. You’ve hiked this monstrosity. Now imagine that hike in full gear, carrying construction equipment, wearing a hard hat, then working all day after reaching the top. Yeah. These guys are pretty rad, right?

The team at the bottom of the work line had to do double duty in precaution: picking their footing carefully as they worked and always being vigilant about hazards from the work above, like falling rocks dislodged from the soil.

Did we mention that they had to worry about their water freezing (the crew was consuming 70 gallons a week in Phase 2)? And trespassers with bad attitudes? If you’re reading this, Incline crew, we salute you. Thank you for all the work you’ve done.

Photo Credit: @brittwilltravel

What Lies Ahead: Tentative Re-Opening Date Set
Manitou Springs has set a theoretical ribbon cutting ceremony the Manitou Incline opening at 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. Obviously, that’s dependent on Colorado’s finicky weather patterns, as it could be a balmy 70 degrees … or there could be some sort of epic blizzard. Heck, we wouldn’t put it past the sky to hail, snow and then finish sunny all before noon.

Here’s a quick refresher on Incline survival (or check out this in-depth one, here).

  • Since it will likely be cold, we’ll go ahead and remind you to bundle up. It gets colder the closer you get to the top. Layers are the key to enjoyment, allowing you to cool off and warm up at will.
  • Bring a lot of water, not some piddly 16 oz. bottle, but a real water backpack or giant canteen. There’s no gas station on the route and you’ll supremely regret not heeding this warning.
  • Slap some sunscreen on the parts that will be exposed—the sun still works when it’s cold, it just doesn’t feel like it. That includes parts you cover in the beginning, but expose later on when you get too hot.
  • Bring chap stick and hearty snacks.
  • Wear good shoes.
  • Park smart in designated areas, NOT residential side streets or other private drives. We always recommend the shuttle.
  • Be a good trail steward: clean up after yourself, don’t cut switchbacks, don’t mess with trail structures and wildlife, etc.

Oh, and have a good time. You’ve waited forever to be reunited with your beloved stairway of doom. Make the most of it, live in the moment and feel the joy of finally being back together again. We’ll see you at the top!

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