Pikes Peak considering $500 rides for lazy hikers | AspenTimes.com

Pikes Peak considering $500 rides for lazy hikers

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ” Pikes Peak officials are tired of giving rides to uninjured hikers who manage to climb 12.6 miles to the famed summit but don’t want to walk down.

Pikes Peak Highway officials are proposing a charge of up to $500 for each person who makes it to the top then calls 911 for a ride down.

“Some of the people just say, ‘I want to get to the top of this mountain,’ and they don’t realize they have to get back down,” highway manager Jack Glavan told The (Colorado Springs) Gazette.

Highway officials will ask for permission this week to charge the fee by the city of Colorado Springs, which runs a toll road up the peak of 14,115 feet. The U.S. Forest Service owns the land, but the city runs the toll road.

The trail up Pikes Peak is an arduous, 12.6-mile slog, with 7,500 feet of elevation gain. Some 15,000 people a year attempt to climb Pikes Peak, the second-most visited mountain in the world behind Japan’s Mount Fuji.

Under the plan, hikers who call for a ride before workers have gone home would pay $100. Hikers who ask to be transported from one location to another during regular hours will be charged $20 each.

The fee could go up to $500 when hikers call 911 after hours. The fee could go even higher if the road has to be plowed to fetch the hiker.

The city would place signs halfway up the trail warning hikers they could be charged if they call for a ride when they’re not hurt.

There are no numbers on how many uninjured hikers call for emergency rides down Pikes Peak each year. But already local rescuers won’t provide rides to unhurt people, referring them to highway rangers.

The all-volunteer El Paso County Search and Rescue has stopped running such “taxi missions,” said spokesman Reg Francklyn.

“It got to be kind of onerous, because it basically is a two-and-a-half-hour effort to pick up a vehicle, drive to the summit, pick up someone who didn’t do any planning and drive them back down,” Francklyn told the newspaper.

Already one errant hiker has been charged a hefty fee for wanting a ride.

The highway charged an unnamed hiker $500 in mid-December. He arrived at the summit after dark and broke into the Summit House restaurant and gift shop to avoid freezing. The hiker was charged for a ride down and a window he broke.

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