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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-04||Route: West Face
Info: Looks like all West Face couloirs avalanched recently. Snow conditions are pretty stable. Approach requires flotation. Rare opportunity to go Democrat‘s West Face!
|2015-05-31||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road is snow free to approx. 1/2 to 3/4 mile above Paris Mill. There wasn‘t a great freeze last night. Amazing snow and great skiing from summit to Dem/Cam saddle, and then noticeably softer below. I hadn‘t expected the skiing up high to be that good. I initially wanted to ski south slopes but changed plans in part due to weak freeze and soft snow at lower elevations. South slopes probably would have skied fine imo but didn‘t chance it today. Large amount of recent wet loose point release slide activity below rock bands in the area. Most of what I saw was probably D1 to D1.5. On the drive home we saw significant wet slide activity everywhere we looked (hoosier pass, ten mile range, loveland pass) and some of that was D2 or possibly larger. It looked like there was a huge debris pile just east of A-basin that slid from the ridge between Grizzly and Lenawee.
|a day in the life||2015-05-31||0|
|2015-05-30||Route: East Slopes
Info: Skied Democrat from the summit. The weather forecasted a low of 23, though it didn‘t feel that cold at the car at my start time of 6 a.m. But running water on the road had a pretty good ice covering. The snow was excellent. I ended up booting it all the way to the summit. I dug a pit around 13.5K, and it was all solid and compacted for a foot and a half. A couple of inches of new snow on an intermittent sustrugi base. A real skier would have ate it up, but I was concerned about loosing an edge so descended what I ascended. 7 hrs round trip and that was with a good amount of loafing. I could ski back to the car with just two quick portages. Great winter wonderland coverage. Time to shred if it gets cold. Oh, and you‘ll more than likely want crampons.
|2015-04-25||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hiked up from Paris Mill. Microspikes required until kite lake TH, then snowshoes for the entire ascent/descent. A lot of new snow. Was caught in a blizzard today. More on the way.
|2015-04-14||Route: North Ridge/Face
Info: Still prime skiing off of the north face. Neighboring 14ers looked pretty dry.
|2015-04-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: Climbed Decalibron on April 4th. The road to kite lake is blocked about 3 miles from the kite lake trail head, so be sure to add 6 miles to whatever you plan to hike that day. We did not need snowshoes, but microspikes were necessary for Democrat and traversing Cameron to get over to Bross. Plenty snow everywhere, as it warms up postholing may become more of an issue. For us, we did not posthole at all. VERY windy and cold.
|2015-03-31||Route: South Slope
Info: Spring snow conditions on Democrat south face - snow was well consolidated today and in great shape for climbing. I put crampons on just above Kite Lake and ascended snow towards the shoulder below south face. A bit worried about sun warming the snow high on the face, so I veered left towards the prominent cliff band and climbed the longest (2nd from right) to get to upper mountain. No crampons or traction needed on the upper mountain on nice spring snow. Descended standard route back to the saddle. Thought about putting micro spikes on for that, but decided it wasn‘t worth stopping. Two nice long glissades down to the lake from below the saddle (using axe to manage speed).
|2015-03-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road still closed at the Paris mill. Had to hike in another 3 miles to the Lake. Conditions were very windy but skies were clear. Very warm on the decent. Lots of snow beginning to melt. This was my first winter 14er and I did not bring any crampons or snowshoes. Will definitely not make that mistake again. Lots of post-holing along the trail from the Lake back to the car. Face got wind burnt but all in all, totally worth it.
|2015-03-21||Route: South Slope
Info: Hiked to about 13,000 in the chute, but got too steep and slick for microspikes. Three guys were about 2 hrs ahead of me, they had crampons. They skied down while I was still hiking. Heard them say it was icy. Most of the area has 2-4 inches of snow from Thursday on top of crusty/icy layer of snow. The South Slop has the most snow in that area. None on Bross. Snowmobilers with snowboards were taking turns in the bowl above Kite Lake and along the standard route.
|2015-03-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: Skinned and skied the standard route today. The road is snow-covered and packed from the winter closure (Paris Mill area) all the way to Kite Lake. Snow on Democrat‘s east slopes until you reach 12,900‘, then it‘s on and off to the Democrat-Cameron saddle. The ridge leading to the top is mostly snow-covered and skiable from summit almost down to the saddle. Summit ridge has plenty of snow. Overall, the upper route doesn‘t have a lot of snow and low avalanche danger.
|2015-02-14||Route: East Slopes
Info: Glorious day with 99% sun and a little wind. Headed up from the winter trailhead circa 9:00 am (give or take since I did a poor job watching the clock). Marched up to mt democrat and summitted around 12:20 and then cruised over to Cameron and Bross. I really wanted to grab Lincoln but the wind got pretty aggressive after 1 pm. I wore micro spikes almost the entire way and thought that was sufficient. Great, long day on my first winter 14er. Olly-the-dog-wonder dominated, per usual.
