Mt. Democrat

Condition Updates  
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2023-02-26, By: _coloradical
Info: Road is still plowed nicely up to the winter closure. Wore snowshoes at from the closure until the summit of Democrat. Took a slight variation of the summer route up to the saddle, from here we stayed close to the standard trail up to the summit of Democrat. On the way down, around 13,800 we transitioned into spikes/ice axe with the snow not feeling as stable as we'd like. The climb to Cameron was mellow, we navigated some rocks along the ridge to the summit. Dropped down to Lincoln, saddle was dry and had a nice walk-up to the summit. On the way to Bross we did have one section of snow we had to navigate around, it was too hard to kick steps in but was about 30-40 feet. Bross was also dry and the descent route was fairly smooth despite the melting snow. We put snowshoes back on around 12,300 until we got back to the Winter TH. We got all 4, along with one other gentlemen (starting at Bross). The one guy ahead of us got Democrat, and we saw two more people on Bross in the afternoon but not sure if they did the loop or not. Great day. 
4 1
Route: East Slope
Posted On: 2023-02-18, By: KState14er
Info: Must have been some new snow between 02/12 and yesterday 02/17. I was hoping for consolidated, hardpacked snow above the road but got post-hole unconsolidated crap until 13,000 when I finally bailed from exhaustion and slow progress after consistently getting stuck in knee/shin high snow. Two people with snowshoes summited ahead of me, two without snowshoes bailed lower than me. Take snowshoes and gain the summit! I cannot reiterate enough that you should not be on the summer route. Although there was no indication of recent slides or obvious risk of avalanche (overall the snow conditions looked great), the route around the lake is in serious avy territory. When you reach the trailhead angle to the right/northeast towards a hill that is between you and the Cameron/Democrat saddle. Then angle west towards Democrat after about 1/2 mile or so when you are past the Kite Lake Basin. There should be tracks and previous reports have documented this route well. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2023-02-12, By: AndyFromDenver
Info: Not much new from the last report, but I want to reiterate the importance of avoiding the standard trail up Democrat to avoid avalanche danger. I highly suggest sticking to the hill/mound (I think this is what the previous report was referring to, but their link didn't work) to the right, rather than hugging the mountain along the summer trail as those slopes are SE facing and, based on the avalanche reports all season, there could very well be a persistent slab problem there that could slide at any given moment. Yesterday, one person ahead of me went up the summer trail and had no issues, but I followed the hill to the right and it appeared everyone behind me did as well. Avalanche 101 reminds you that just because someone hiked or skied it before you, doesn't mean it's safe. There doesn't appear to be any other avalanche danger on any of the mountains right now. A couple other notes for skiers: The S-Gully on Bross has some good snow in the bottom half and some very wind-blown snow in the upper half. There is a section between those that does not look like it connects and you'd have to hike down. Also, I don't know the name of the route, but it looks like there's an awesome line coming down Cameron right now. Also the road is in decent shape to about 1.9 miles from the trailhead. There was one slightly sketchy section coming up, but my Crosstrek made it without trouble. A group of people got their 4Runner up about another 1/3 of a mile past where everyone else parked. The road actually seemed a little sketchier going down at the end of the day than it did coming up in the morning. I'd recommend keeping a shovel in your vehicle if you don't already. Unfortunately, a lot of this info may be obsolete after this week's weather. I'll try to post photos of everything shortly... 
