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 Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Mt. Bross  -  14,172 feet
Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  07/23/2011
 Date Climbed:   07/16/2011
 Posted By:  RJansen77

 Racking up the peaks (Part I)   

I know this TR is a week late, but I'm hoping it will serve as a good reference for people hoping to try these peaks in the future.

Having skied some peaks and climbed some more challenging ones in the past few weeks, my roommate and I decided that we wanted to stay closer to Denver and do some faster peaks, a "peak bagging" weekend if you will. We camped below Kite Lake Friday night and hit the trail Saturday morning at 3:55am, as we were hoping to do more than just DeCaLiBron that day.

The trail was easy to follow from the upper parking area, and we crossed maybe two very small snowfields along the way. I'd imagine they're melted out or very close to it by now with the heat we've been having.

Scampering up the good trail and over the false summit of Democrat, we reached the summit at 5:15am, actually beating the sunrise we had been concerned we might miss!Image
Democrat summit at 5:15am, pre-sunrise but still a beautiful morning glow!


We made it down to the Democrat-Cameron saddle pretty quickly and followed the great trail up from the there to the second summit of the day.
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Cool moon behind Democrat with climbers on the summit.


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Sawatch from Cameron


The summit of Cameron wasn't very dramatic, so we cruised over to Lincoln and I grabbed a few silhouette shots of Tyler on the summit.
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Tyler greeting the morning on Lincoln, at 6:50am.


While these peaks aren't the most challenging, thy certainly offer fantastic views in all directions!
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Great views from these peaks!


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Looking back toward Cameron from Lincoln


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Beautiful!


The trail is very easy to follow, and we reached Bross 30 mins after leaving Lincoln.

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On Bross


On the descent we reached an unsigned split in the trail, and went right as it was the lower of the two routes. This trail fizzled into the mountainside, and as a result we had to climb a few hundred verts up to the other trail that eventually contoured around to the ridge.

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A little off route, scrambling back to the trail.


The route is pretty loose and somewhat steep in places, but eventually it became more gradual and we decided to run down to the car!

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Wanna run down?


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A nice waterfall near the bottom of Bross


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Four peaks in just over four hours (I'm counting 59 peaks, just because I love them all!)



We ran down the trail on Bross and reached the parking lot at 8:05am, 4 hours and 10 minutes after starting. A great morning, but we weren't finished yet!




We packed up the campsite, rolled down to Alma, and then drove north over Hoosier Pass to the Quandary trailhead. We actually took a few minutes to get ready and then hit the trail up at 10am, while many folks were finishing their climbs.


Note: I do NOT advocate starting any climb at 10am during the summer monsoon. We viewed Quandary as a bonus as we had already completed DeCaLiBron that morning. We were perfectly willing to turn if the skies had become threatening, but they never did and we were granted safe passage to the summit and back by mother nature. Our mentality was "let's roll the dice and see how high we get," -I didn't expect to summit but we definitely got lucky.


Our legs still felt okay, and we were up the ridge in a little under two hours.

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Tyler coming up the ridge


There were a lot of mountain goats out on the standard route, and wee saw them on the ascent and descent.

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A friend along the way



The trail was in great shape the whole way, and we enjoyed nice views of our early morning work as we climbed.

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Good views of DeCaLiBron from Quandary


The final pitch is steeper, but soon it levels off and you're rewarded with a short stroll to the summit.

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Up to the summit


Someone was kind enough to take our picture on top!

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Five 14ers in a day!


We enjoyed great views of the surrounding ranges, and left after maybe fifteen minutes as the clouds were thickening.

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The clouds were building, so we didn't stay long


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Great views off the summit.


On the descent, we saw more goats, including one with a baby. They were right on the trail and didn't move for us. I've read all about bears and mountain lions, but wasn't really sure what to do with these guys. They got close!

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The goats were out on Quandary


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This guy came to within three feet of us! We had to go around as they wouldn't give up their ground


As we descended there was thunder not far away, and as a result we jogged from the middle of the ridge to tree-line. There were till people ascending (probably about 1pm now) and I hoped they had turned when they heard the rumbles. Eventually it drizzled on us and even hailed a little bit, but we got to the parking lot and the sun was out.

This was a great day and a fun way to bag a bunch of summits. If anyone has any other questions about these peaks feel free to PM me.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


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