Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Date Posted:  06/20/2011
Date Climbed:   06/18/2011
Author:  Jim-Diana
 Democrat - 1st summit of the year  

So this is my 1st trip report!!! I was turned on to this website last year and looked at it a lot so I figured I may as well sign up and contribute. This was my 10th 14er summit and Diana's 3rd.

Diana and I planned to climb Mt. Bierstadt Saturday morning. We got up early and headed out from Highlands Ranch at 5:45am. By the time we reached Guenalla Pass from Grant we could tell it was stormy at the top. We drove to the top of the pass. As we approached the top, it was snowing and the wind was howling. We pulled into the parking lot and were trying to decide if we were going to climb in these conditions (we noticed some people preparing to climb in shorts) or do something else. Before we started up the pass we had noted that it was sunny towards Fairplay, so we decided to head that way instead of braving the elements on Bierstadt. We went back down Guenalla Pass and drove towards Fairplay. Diana and I have already summited Quandary and Sherman which left the Decalibron as the obvious choice to attempt. We were both looking forward to the first 14er of the year so we were undeterred by the conditions on Bierstadt.

We arrived at start point for Mt Democrat just after 8:00am (about 1/2 mile before Kite Lake). When we got started the temps were in the low 30s, it was partly cloudy (the clouds were moving very quickly) and it was pretty windy. We had already decided we'd do what we could but would not be disappointed if we didn't make a summit due to the late start. The climb up Democrat consisted of walking over snow (and sometimes post holing through waist deep snow), scrambling up steep rocky slopes, and just trail walking. The creek crossing by Kite Lake was challenging and there was water everywhere. It was definitely tough to keep the feet dry. The weather stayed good enough for us to make it to the top of Democrat at about noon. At the summit it was sunny, 23 with around 50 mph winds. At the summit we could see storms to the west so we decided that we were happy enough making one summit and that risking the others was probably not the wisest choice on this day. We spent about 5 minutes at the summit and then began the long decent down.

I have 3 pics attached. One is looking from the summit back to where we started from (the red arrow is where the truck was parked), two is the two of us standing on the summit and the third is looking down the trail from the summit.

We made it back to the truck about 1:45pm and headed home. We made it to Santa Maria and the traffic was at a stand still due to Baily Days. So we turned around and headed over Guenalla Pass towards Georgetown. This time the top of Guenalla was sunny and gorgeous. As it turns out we could have probably waited an hour, climbed Bierstadt and drove 100 miles less, but oh well we still got a 14er in. Dinner at Beau Joes was just what the doctor ordered and we got home about 6:00pm. All in all it was a great day!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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