It’s the Colorado Springs equivalent of the Times Square Ball drop. Since 1922, the intrepid hikers of the AdAmAn Club have ascended Pikes Peak to light the fuses for a bombastic announcement of the new year.
This year’s 96th climb marks the election of the club’s 100th member, who will lead the group up Barr Trail to the summit and set off the light show. Since its beginning, the group has added one man or woman per year, but guests also apply to accompany the annual expedition. While weather conditions can vary drastically, the club faithfully honors its traditions, including signaling with mirrors at tree line to friends and families in town, adding a rock to the large G. Inestine B. Roberts memorial cairn on Barr Trail, and, of course, those fireworks. At 9 p.m. the group launches a five-burst test in honor of the founding Frozen Five. And at the stroke of midnight, the club fires a colorful barrage, extending its tradition and sharing the celebration with the rest of us below. “The view is amazing. I can name the streets in downtown Denver,” says member Cliff Donnelly. “Other than that, it’s very cold and windy. But you feel special because you know a lot of people, especially in Colorado Springs, are looking up to watch the fireworks.”