Julia Archibald Holmes Becomes The First Woman To Reach Pikes Peak

On August 5, 1858, Julia Archibald Holmes became the first woman on record to reach the summit of Pikes Peak.

She, her husband James Holmes, and two others began their trek on August 1. For the ascent, Julia Holmes wore what she called her "American costume" — a short dress, bloomers, moccasins, and a hat.

Pikes Peak takes its name from Lieutenant Zebulon Pike, who, fifty years prior to Holmes’ ascent, led an expedition to reconnoiter the southwestern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. In November 1806, Pike, with a small party, began an ascent of the peak. Weather conditions forced them to abandon their frustrating attempt to climb to the summit.

Pikes Peak (originally Pike's Peak, see below) is a mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, 10 miles (16 km) west of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in El Paso County. It is named for Zebulon Pike, an explorer who led an expedition to the southern Colorado area in 1806. At 14,115 feet (4,302 m), it is one of Colorado's 54 fourteeners. Drivers race up the mountain in a famous annual race called the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. An upper portion of Pikes Peak is a federally designated National Historic Landmark.

I have accomplished the task which I marked out for myself…Nearly everyone tried to discourage me from attempting it, but I believed that I should succeed…”

— Agnes Wright Spring, ed., A Bloomer Girl on Pike's Peak