COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With the new year just around the corner, the AdAmAn Club is making sure COVID-19 doesn’t cancel its nearly century-old midnight tradition.
For Mark Copelin, climbing America’s Mountain is an annual tradition.
“I did my first climb in the late 90s,” Copelin said.
But it's not just his tradition. He is a member of the AdAmAn club, whose members make it a point to hike to the top of Pikes Peak every New Year’s Eve.
“It started back in the early 1920s,” Copelin said. “There were five of them and they climbed the peak and then shot off some fireworks.”
For nearly 100 years, through countless brutal winters, the group has kept the tradition alive.
“It brings in the new year in a real special way,” he said.
The hike is no picnic.
“It is kind of a rigorous thing,” Copelin said. “When I was a younger man it was a little easier. As you got a little older it got a little tougher to go up there in the winter.”
But one thing always makes it worth it.
“It’s a great family of people… great comradery,” he said.
As 2021 keeps coming closer, this close-knit group has to stay spaced out.
“This year with COVID it’s going to be a completely different climb,” Copelin said. “They’re going to have a very small group going up this year.”
They have to keep the tradition alive.
“We’ve got a strong group, some of the stronger climbers, younger climbers, gonna climb from Manitou up,” he said.
For Copelin, it’ll be weird seeing the show from below.
“It’s a different world up at 14,000 feet,” he said.
But, after all, climbing America's mountain is more than just his tradition.
“The tradition will go on, even if you’re down here,” Copelin said. “So whether I’m up there or down here it’s just awesome. So it’s all good.”