Frequently Asked Questions

What's the weather like?
Of course, the weather in the mountains can vary quickly – from sunny and warm to hailing or rainy and cold. Usually, the average daytime high temperature in the summer months is in the 70s; the nighttime low temperature usually dips to the upper 40s or low 50s. Also, afternoon rain showers are quite common from June to August. Check the current weather and forecast at the link on the left.

What is the altitude of the camp?
Rockcleft is situated at about 8,600 feet.

Are there any bears in the area?
Yes, there are small black bears in the Pikes Peak National Forest area. However, they are rarely seen if proper precautions are taken. The main attraction to bears is food. Therefore, it is crucial to properly store and dispose of food properly. Talk with the caretaker about how to dispose of excess food scraps.

Can we make an outdoor fire or grill in a barbeque grill?
Yes. At least two portable charcoal grills are available on the property, as well as stone grills. Other outdoor fires are generally not allowed. You may only cook on the grills provided or bring a camp stove or propane grill. Ask the caretaker when you arrive if the current forest fire danger permits outdoor fires, as sparks from a grill can cause a disastrous forest fire.

Also remember to be patient. At an elevation of 8,600 feet there simply isn't as much oxygen. Therefore, the fire starts much more slowly. Light your charcoal at least an hour ahead to allow ample time for the coals to be ready for cooking.

What are the roads like leading up to the camp?
Rockcleft is located 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, Colo., just off U.S. Highway 24. Turn right at the Rocky Top Motel and take the Lucky 4 Ranch Road about 1.25 miles up into the mountains. This is a narrow, gravel road. Buses and RVs cannot navigate the road. Large groups traveling in a bus should contact us in advance about shuttle options.

Year-round use is available for Pasque Flower, but please check with the caretaker for the condition of the road when snow is a possibility. Heavy snow or inclement weather may make the road impassable for short times. Four-wheel drive vehicles only are required for visits during snow season.

Remember the rule of mountain travel: If two vehicles meet on a one-lane mountain road, the vehicle going down the mountain must yield to the one coming up. The vehicle going down should back up to a safe turn off.

Is there a telephone at the camp I can use or be reached at in case of emergency?
Campers are welcome to use the telephone in the Mountain Lodge for local or long-distance phone-card calls. For emergency contact, you may give the camp phone number to relatives: 719-684-9551.

Are bedding and linens provided?
No. Please bring your pillow, sleeping bag or other bedding, towels and soap. However, tea towels and dishcloths are provided in the kitchen areas.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?
At any elevation above 8,000 feet, you are at risk for high altitude sickness (also known as acute mountain sickness). As your body adjusts to reduced oxygen levels, altitude sickness affects your heart, lungs, muscles and nervous system.

To make your adjustment to this common condition easier, increase your altitude slowly. You may want to limit your altitude to 8,000 or 9,000 feet on the first day – in other words, wait a few days before attempting to do much hiking at higher altitudes.

Symptoms of high altitude sickness include headache, sleeping difficulties, fatigue and rapid pulse at rest, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Rest, fluids and descending to a lower altitude should relieve these symptoms. Adequate water intake is especially important to prevent dehydration, too.

If you have experienced altitude sickness before, you might want to consult your doctor before your trip. Ask about the drug acetazolamide (Diamox), which may help your system adjust more easily.

If your questions are not answered here, please contact us at rockcleft@friends.edu.

Rockcleft is owned and operated by Friends University, Wichita, Kan.