The weather conditions at the summit of Pikes Peak are expected to be dismal on New Year’s Eve, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to approach -8 degrees, with moderate snow up to 2.8 inches with winds reaching 25 mph.
None of this matters to the 34 men and women of the AdAmAn Club, who intend to make their 100th trek to the top of “America’s Mountain” later this week.
“We’re not worried about the cold,” said club member Brooke Chesnut, who has made the New Year’s Eve ascent 14 times. “In fact, we welcome it.”
Each year, dozens of AdAmAn club members brave the winter elements so Colorado Springs residents can enjoy a fireworks display from the summit of the 14,000-foot mountain.
“We’re not crazy,” Chesnut said. “We’re just determined to make it to the top so we can put on a show that the citizens of Colorado Springs can truly enjoy and experience. Thousands of people will stay up late just to see our show.”
The AdAmAn tradition began in 1922 when five friends — Fred and Ed Morath, Fred Barr, Willis Magee and Harry Standley — decided to do something different from the usual New Year’s Eve parties and dances. Following the Cog Railway tracks, the men, who would later be dubbed the “Frozen Five,” hiked to the top of Pikes Peak, where they rang in the new year by lighting flares and fireworks.
The group decided to make it an annual ritual, adding one new member to their small club each year — hence the name AdAmAn.
For years the club remained true to its name, adding only men until Sue Graham was admitted in 1997. The club has added three women since then, the latest of which is Priscilla Clayton, the club’s newest member.
Clayton, who has made the trek as a guest climber, said the experience, while exhausting, is one that cannot be duplicated.
“(You get) to climb a mountain in winter with all these like-minded people, and to top it all off, you get to do fireworks, which is a crazy experience at 14,000 feet,” said Clayton, the first female AdAmAn member in 10 years.
Here is the group’s scheduled itinerary:
• 7 a.m.: Kickoff breakfast
• 9 a.m.: Start on Barr Trail
• 11 a.m. Lunch at French Creek
• 2:30 p.m.: Arrive at Barr Camp
• 7 p.m.: Bonfire at AdAmAn Point
Friday, New Year's Eve:
• 8:30 a.m.: Leave Barr Camp
• 11:30 a.m.: Flash mirrors to city
• 2:30 p.m.: Arrive to summit
• 9 p.m.: Five fireworks to honor original Frozen Five
• Midnight: Fireworks, followed by drive down highway with four-wheel drive club