After turning back on three consecutive attempts at climbing my twelfth 14er, I decided to pick something from the "Easiest" list in order to get back on track. Mt. Democrat seemed to fit the bill. Not only is it on the "Easiest" list, but it is near Fairplay, where the "South Park" television series originated. That way I was able to entice my son, who is a huge "South Park" fan, to come along with me.
Here's a view from the Kite Lake trailhead. The summit of Mt. Democrat is not visible from here:
Here's a view looking back from the Democrat-Cameron saddle:
At the 13,400 foot saddle my son was totally tuckered out. He had never climbed a 14er before, and since we live near sea level, the altitude was taking a toll on him. He turned back. I was proud of him for making it as far as he did. But I was feeling fine, and kept on trucking.
When the summit finally comes into sight, you notice that even in the middle of June there is a snowfield that must be traversed:
Crossing the snowfield presented no problem, as previous hikers had created a solid bootpack, to which I contributed:
And the final, yes final, summit pitch:
It was a bluebird day, so the views from the summit were magnificent:
Note the Hikers Crossing the Snowfield
Looking Back on the Route
Another View From the Summit
On my descent I took a picture of Kite Lake, which indeed is shaped like a kite:
I opted against attempting any of the other mountains in the "Decalibron" group (Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross), since my son was waiting at the car. Besides, I was pretty tuckered out myself. The other mountains in the group will have to be attempted another time.
It sure feels good to be back on track.
Addendum: Although Mt. Democrat is on the "Easiest" list, there are no easy 14ers.