Friends and Faces of the Barr Trail: Chris Mattingly

Chris Mattingly, 68, has been climbing the Barr Trail since 2009. It was through his curiosity for climbing fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet) that Mattingly came across the Barr Trail. Little did he know that Pikes Peak is recognized as one of the more difficult fourteeners in the region.

Fred Barr on first ascent of Pikes Peak, Dec. 31 1922. Photo courtesy of Pikes Peak AdAmAn Club

When Mattingly first became interested, he knew that if he was going to start doing fourteeners more often, he had to do it right: “I don’t do anything halfway. If I’m gonna try, I’m gonna do them all.”

So far, Mattingly has summited 54 fourteeners in the state of Colorado and has 4 more to go. Mattingly has completed some of the more difficult fourteeners with partners. Mattingly and Jason H., one of his long-term hiking partners, have summited over 15 fourteeners together.

“Finding a good hiking partner is as difficult as finding someone to spend the rest of your life with,” Mattingly said. A good hiking partner is “someone that you can talk to, someone you can keep up with, and they are considerate.” Unfortunately, the Mattingly and Jason H. hiking partnership wasn’t meant to be. When asked about the fallout of their hiking partnership, Mattingly shook his head and said, “Our gates were just too different.”

Mattingly is also a guest climber of the AdAmAn (add a man) club. The AdAmAn club is a group of outdoor hiking enthusiasts that add a single member to their club each year. As stated on their website, “The Pikes Peak AdAmAn Club has been a Pikes Peak Region tradition since 1922. It is a unique group of mountaineers, who each year on Dec. 30 and 31, climb the icy slopes of Barr Trail on the east face of world famous Pikes Peak. Then, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, AdAmAn members and their guests ignite a glorious firework display from the summit to usher in the New Year.”

While Mattingly is not an official member of the club, he still joins them on their annual New Year’s Eve hike up Pikes Peak to set off fireworks at the top. Mattingly maintained that hiking the trail is an integral part of his life. “I do my best thinking on the trail,” he said. And he insisted that he will continue to hike for the foreseeable future.

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