| Decalibron Loop
After hiking Elbert last weekend, I was anxiously planning my next outing for more 14ers. I was not excited about the headache I got while hiking Elbert, but it's part of the deal so I would deal with it again.
I decided on hiking Democrat, Lincoln, and Bross from the Kite Lake side. Because of a snow drift, I was forced to park at the very first mine you get to on the road (on a right hand turn). As I was getting ready a Jeep rumbled past and through the snow without a problem. Sometimes I am jealous of them, but I like my Jetta TDI. I forget when I actually started hiking, but I think it was just before seven. Once past the drift, the road was easily driveable for a long distance. I lost my breath once more when I made the final turn to get to the TH.
CO is beautiful. I stopped at the TH to stash my skis and boots and saw some slide debris.
The ridgeline I could see from here was awesome, though I knew I wouldn't be on it.
There were some folks in front of me who left just as I got to the TH, and some people who were in front of them.
I was light enough to hike on top of the snow for the entire time up to the ridge. I passed two guys on my way up to Democrat. When I reached the peak I could see some clouds in the west and it was fairly windy, in the 20s or so. It was pretty chilly, but not freezing cold. There was a guy and a woman on top and we chatted for a bit. It was her first 14er, so I congratulated her. I snapped a pic from the summit, but not a true summit shot.
After a minute or two I started heading down to the saddle. I had a big day and the wind was a bit much, so I wanted to get out of there! Due to the wind and sun, some of the snow along the trail was rock hard. On my way up I thought crampons would be helpful, and the way down was scary at some points. I took my time and only had one moment where I said oops. I stopped to have lunch once I reached the saddle. Here was my view.
At this point I was pleasantly surprised to realize I didn't have a headache like I did last week! It was difficult to breathe at times, but I could deal with that. I was happy. The hike up to Cameron was straightforward. The wind blew pieces of ice and snow into my face so I put on my goggles. I met up with the two guys I had passed on the summit.
While I was here I debated going across to Lincoln. It was starting to snow and the clouds were closer than before. Hiking solo, I didn't want to push my luck. I decided to go for it; the clouds didn't look that menacing. This was my favorite peak of the day. The ridge up to the summit is great. It reminded me of hiking back in NH. Here's a look back to where I came from.
I signed the log and then scoped out the route up Bross. There was a sketchy snowfield to cross on my way, but other than that it was straightforward. I took another shot of Lincoln.
I hiked Bross (staying on the trail) and again met with the two guys who I'd been following all day.
The hike down was frustrating. I missed the turn to cross the final gully and so I added at least forty minutes on to my hike (down, and then retracing to a crossable spot). That sucked. Once I got back to the TH it was straightforward.
I do like driving over passes because of signs like this.
Despite the lack of views and the screw up in the route finding, it was a good day and I enjoyed myself. I did not get shocked this week, which made me happy. I was happiest of all because the altitude didn't seem to have much of an effect on me. This left me wondering what I should do next.....
More pics here.