|2015-02-07||Route: South Slope - Right Couloir to SE Ridge
Info: Climbed Democrat (and Cameron, Bross) via what looks like the longest (steepest?) couloir on its south face, then continued to the summit along the SE Ridge. Snow on approach was fine with only an occasional bit of post-holing - took snowshoes but did not use them. The couloir itself was about half awesome climbing and half waist deep swimming in thick glop up to around 50 degrees. At the time of climbing i judged there to be minimal avi hazard. Used crampons the entire length of the couloir but probably could have gotten away with out them. Upper portion of SE ridge and good portions of the trails to Cameron and Bross were mostly windswept with no traction or flotation devices needed. Pretty windy on the summits and ridge-lines and was gusting hard enough between Cameron and Bross to knock me over. Bluebird skies turned ominous as I was leaving the summit of Bross but all of the precip passed to the south. Overall, it was fine day in the hills.
|2015-01-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: Parking area at Paris Mill approx 2.5 miles from the trail head. The remainder of the road is wind blown, sun baked, hard-pack, no need for snowshoes. The trail is clearly visible on the opposite side of Kite Lake and did take some post-holing to get to. The trail disappears around the Kentucky Belle Mine but you can easily hike straight up the firm, shallow snow field in the initial ascent towards the saddle around 12,400‘. At the top of the snowfield two large cairns allow you to reconnect with the trail. Not much for snow left on the east slope so getting to the saddle is pretty straight forward. The snow loaded trail is easy follow, spikes definitely helped. Once at the saddle there are some wind loaded areas but enough exposed rock to scramble up the ridge line and the trail is just visible enough every so often to stay on track. The trail traverses to the left just below a heavily wind loaded area and then disappears under the snow. The lookers left edge of the snow field was very firm making for a quick ascent to the top of the east slope with spikes. From there, an easy walk to the summit. Only slightly sketchy part was coming down from the top of the east slope to reconnect with the trail traversing back to the saddle. Steep and slick, could have used poles.
|2014-12-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road is still snowed in, 3 miles from Kite Lake Trailhead. You would need a serious 4wd with chains to get all the way to the TH, we parked on the paved road and hiked. We used microspikes which worked well. Snowshoes on the road are probably not a great idea, you hike through alternating patches of snow and gravel. The snow on the road to the TH was soft and varied from 8 inches to 2 ft. I would definitely take snowshoes and trekking poles with you, otherwise you will be post-holing all the way up to the peak. Some deeper snow at the end of the road, then it gets progressively deeper after the TH. We hit some strong headwinds on the hike in; we started at 6:30 AM. The rest of the day was gorgeous weather, probably 30 - 40‘s. There was snow all the way to the peak, varying from 1 to 3 feet. It took us 6 hours without snowshoes to reach the false peak. We made the personal call not to attempt the summit given the time of day and our condition. We had a party of 3, none of which had done a winter 14er. We were the only one ones on trail, although I did spot a couple of tracks that looked like a mountain lion had been around the trailhead recently. The snow ascending to the false peak was deep, 1 - 3 feet, but not a deal breaker, not sure snowshoes would help given the amount of rocks. Round trip was 8.5 hours for novice hikers. YMMV.
|2014-12-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Right now you can drive to Paris Mill and no further. It means an extra six miles, some of which is road and some of which is snow from 6 to 12 inches. After Kite Lake you need snow shoes until about 12,800. When I got to the saddle I noticed a hanging snowfield under the false summit of Democrat. It‘s about 200-300 vertical feet. I doubt if it would bury you but it could take you over a thousand feet of rock. I elected to climb Cameron.
|2014-10-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail is icy from the Democrat-Cameron saddle to the plateau. Nice snow on summit pitch...unconsolidated, ~18" deep.
|2014-09-28||Route: East Slopes
Info: Started 3am on 9/28. Very windy and minimal visibility from saddle of Dem/Cam. Made it very cold, my poles iced over but no thunder or precip to speak of, just gusty clouds. Once on Cameron had to use compass to orient as there was less than 20 ft of visibility. Very foggy the whole rest of the route with no break until descending around Bross.
|2014-09-27||Route: Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln-Bross Combo
Info: Early morning (in the dark) ascent of Democrat followed by the loop to Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. A couple patches of snow off the trail from recent storms. Trails in good shape. Some frost/mud area in the areas keeping the most shade the longest. No problems with any of the trail. Not too many hikers (about 45) on the trails -- much less crowded than summer peak time. Had some lone summit time on each one. Highest wind was 15mph on Cameron. Bypass below Bross is fine -- the regular descent into Kite Lake is steep and slippery (scree) as advertised. Nighttime low at Kite Lake was 38 -- some frost but nothing frozen. Daytime high high 50s on the peaks. Some clouds building at 12:30 departure and the trail head was less than half full then -- not even down to the switchback.
|2014-09-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: Be ready for really windy conditions. It was eXtremely gusty (estimate 55mph), particularly just past the Democrat-Cameron saddle going up either peak as well as along all the ridges. The hairiest part was ascending the first 50 meters from the saddle toward the Democrat summit, then it becomes more manageable as there‘s a bit of protection as the trail continues to the side of the ridge, instead of on top. A tiny dusting of icy snow at the top of each peak, but nothing to get excited about--definitely no need for traction.
|2014-09-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: Standard route to Democrat was clear of snow this morning. Some snow on the trail between Cameron and Lincoln, but it doesn‘t pose any issues and no traction is needed. Road is a little rough the last quarter mile, but my friend made it up in a Prius quite easily.