| Solo Summit
This is my first trip report, so please bear with me and my lack of details...
I was supposed to do a backpacking trip with a group but everyone bailed, so I was stuck by myself. I'm incapable of getting out of bed early if I don't have anyone to meet, so I didn't make it to Kite Lake until 7:45. I drive an Oldmobile Intrigue (that I LOVE...and is not anything like my parents used to drive!) and it had no trouble making it to the parking lot. The lot was full of campers and dayhikers, some who had already set out, some who didn't until much later. There is a well-marked trail all the way up Democrat. I don't wear a watch, but I heard someone tell someone else on the summit that it was 10:22. That's the last known time I had until I got back to my car...
Here's a view of Cameron and Lincoln from Democrat.
Gerry Roach said there was a more direct approach up the Democrat summit than the swithbacky trail around the east side, so on the descent I chose to just shoot straight down. There were several other people with the same idea and no one seemed to have any problems. (I didn't see anyone attempting to ascend this way though.)
I got down to the saddle between Democrat and Cameron and hung out for awhile watching some rather large clouds starting to roll in. Two women passed me and started up Cameron so I figured "what the hell." If it got too bad I could always turn around. The wind started to pick up, but was definitely managable. I had seen vague trail outlines up the saddle from Democrat, but very quickly lost them on the ascent. I noticed the two women above me take abrupt turns a couple of times, apparently trying to find a trail as well. I also had several people pass above me headed in the opposite direction. There is actually a trail there, but it's much more obvious from the Democrat or Cameron peaks than when you're on the mountain. I reached the summit and was pleased to see that the clouds were much less ominous. The views were absolutely gorgeous despite the increasing wind.
Lincoln looked (and actually is) so close and I decided to go for it.
I should mention that by this point there were still people on Democrat and Bross, but I only met up with 4 people on Cameron and they were coming back from Lincoln already. The hike over to Lincoln was easy and I was at the summit in (what felt like) no time. There was a couple just descending (the last people I would see for the day) and they said they were headed over to Bross where they were parked. The wind was still pretty bad and I knew it was getting late, so I snapped a couple of pictures and headed towards Bross.
The clouds seemed to have passed over and the weather improved briefly. So much so that I stopped to put on my sunglasses and take off my jacket. Turns out, Cameron was just blocking another weather system moving in from the SW. The trail from Lincoln to Bross (there's a bypass so you don't have to re-summit Cameron) is impossible to miss and I made it to the midpoint quickly. As I came around Cameron though, the wind picked up again and I noticed the worst clouds of the day rolling in. I briefly considered turning south and heading back to my car, but I really wanted to finish out with Bross. (Did I mention I am lacking the common sense gene?) The hike up is short and easy and I hoped I could make it before a storm rolled in. I passed the couple from Lincoln and we briefly stopped to discuss the weather. They were parked maybe 100 feet from the summit and I watched them make it to their vehicle just as thunder started to rumble in the distance. They wished me luck and I hurried up to the summit. As I approached, the wind was blowing so fiercely from behind me that I didn't have to exert any effort to almost get carried up to the top. About 25 feet from the summit, it started snowing. I quickly signed the register, took a couple photos that didn't turn out, and headed off. It continued snowing for awhile and then just stopped. The skies cleared and the sun came out again. Afterwards, the hike down was beautiful and uneventful. Such is life in the mountains...
I made all four summits which was my goal, (I also run marathons and have yet to have a DNF) but on the whole I would say it wasn't the smartest decision and if anyone else had been with me it never would have happened. I don't know if that makes me really lucky or really stupid. I made it back my my car just before 3:00 and headed home. On the whole I had a good day, though not sure it's one I would choose to repeat.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):