11 5
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2023-02-03, By: madmattd
Info: Parked 2mi from the summer TH, walked the road which got snowier after the gate - should probably have put snowshoes on. I did put snowshoes on at the TH, and they are required to the saddle imo. I kept them on up and down from Democrat, but spikes would work OK too, you'll likely just need to take less snowy lines than I did in snowshoes (I only had to deal with a few rocks the whole ascent). Note: I sidehilled up and around the mound just past the TH that Daway8's TR ( ) suggest going directly over to avoid the avy slopes labeled as "2a". While sidehilling halfway up and around worked with minimal added effort, I would likely just take his advice next time and go direct over the bump. "2b" wasn't loaded that much, and it was easy to navigate away from the small area that could have issues. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-12-27, By: bshafs
Info: Very little deep snow, not enough to justify snowshoes. Microspikes or crampons are a must. We summitted Democrat without much difficulty, but on the way to Cameron, the wind was 35-45 mi/h (75 mi/hr gusts), and we had to turn back. Luckily, the route to Democrat was mostly sheltered. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-12-23, By: Dan_Suitor
Info: Windy and overcast. was way off. I managed to stay on, or near the trail. Floatation was not required, but traction was. There were a few steep wind-swept areas of snow where the spikes were very helpful. Only punched through the snow a few times, nothing too deep. Democrat had more snow than Cameron or Lincoln. I was hoping to do Bross as well, but the wind was howling an I could not see the peak through the clouds. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-12-18, By: BiggasPanda
Info: A beautiful day on all 3 peaks. Sunny and barely any wind. Summited Democrat, Cameron, and Lincoln. No need for snow shoes, but micro-spikes and gaiters are a must. It was a little challenging to follow the trail due to the snow. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-11-30, By: wmagnuson7
Info: The conditions today were very challenging. Most of the way up Democrat, there was zero trench/trail, so I was post-holing even with snowshoes given the recent 6-12 (?) inches of snow DeCaLiBron received earlier this week. However, the winds were so strong that by the time I got back to Kite Lake, I saw that my tracks were already filled in with snow. The route to Cameron, Lincoln and Bross was nearly entirely clear of snow, which was great as far not needing snowshoes, but the winds were probably steadily 30 mph with gusts of 50-60 mph. I am a very strong 6'5", 235 pounds and the winds were pushing me around, so it was both physically and mentally exhausting. Also, the gate closes November 1st every year, so add 2 miles and ~500 feet of elevation gain. However, in light of the aforementioned challenges, that was the least of my concerns. Currently, the road up to the gate is in great shape and any car could make it. In summation, I would recommend doing this hike in summer or fall and actually enjoying yourself (I am saying that to myself as well). If you really want to do it in the near future, you would need snowshoes and microspikes, but no ice axe or crampons. God bless. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-11-26, By: 100PeaksAdv
Info: The road is easily navigable up to the gate. The snow that is present is well packed and easy to traverse. This goes both for snow in the basin as well as the ridge lines/ peaks. Traction was definitely nice to have, but not necessary. No flotation needed at least until the next snow storm. If you dropped a hat today, feel free to shoot me a message! 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-11-20, By: JQDivide
Info: Gate closed. (adds 2 miles round trip) No snowshoes needed. Road is mostly clear. Routes is almost entirely covered with snow. Varies from an inch or two to a foot. Boots are fine, but Spikes are helpful. 
Route: East Slope
Posted On: 2022-11-11, By: wintersage
Info: Quick little acclimatization hike up Democrat. Low of -5F, high of 7F made for a cold and windy day. Road was absolutely dry up to the closure, from there I just hiked up and put on microspikes at the actual Kite Lake Trailhead and kept them on the whole day. No need for snowshoes, didn't bring them, and just dealt with the occasional postholing. 
7 1
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-10-17, By: ArkieHiker
Info: Did the loop in the Bross, Lincoln, Cameron, Democrat order. Conditions were as follows: Bross: Traction not needed, good amount of snow after 13,400 until legal limit. Did not ascend above legal limit. Lincoln: some snow on traverse. Solid snow on ridge, was not icy at this time. Cameron: Snow on north face and on descent to Cameron/Democrat saddle. Traction would have been helpful. Democrat: I wished I had traction. Solid snow on trail packed into a skating rink from saddle to ridge crest. Highly recommend carrying spikes or poles for this section. While you can rock hop, be careful while doing so, I took several bruising falls. Below Democrat saddle was clear of all snow. Saw 10 people, only 3 completed all 4 that I'm aware of. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-10-14, By: mtn14
