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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2012-05-28||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hiked the "standard" East Slope approach today in regular hiking boots with no problems. A few short snow patches are still present on the first section of trail, then again just as you get to the saddle, and then one larger snowfield on final summit approach to Democrat. (pic) The snow is hard-packed, very icy (solid ice from melt / refreeze) / slick in early mornings then slushy / muddy with afternoon sun exposure. The Summit Log for Mt Democrat was missing this date. The summit log container looks as it if has been vandalized / crushed and no semblance of log book, just the tie-down cable and partial container remnants.
|2012-05-27||Route: East Slopes
Info: Mostly snow free on the way up the steeper pitches, but the top is all snow. Snow is hardpacked, no postholing now, but slick in places. Microspikes not needed (we were the only ones who had them it seemed) but they sure made it more comfortable.
|2012-05-26||Route: East Slopes
Info: Some icy snowpack on democrat trail. Microspikes nice but not necessary on that peak only. The rest of the peaks pretty dry. Very windy but not too cold. Road to kite lake in good shape even for 2wd. Lots of camping areas. Don‘t forget $3 for parking unless you want to park 100 yards down or so.
|2012-05-22||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road is clear and dry. A bit rough but there were several passenger cars at the Kite Lake parking lot today. There is a fair bit of snow along the route of the four-peak circuit. No traction required, but putting the micro spikes in the pack is probably not a bad idea, just in case. No postholing experienced on a clockwise circuit, starting at 7 a.m.
|2012-05-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: Climbed Democrat this morning after getting 4-5 ish inches of snow cover last night. No snowshoes needed, though. Only a few post-holing moments. Microspikes served us well. The snow was getting mushier by 10 am, and might melt off soon. The road to Kite Lake was clear of snow by 10 am, but VERY muddy.
|2012-05-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Snow below the saddle is hard packed may cause postholing if you descend later in the day. Any snow above the saddle was avoidable. I had microspikes but never took them out of my pack.
|2012-04-20||Route: East Slopes
Info: Still some deep snow up there. I recommend some snow shoes as post holing all day was tough. Hellacious winds today. NOAA said up to 32 MPH, but we had sustained winds that could pick my loaded Gregory Palisade 80 off of the ground and the gusts easily knocked two adult males over. It was wacky up there kids.
|Benji the Hunted||2012-04-20||2|
|2012-04-18||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road to Kite Lake was mostly clear. There were a couple patches of snow that a 2WD with clearance could take. The majority of the trail was covered in snow, luckily we left some nice trenches for you. Microspikes were helpful on the decent.
|2012-04-08||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hey guys! My wife and I just got back from Mt Democrat. It was a near perfect day. It was windy, but wuite nice between gusts. My wife had microspikes, she only used them on the descent. I managed without anything (no poles, axes, or spikes). The snow is quite packed and mostly ice in a lot of spots. We did some glissading, though not much. The dogs had a blast and were best friends with everyone they saw! The road in is dry all the way. I made it fine in a Subaru Impreza. A 2wd car with decent clearance should be able to make it, just pick your line wisely. Happy Hiking! Andrew
|2012-03-31||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road to Kite Lake is still clear, albeit muddy in the afternoon--high clearance strongly recommended. Route up to the Dem-Cam saddle entails a bit of snowfield crossing, an ascent up a short, mildly steep snow slope (trekking poles should be sufficient to surmount this), and mostly following the trail all the way to the summit. There are a few areas where slick, hard-packed snow covers the trail, or the trail crosses a short bit of snowfield, but they can be surmounted with minimal traction (e.g., spikes) or probably avoided altogether. Even milder conditions exist over to Cameron, up Lincoln (the last bit to the summit is snow-free) and over by Bross and South Bross. The screefest descent back to Kite Lake was about 99% snow-free until the slopes lessened, with one portion back low in the basin offering a modest glissade. A bit of post-holing went down on the way back to the parking area. In short: minor traction (spikes or ice axe) are a good idea, but you can get by without them if need be. Snowshoes aren‘t worth the very short stretch or two they might help out on--leave them. Lots of dry rock up there!
|2012-03-24||Route: South Slope
Info: Saturday, March 24th, 2012. We skied the main chute skier‘s right of the summit from around 13,800‘. From 13,800‘ to the summit was dry, though I suppose if you like walking over rocks with your skis on you could make it go from the true summit. The chute was in excellent condition, corning up well around 10am and granting a ski all the way back to the Kite Lake TH. We dug a pit at the base of the chute, isolated a column, and recorded a CT of 30+ and a shear score of 3. The chute is very stable, and is lending good skiing from summit ridge to car right now. Feel free to PM me if you need any additional info. -benners P.S. The third photo is a shot of Arkansas from Democrat‘s summit.
