New Year’s fireworks show on Pikes Peak is a 94-year-old tradition

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. — On New Year’s Eve in 1922, five men hiked the Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak. They’re known as the Frozen Five, and once they reached the top, they made a fire with railroad ties. It was seen by many, resulting in a longstanding tradition.

Every year since, the AdAmAn club has upheld the tradition by trekking to the top of America’s Mountain and ringing in the New Year with a blast of fireworks. Each year, the group adds a man or woman to join them in their journey to the top.

“With the AdAmAn club this will be my 15th year and overall my 144th time climbing the mountain,” AdAmAn member Bill Slaughter said.

Since it’s no simple jaunt through the woods, Slaughter said he learns something new every trip.

“This time of year with the weather challenge and the snow and packed ice on the trail, it can be a challenge. You’ve got to be reasonably fit to be able to do it,” said Slaughter.

Kate and Jack Smetana’s dad has made the journey more than a half a dozen times.

“He trains for hiking up the mountains sometimes and he does these tons of mountain races,” said Kate as she sent him off.

“We’ll take a casual hike to Barr Camp, probably take us four and a half hours to get to Barr Camp, and then the next day, tomorrow we go to the summit and that will probably take us six to seven hours,” Slaughter said.

As tough as it sounds, these kiddos are determined to follow in their dad’s snowy footsteps up the mountain someday.

“Yes but not right now,” Kate said. “These next years, I’m going to still wait because I’m a little too young.”

“To have this kind of team strength and camaraderie is just wonderful. That’s why most of us do it,” said Slaughter.

Watching the midnight fireworks show set off by dad or mom from home is pretty cool.

“We watch him from our window because we have a perfect view,” Caleb Baki, who was also sending his dad off, said. “It’s awesome, it’s awesome. It feels great to see my dad shooting off fireworks. It’s awesome.”

Anyone can join the AdAmAn Club, but there’s a waiting list. Slaughter was on it for 11 years before becoming a member.

In honor of the Frozen Five, the club will shoot off five fireworks at 9 p.m. At the stroke of midnight, they’ll light up the sky with a warm welcome to 2016.

If you’d like to learn more about the group and its history, head to www.adaman.org .

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