Summary: Four 14ers for my siblings, who had never done one before! AWESOME job guys! A spectacular day on the Decalibron with my sisters and brother. At times it was tough and a real challenge for them, but everyone managed to pull through and finish. I am super proud of these guys!
Conditions: With a few very small exceptions, the mountains are very clear of snow and in full summer mode for the standard route. The road to Kite Lake is rough in spots, but quite manageable for passenger cars. BEWARE: However, there was extensive construction on the road and you may run the risk of having the road closed by construction crews: see the bottom of my report for details.
Report: With my parents out of town for the week, it seemed only fitting for me to come back home and take my siblings up their first 14ers. What better way to start them off than with four in one day? So, there we went to tackle the Decalibron!
I immediately knew I was dealing with four teenagers when 4:30am rolled around (a half hour after I had woken them up) and I was completely alone at the breakfast table despite the fact that I had gotten everything ready for them (clothes, packs, water bottles, gear, etc.) What in the world takes so long to get ready anyways, lol!? Finally we were all set to go and after driving from Denver hit the trail around 7:15.
At the TH ready to go!
As often happens, the first push to the Democrat saddle was tough as everyone was still getting warmed up and wasn't quite fully awake. But we did have beautiful weather and a nice warm day. Our original plan was to summit Democrat first, see how everyone was feeling, and decide on the other three from there.
Heading up Democrat looking back down to Kite Lake
Reaching the Democrat-Cameron saddle
The twins were pretty tired on the way up from the saddle and slowed down quite a bit, but they put in a great effort and made it to the top of their very first 14er!
Democrat summit: first 14er for all the kiddos!
Looking West to Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert
The day was full of new experiences for them as we took a 'shortcut' back down the saddle. This involved scrambling down the semi-exposed ridge and everyone loved it.
Coming down Democrat
Recharged by the downhill, we decided to head off to Cameron. The way back up was tough again and after reaching the summit (which is really just a round hill) we discussed if everyone felt they could get to Lincoln. After some debate and much encouragement, we all took off for Lincoln together. The twins kept remarking how much it was like Mt. Doom/Mordor. I recalled when I hiked the 'real' Mt. Doom while we lived in NZ: Mt. Ruapehu.
Cameron summit shot
Lincoln, aka 'Mt Doom' as described by the twins
Despite slow going and plenty of breaks (it's tough for new guys spending that much time over 13,500') we summited #3-Lincoln. I was so proud of these guys for going for it and I think they surprised even themselves.
Steph on Lincoln
Lincoln summit shot, 3 down 1 to go
The traverse to Bross
I won't say officially that we summited Bross (not sure how big of jerks the private landowners are or if they watch 14ers.com). I will say that I am so proud of these guys and it was just a great time as we did the Bross traverse and celebrated a big accomplishment for them.
Looking back at Democrat
Image #16 (not yet uploaded)
The slopes coming off of Bross proved to be as annoying and loose as expected and it was slooooow going on the way down. Tired feet plus loose scree is a bad combo. However, these guys toughened up and made it down without any serious issues. All in all we spent just under 7 1/2 hours on the mountain. Not the fastest time in the world, but their goal was just to finish and they did that in an awesome way.
Scree slopes of Bross were steep
Trying not to slip
Looking back to Democrat and Cameron
BEWARE: As we were finally driving down and celebrating we hit a major snag: seems there was some major unannounced road construction (aka, digging a huge ass hole in the road so no cars could pass) on the way down. Long story short, we and 20 or so other cars had to wait an hour for them to finish whatever they were doing. I don't know their upcoming schedule, but they did warn of more work to come throughout the week. You would be wise to try and find out about closings for the Kite Lake road in the near future. City of Alma, CO might have those details.
What a bunch of idiots!