For Pikes Peak Marathon & Ascent runners who are fortunate enough to train on Barr Trail, Barr Camp is a common stop on a long run training day. Perhaps as a quick stop to hydrate and refuel, a rest stop after descending the grueling rocky trail below A-Frame, or for a much needed bathroom break, runners find Barr Camp to be a welcome sight on a long day of training for Pikes Peak. Now with the newest resident caretakers, take a few minutes to enjoy a little conversation!
Seth Boster - [email protected]
May 5, 2022 - Originally posted in OutThere Colorado
Pikes Peak has some new residents.
Karla Lowery and Robert Tegtman are Barr Camp's latest caretakers, having moved to the mountain's historic waystation more than a month ago. They are the third young couple in two years to make home in the cabin above 10,000 feet, filling a fulltime position that had been vacant for much of this past winter.
Volunteers tag-teamed to tend to the remote camp while overnight reservations were put on hold — said to be a first for staffing reasons in the life of the camp's managing nonprofit. Reservations are being booked again now with Lowery and Tegtman on hand.
Teresa Taylor, one of those volunteers who lived on the mountain from 2005 to 2013 and has since acted as liaison between caretakers and the nonprofit board, called the new hires "a relief." She hoped they would lend stability that has eluded the camp since 2020.
The pandemic marked the start of unprecedented financial woes for Barr Camp; reservations were put on hold, cutting off revenue the nonprofit depends on to pay caretakers and maintain infrastructure. The pandemic also marked the start of turnover, one caretaking couple in their 20s gone after another in the span of months.
Lowery and Tegtman have stood out for "their maturity level and their ability to think through constructive criticism and respond in a really positive way," Taylor said. "We've had two sets of caretakers where that wasn't always the deal."
Lowery and Tegtman, high school sweethearts from Ohio, had been living in Colorado Springs prior to moving up the
mountain. In emailed responses to questions sent to their post, they said the Barr Camp job was one they "pursued pretty
Tegtman called it a "dream job." He'd been working in a mortgage office after a lifetime of hiking around Colorado and
beyond. "Always wanted to work in a remote wilderness setting," he wrote. "Spent a lot of time staring longingly at Pikes Peak through
my window at work." Tegtman's wife, meanwhile, was walking dogs for a living. Barr Camp was "a very unique opportunity," Lowery wrote, "and
we were eager to connect with people after a few years of COVID."
Connecting with people is indeed part of the job at Barr Camp — greeting and tending to the hiking and camping masses of
The time-honored tasks are many, far more than just managing reservations and inventory: prepping spaghetti dinners and
pancake breakfasts; chopping wood for the burner; breaking ice for water; scooping the compost toilet; serving as a critical
line of communication with search and rescue. Depending on the elements, the solar panel and sewer lines pose other
"It's really hard to explain the job to people, everything it entails," Taylor said. "And it's really easy to romanticize."
The hope is for caretakers to stay at least a year, she said.
As for Tegtman and Lowery, "no timeline," they wrote in an email. "Living in the moment and loving it, cheesy as it sounds."
© Pikes Peak Marathon