Info: Great hike! Went clockwise. Windy: 20-40 mph all day, as forecasted, with the exception of the few wind breaks (unexpectedly, the west side of Lincoln summit was one of the best breaks - was able to eat lunch there). Democrat: The wind was a hazard while decending Democrat: going down the steep section with hard-pack snow was doubly tough as the sunrise was melting the top layer in spots, and the wind was pushing me down the hill the whole time. I'm not sure how people would be able to make this decent without micro-spikes/yak-tracks and trekking poles. Bross: I found yak-tracks to be helpful decending all that the loose dirt on Bross. Newbies: if you're like me, and just getting into 14ers (2022 season is my first season!), then you're trying to figure out how to plan for various conditions. Check out the forum! Also, ear plugs, chap stick, and face covering really helped me with wind fatigue. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-10-08, By: headsizeburrito
Info: Did the loop counter clockwise and descended via Democrat south ridge to the power lines and then dropped east to Lake Emma trail. Snow accumulating in places that may stick around for the season at this point. Snow still patchy and did the loop without spikes, but would have worn them coming down Democrat if I had been descending the standard trail. Definitely at least carry spikes at this point in the season. Attached are a few pics from the Democrat/Cameron saddle looking towards the peaks, plus looking towards Buckskin to show what some north aspects are like currently. 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-12, By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Adding this for anyone else interested in this route. Read up on this in GR's book and thought I would give it a go, full review coming on my channel and website but for those who do not want to wait: -Started at Buckskin and linked the south ridge of Dem since I thought that would be a fun loop. Had done Buckskin previously but the ridge over to the south saddle of Dem added almost 0 value unless you like checking out old powerline garbage. The South ridge itself was very tedious with LOADS of loose rock. I stuck to the ridge proper 95% of the time except for a few areas where the rock just felt way too unstable to downclimb. However, it did go the whole time with no cliffouts that I could find. Climbing consisted of about 100x climbing up 10ft, then down 10ft. Rock quality was overall poor. Even some very large slabs felt loose and trusting anything was hard to do. Difficulty was mostly class 2 with about 30% class 3 and 10% class 4 if you were looking for it. You could easily skirt around a lot of the towers if you wanted but ultimately, you would have to climb to regain the ridge so this would probably be an even bigger waste of time. Overall, probably the best way up Democrat I am aware of but nothing classic in terms of scrambling. 5 Miles, 3k of climbing with Buckskin - Without likely 3ish miles with 2k of climbing 
Route: East Slope
Posted On: 2022-08-28, By: claugh
Info: Drove the road to Kite Lake with 2005 Honda Odyssey minivan (measured 6" of clearance under the car). Road is in great condition. It must have been graded recently since there wasn't a single spot where I was worried the car would bottom-out or that a tall rock would scrape/damage something under the car. I was pleasantly surprised how 'un-eventful' the drive was. Before you get to the trail-head there's a pull-out on the left side of the road with a sign & parking permit envelopes. You can get them at the trail-head, but I'd recommend you pick-up one at the pull-out. When we got to the trail-head there were only 2-3 envelopes in the box. Glad we didn't have to turn-around & drive back down to the pull-out to get an envelope. Trail to Democrat is in good condition and easy to follow. No snow left anywhere on the trail. We only got off-course once or twice in the rocks, and that was only for about 2-3 minutes each time. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-07-06, By: jillianju
Info: A few bumpy spots on the road to the trail head but nothing a 4WD car with good clearance couldn't handle. Summer conditions on the trail the entire way. There is a small snow field on your way to summit Mt. Democrat but it's easily bypassed if you walk around it. Mt. Cameron also has a small section of snow as you are beginning your ascent up it from the saddle. We didn't use any micro spikes and just walked through it since it was a pretty small amount. Summer conditions all the way over to Mt. Lincoln. Bross bypass trail also is free of snow. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-06-26, By: jakeandorbake
Info: Parked overnight about 0.15 before trailhead and camped in car. Stock 2011 rav4, likely could have made it to the end but the road crux looked absolutely awful after the wet weather this spring. I'd say a careful sedan could still make it up to my spot though Trails surprisingly dry after storms. All snow on the full route is either trenched in super well or 50ft posthole sessions you should just walk around (even with traction). Low winds As a result, quick moving today and got from TH to TH in 2:59 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-06-26, By: terribletigzy
Info: Summer conditions. Parking at the upper trail head is a bit rough, there are two heavily eroded ruts that my Subaru was able to make it across. Cars with lower clearance would be best off parking a bit further down the road. 
Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Posted On: 2022-06-16, By: takelifeoutside
Info: Will second the last post, summer conditions in full swing. Arrived at trailhead at 6am, parking lot pretty full with cars going as far as a half mile down the road. Went clockwise and didnt have the concerns others have expressed about the conditions going down bross. Though in a 4wd car I only found the last 50yards to the parking lot truly rough, a 2wd car did get a flat about a quarter mile from the parking lot. Took about 3 1/2 hours RT. 
3 1

Return to the main Peak Conditions page
© 2023®, 14ers Inc.