Today seemed as good a day as any to try the “Mosquito Quad” and take my mind off the terrible fires throughout Colorado. The sign for Kite Lake in Alma is a miniature wooden street sign – just look closely. The sky was clear and the temperature mild – no need for a parka today. If you park in the Kite Lake parking area, the charge (honor system with envelopes) is $3.00 – so bring some ones or a bunch of quarters. The road gets a little bumpy the last mile so park according to your vehicle. From the parking lot, you can see (the back of) the parking payment sign and the final mile or so of the drive up.
Approach to Kite Lake Trailhead
And yes, there is a bathroom at the parking lot.
Several tents were pitched from the night before and a friendly camper asked if my objective was all four. She had climbed all of them the day before and wished me luck. There were several other parties leaving about the same time as me – around 7 am. The sky looked great, although the forecast included probability of afternoon thunderstorms – as usual. Here's the view looking at the trailhead from the parking lot.
The beginning of the climb reminded me a bit of Mount Sherman several Mondays ago (June 11) looking back at Kite Lake.
Looking Back at Kite Lake
There are many wooden signs visible as the hike begins, just remember to keep climbing as some of the trails ahead are return paths.
A Beautiful Start
Toward Mount Democrat
Early in the climb I met Jeff and Beth. Jeff is from Lake Placid and was leading a group. Beth is from Bailey and Mount Bross will be her 23rd 14er
Jeff (left) and Beth (right)
Jeff’s first 14er was Longs Peak last year – 9 hours summit and return. Pretty impressive first climb
We chatted about the best sequence for the climbs and Beth confirmed the standard Democrat – Cameron – Lincoln – Bross route was the best use of energy. Off we went, each at our own pace, but usually regrouping for a water break or quick breather. My Tampa lungs haven’t fully converted to Colorado summer yet, but I found the right cadence and enjoyed the gorgeous morning view.
The saddle between Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron is wide and easily recognized,
Approaching the Democrat | Cameron Saddle
and again like Sherman hosts old structures from another time. We turned left at the saddle and headed toward the summit.
Toward Mount Democrat Summit
Jeff and I chatted about work/life balance and the need to keep our priorities intact, especially with regard to our families. The conversation energized me. Thank you Jeff
Mount Democrat Summit
A friendly flag greeted us at the summit, which afforded a breathtaking view. Jeff is in the bright green jacket.
Jeff Atop Mount Democrat
Beth pointed out a number of peaks visible on the horizon. Behind me are Grays & Torreys Peaks – just to the right I think.
Jim Atop Mount Democrat
Even though it was only about 8.45, clouds were already forming.
Clouds Begin to Form
The Democrat-Cameron saddle and summit path to Mount Cameron are visible, as well as Mount Lincoln lurking just behind like a watchful eye.
Path to Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln
A couple more views of the horizon
Mount Quandary in the Background
Grays and Torreys Peaks
and it is time to go.
Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln
Poor Mount Cameron. Just a quick way station on the way to Mount Lincoln.
Jim Atop Mount Cameron
At least it hasn’t been downgraded in title like poor Planetoid Pluto. Mount Lincoln’s summit has a nice winding path up, like the stripes on a barbershop pole. From the summit, there’s a great view of Quandary Peak
Mount Quandary From Mount Lincoln
and a worn piece of wood welcoming Beth and me.
Mount Lincoln Summit
A well-marked, thin ribbon marks the path toward Mount Bross.
Path to Mount Bross
There appear to be numerous ways to reach the summit. A small fortress of rocks may provide relief from the wind for a snack, but dark clouds are rapidly forming. Just time for a quick snapshot. Thanks for these summit pictures Beth.
Jim Atop Mount Bross
Scree Return & Race Against The Thunderstorm
Beth sets a robust pace toward Kite Lake,
Returning to Kite Lake
Descent Via Scree
mostly scree, calling for hiking poles. This was the least graceful part of the hike, and frankly I just wanted to finish ahead of a thunderstorm forming behind us.
From a positive point of view, taking a scree filled path returns one to the welcome grassy meadow not far from the Kite Lake parking lot rather quickly. Check out the thunderstorm
Looking Back From the Meadow
A couple hundred yards from the parking lot the first crack of lightning shatters the silence and I half jog to the parking lot.
12.37 pm finish. A last look back at the storm forming
Returning Just in Time | Thunderstorm
I leave a business card in Jeff’s windshield and hope his team makes it back safely
A combination of sleet, hail, and mostly rain arrive shortly after on the way back home…
Tomorrow - time to donate to the victims of our Colorado Fires