|2012-03-18||Route: East Slopes
Info: Sorry I have no pics. My camera is broken and my partner forgot his. Did the loop starting up the Bross trail and ending on Democrat. The road is now plowed to Kite Lake due to the recent S&R activity on Ajax. The sherriff and local search and rescue folks were up there sat morning and they were all very nice and very friendly. There was a couple of hundred yards of snow from the TH towards bross. Snowshoes definitely not needed. Almost dry route all of the way until the Cameron/Democrat saddle. Microspikes might be nice up Democrat as the trail there is pretty hard packed but we managed just fine with just boots. We camped on the Democrat summit Sat night and woke up to crazy winds sunday morning so we packed up quickly and got back to the car. Having the advantage of the road being open to kite lake, we made it down in time to have a delicious breakfast at the world‘s highest saloon in alma. Nice folks there!
|2012-02-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: I was able to drive through fresh snow 2 miles past Alma, leaving 4 miles to snowshoe to Kite Lake. During my hike, the plows came, so you should be able to drive another 1/2 mile or so now. I kept my snowshoes on from car to car. They weren‘t always needed, but throughout the hike there were frequent spots of snow deep enough to warrant them. The wind managed to pretty much erase my tracks, so I found myself re-breaking trail for a few miles after Kite Lake on the return. Avy slopes can be avoided without much trouble. The hike took me 7.5 hours - one of the easier winter 14ers I‘ve done!
|2012-02-09||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road to Kite Lake is closed at Paris Mill, about 2.5-3 miles short of the summer trailhead. It‘s plowed to the closure and 2WD accessible. You MIGHT be able to get farther, but I wouldn‘t recommend it. There are sections of snow along the road, including immediately after the mill, approaching a foot deep. The road is equal parts dry and drifted. I wore my snowshoes from the car to nearly 13,000‘, though I wouldn‘t call them necessary. The deep-snow sections are short. You could probably get away without snowshoes as long as you don‘t mind a couple hundred feet of knee- or waist-deep postholing. From the lake, we stayed right of the summer trail on a broad hill that dog-legged left toward the Democrat-Cameron saddle. We descended the standard route and didn‘t notice any avy danger, so either option is likely fine. The route does cross one slide area (Photo 3) at roughly 12,700‘ in the area displayed in Photo 2. The route we chose in Photo 2 started at the rocks left of center and traversed up and left. The avalanche slope is about dead center. We tested the snow on similar aspects and hadn‘t seen any signs of instability, so we felt reasonably safe as we crossed it one at a time. We took off our snowshoes shortly after the avy slope. The snow was mostly wind-scoured or we were on rocks from there (12,800‘) to the summit. The somewhat-bad conditions turned to a complete whiteout above 13,000‘. Very limited visibility, blowing snow, sustained winds between 30 and 40 miles per hour. Bone-chilling cold. I took my goggles off for a few minutes and my eyelashes acquired so many icicles my left eye almost froze shut, haha. So, yeah. We stopped after Democrat, saving Lincoln, Bross and Cameron for another day (from Quartzville!). I‘d say go poach our trench, but the wind blew it away as quickly as we made it. RT time roughly 7.5 to 8 hours.
|2012-01-06||Route: East Slopes
Info: The area lacks snow in general. However, the trail is the only feature covered in snow. I would strongly advice microspikes because the hard pack can be slick and icy. The snowy trail lasts most of the way to Mt. Cameron and thats about it. Lincoln has a few snowy sections while the Cameron Bross saddle is snow free.
|2011-11-23||Route: East Slopes
Info: Route up to democrat had a fair amount of snow drifted in spots, but nothing that needed snowshoes really. Microspikes were incredibly helpful all day. I broke trail on the way up and had a few spots where I was knee or thigh high in snow. The route over to Cameron was less snow, but MUCH more wind. On Cameron & Bross the wind was so hard I was literally hiking while leaning at a 30 degree angle. Descending Bross I was glad to have brought the ice axe, since I used it in a few spots in the gully which was fully of snow, because I lost the trail down (if there even is one).
|2011-10-20||Route: From Kite Lake
Info: Note: Kite Lake Road is currently closed from Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Was hoping to hike up Democrat from Kite Lake with my father, but when we turned onto Kite Lake Rd. in Alma we discovered that the road is currently closed Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I hadn‘t been aware of this, although apparently there was a post about it in the forum. We did Sherman instead, so the story didn‘t end that badly.
|2011-10-02||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail and acess road are still snow free. There was some slick frost on democrat until about 9am. Tundra and Aspen still have beautiful color. Road closures of Kite lake road. Check trailhead page for more info. With limited acess there was a LOT of people up there on Sunday
|2011-09-22||Route: Combo - Decalibron
Info: Well I was going to try and complete the Combo route, but I ran into a problem. The road (County Rd ‘8‘) heading to Kite Lake was under construction. A sign said that it would be closed from 7am to 7pm. What I don‘t know is if it was just for today (9/22) or if it will last longer. Just a heads up. There‘s also road construction on Colorado Hwy 9, mile marker 81, just north of Alma. It‘s not terrible, though.
|2011-09-21||Route: East Slopes
Info: Did the DeCaLiBron combo. Very windy, making it feel much colder than it was. Had to stop and find places to huddle and block the wind to warm up a few times. Trail itself was good - some snowy and icy spots here and there. Used crampons for part of the descent down Democrat (to easy my mind), but found that they weren‘t really necessary & took them off soon after putting them on. Main issue with the hike that day was the strong gusts of wind.