| Decalibron for our Dads!
June 19, 2011 (Father’s Day) Climb- Decalibron
Mountains (in order): Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Cameron, Bross, S. Bross
Trailhead: Kite Lake
Start Time: 6:30 AM End Time: 1:30 PM (Our GPS recorded 2 hours of stop time)
Round Trip (approximate): 9 Miles
Elevation Gain: (approximate): 4,500 feet
Since both of our dads live in states far away, we decided to honor them the next best way—climbing four mountains, plus a bonus peak. Here we could say our hellos by video and be grateful for our wonderful dads, alpine style!
Lately we have been itching to get back up a fourteener, so we thought, why not climb four to start our season off! Practice climbs of the Incline, Lost Creek Wilderness, and Waldo Canyon have kept us somewhat acclimated, but there is nothing quite like being on top of the world, overlooking snow-capped mountain ranges on all sides.
We drove up to the small town of Alma Saturday and claimed our camp spot early along the county road.
Bare necessities To make things simple, we car camped. But it wasn’t as simple as we had hoped. Around midnight we got our first wake up call, with scratching and chomping noises outside our window. We banged on the window to scare the animal away and snoozed back to sleep. Another hour later, the same noises woke us, meanwhile our dog snored through the whole thing. Rick went out to see what it was; low and behold a hefty sized porcupine was sitting contently, not ready to budge. Rick shooed him off with a trekking pole. The third time he returned, Rick noticed he had eaten completely through wires hanging from the truck. Ugh! If any of you have seen our earlier Antero TR, we just don’t have good luck with these critters!
With intermittent sleep, we set off for our hike, a little apprehensive with the forecasts calling for gusts of wind and possible storms. The snow banks have melted some on the road to Kite Lake, but there is about ¾ a mile still that is impassable. This added about 1.5 miles round trip (easy enough to walk through).
Still not able to drive all the way up to Kite Lake, but almost.
We crossed over the creek just past the bathrooms-- using the spaced apart rocks as our bridge. This wasn't too bad to get across.
Creek crossing, easy to get across Instead of scaling up a snowy bank along the main trail to Democrat, we steered a bit to the right, avoiding much snow, and then rejoined the trail. Shortly after, we followed the footholds up a semi-steep slope. The snow-pack is great if you start your trip early (also- bring trekking poles!!!).
First snow climb (going up, but our dog likes to double back) We opted to leave our snowshoes back in the truck and never felt the need to wear them all day. Sure, there was a little post holing on the trek out, but that's to be expected.
Almost atop Democrat About two hours later, we made it to Democrat’s top!
Still lots of snow Stunning views and great weather made a perfect summit moment that we could share alone for about ½ hour. Our eleven year old lab, Anna, made it as well. We figured these may be her last 14ers because the rest on our list will be too tough.
1st mountain of the morning
We pushed on to Cameron. Another group stopped just shy of the top and said we had a little ways longer. The saddle over seemed to drag on, and we basically summitted without knowing we did (the top is flat and more like a hill). We carried on to Lincoln, which looked steeper than it felt to climb.
A look over to Lincoln from Cameron At this point we were joined with the other group of hikers and a 60 year old guy from San Diego that was running up the peaks. He had a great spirit and outlook on life! We can only hope to be in that kind of shape at his young age!
Cameron is snow free (a couple patches, but those can be avoided)From here, we re-climbed Cameron, snapped our token picture, and then made the last leg of our trip over to Bross (of course along the responsible route). We couldn’t end our trip without shooting over to South Bross.
We had a great day on the Decalibron!!! Good job Anna, you ol' dog!
As others have stated- the down climb from Bross is brutal! The loose scree and endless rock fields get old quick. Nevertheless, we got back to our truck in one piece. Other than our blistered feet, the day was refreshing, invigorating, and kept us up high for quite some time. The ridge hiking is a blast!
Ouch- all that hiking left blisters. The snow water helps some.
Our final celebration was to share a couple cold ones, mountaineer-style.
Shilling comes to the rescue
To sum up- We did not experience the gusts of wind like we had thought- it ended up being a beautiful day. It felt fantastic to be in our church on father's day. Too bad our dads couldn't be up there with us . The snow wasn't a real problem if you like snow crossings or climbing up hard packed hills. Just be sure to leave early, and we would advise the trekking poles and even an ice axe for those wanting a little added security. We're so glad we hiked the Decalibron when we did because this a.m. we see weather reports of a few inches of snow in that area. Phew!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):