| 4 Summits from Kite Lake
Captions for uploaded pics at the end
Me and my dad set out today to climb Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. Having recently climbed Bierstadt I was ready for more and these gentle peaks appealed to me at the time.
We set out at about 5 in the morning after waking up at 4. Hint: don't stay out partying until 1 in the morning and then wake up at 4; it doesn't work out. My stupid mistake . We arrived in Alma at about 7 from Denver and instantly found the Kite Lake road. It is well marked; I don't understand why some people say it isn't. The road was in excellent condition and I followed another sedan in mine up to the lake with very little effort. It was slow going because of some potholes and rocks but that's to be expected...overall, this road has either been cleaned up for 2WD or is very overrated. We made it to the lake after about twenty minutes and it was very crowded, so we paid the fee and hit the trail.
The initial ascent up Democrat was a chore. There is no initial flatland to hike on and the trail climbs instantly. The trail was steep and my breathing labored. It switchbacks up the southeast face of Democrat to the cameron-democrat saddle where there are some great views. It then follows a steep trail up the second false summit and flattens out up at the top and past the false summit. It is an easy hike from here except for a snowfield, but don't take this lightly. We saw many people quit after just this peak. No hard moves, just a hard hike. The summit of Democrat was cloudy and crowded so we moved on to Cameron (took about an hour and a half to get up Democrat).
The Cameron-Democrat saddle is easy but long and we arrived at the top of Cameron in about an hour. I hate that this peak isn't official...it is tall and beautiful and deserves this honor (when i say i climbed mountains this day I'm going to say that i hiked four fourteeners, not just three). The summit is very flat but smaller than Bross' and the views of all of these peaks is amazing from the top. Lincoln appeared surprisingly close so we set off after some pictures and a chat with some fellow climbers.
Lincoln was by far my favorite peak from this trip, and my favorite fourteener thus far. It was a very short hike to get to it (20 mins from cameron) and the views from the top were spectacular under a sunny sky. Also, the summit was small and it was the only peak to offer some spectacular cliffs to peer down . After a long time on the lincoln summit we reluctantly retraced our steps down the class 2 trail and cut across cameron's southeast face (easy) and onto Bross. The trip to Bross was like walking on a road and there was hardly any elevation loss. The summit was huge and flat and boring but there were some neat views of the valley below that weren't visible from the other peaks. Overall, though, Bross was somewhat boring (it is as it looks in pictures).
The descent down Bross was fun for about twenty minutes until my knees started to protest. Following a well worn and very visible trail you flank its northwest side and this is easy...until the trail pretty much ends. There is an obvious way down but no real trail and you end up sliding downwards on a scree field, which i tought was fun. Soon you are on a surprisingly dangerous ridge that requires some rock grabbing to keep from falling backwards on the loose scree. The trail leaves the ridge and descends into a gulley on loose dirt and rock until it eventually cuts back to the trailhead. The last half an hour of this hike was not fun at all and is a real knee killer...the nature of this gulley and ridge stand in sharp contrast to Bross' otherwise very gentle slopes. Pack some Advil.
Overall, an awesome trip and a peak bagger's dream. It took about 6 hours to complete and was worth it. Lincoln was a real treat.
Photo 1: My car at the trailhead...Democrat's false summit is seen to the left and cameron is off to the right.
Photo 2: View from the top of Democrat.
Photo 3: My dad on the top of Cameron with Lincoln in the background (close!) You can see its drop off on the side of the summit facing the camera. Very neat!
Photo 4: Bross as seen from the top of Cameron. The summits are both very round and flat but cameron's is much smaller.
Photo 5: Cameron and Democrat (right, pointy) seen from the top of mt. lincoln. You can tell that lincoln is the highest point from its summit and you look down on the other peaks. Very regal. You can see its false summit, too...the trail goes right over it.
Photo 6: My dad and I on the top of Lincoln.
Photo 7: The HUGE summit of Bross.
Photo 8: Cameron and Lincoln (peering out from Cameron's left side) from Democrat's summit. Someone lost their hat.
Photo 9: View from Lincoln looking north...absolutely breathtaking and very rugged looking.
Photo 10: Marker on top of Lincoln
Photo 11: Bross' steep ridge that you must climb down...kind of fun for a little and then it just gets painful. The trail descends the gulley to the left and emerges again towards the trailhead.
Photo 12: View of Democrat's towering face (left) and the gentler cameron from the slopes below bross. The trail up democrat can be seen, as well as the false and real summits.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):