| Snow, "The Yell", and physical brutality...
Preface - Hit the decliabron soon. This hike was one of the funner ones I‘ve done. First time ever really traversing in a bit of snow on Democrat. Love using the axe. And I ran into a guy on the saddle who greeted me with, "Greetings Earthling." Or something to that effect. I love these mountains and the majority of the people on them! Oh, without further ado...
Hit the Kite Lake TH at 6:30. Road was completely clear. Started out on my hike. Beautiful day, not a cloud to speak of (sshhh!). Going was smooth and trail was easy to follow. But, just in case, had my full 14ers.com printout in my pocket (which I would need later). Got to the saddle between Dem/Cam. Was little spots of snow on way up. Nothing major. But, going across to Democrat, I was glad I had packed my snow axe. I used it liberally in a few spots. I gained the summit. All alone. No wind. Gorgeous.
Headed back down (axe again) and over to Cameron. This trail had a bit of snow, but no accessories needed. Cameron was clear, off to Lincoln. Lincoln had some snow up the back side. Few slick spots. Summit, a few pics. Off to Bross.
Started seeing the signs about private land. Keep singing in my head, "Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Do this, don't do that, can't ya read the sign..." Took a side trip on Bross before realizing it (consulted route map). Important to note here that I was all alone on the other summits. But, as soon as I hit Bross, 4 people. One was nice enough to snap a pick of me.
I headed down Bross intending to follow that way down which had been described as 'scree hell'. Luckily, it was snowed over pretty good. But, I didn't know the trail. Luckily, one other person must've done it prior. I followed their prints until I got to the ridge and they went over the side... I thought for all of 2 seconds then followed 'em over the side. Glad I did, was a fun decent with axe, snowy trail most of way.
Got back to Kite Lake TH. Was feelin' good so I decided to hit Quandary. Got to Quandary TH. Through the trees, trail was mostly muddy from melted snow. Once outta the treeline, snow became more prevalent. I began to feel the effects of trying to make this my fifth summit of the day. Once one the ridge, it's snowy goin' through the rocks. I thought about turning around many times. An angel appeared (a guy from CO Springs) who talked to me while I rested. He told me to put on my microspikes. He listened as I talked of death and giving up. He said the right things. I left him to his descent and I hit the summit. Snowy, cool, and breezy. I was stoked. I began my descent. I kept my microspikes on all the way to the TH. It helped on the mostly snow/ice/mud trail. Plus, they kind of acted as shock absorber for my feet which were screaming.
A great day of 11 hours of hiking, but the most physically exhausting one I've ever had. So, I loved it!!!
Looking back down toward Kite Lake TH on ascent.
Looking up at Mt. Democrat from trail
Looking up toward saddle between Democrat and Cameron.
On the summit of Democrat looking back at the trail up ridge.
"The Yell" on Mt. Democrat
"The Yell" on Mt. Cameron
Looking over at Lincoln from Cameron.
"The Yell" on Mt. Lincoln
Looking over at Lincoln from Bross/Cameron saddle.
Looking over at Democrat from Bross/Cameron saddle.
"The Yell" on Mt. Bross with the finger for the signs.
The gully going down Bross
Back at the Kite Lake TH
The marker on Quandary Peak
"The Yell" on Quandary
A look back on the summit of Quandary
And a photo from the summit of Quandary.
Was super tired on Quandary. I would love to do the decalibron in the snow again. It was fun!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):