Peak(s):  Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Bross  -  14,172 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Date Posted:  07/18/2011
Date Climbed:   07/16/2011
Author:  Missy_Goat
 DeCaLiBron - beautiful day in the mountains!  

To start there is a rather long, and relentless drive west that we had to make. This is definitely a drive, through western Kansas, that is better done at night! But, truth is that first glimpse of the Front Range always makes my heart jump into my throat!

Our day got off to a late alpine start, just a tad before 6am. The sun was just hitting the southern peaks of the valley and the day was warming up nicely. Having come from 105+ degree weather, what should have been a moderate day on the mountain proved to be extra chilly for me! So, the hat and gloves stayed on!

The group starting out!

By 7am, my hiking buddy and I had gained the saddle between Democrat and Cameron. There was only one snow field to cross thus far, on the valley floor, and it was pretty well frozen that time of morning. Once you entered the boulder field just below the saddle, some snow melt running over rocks provided for some slippery steps! The mountains were also teaming with people, which I had not been expecting.

By 8am, and the crossing of another snowfield, we had reached the summit of Democrat.


To my relief, the large group in front of us had left, and we were left with the summit all to ourselves (save one couple who snapped our pic and then descended).


By 8:30am we had reached the saddle between Democrat and Cameron and met up with my husband, who had patiently stayed with our beginner hiking companion and helped her reach her goal for the day (the saddle). After some hello's, a snack, and some quick pictures of Quandary off to the north, we began trekking up the slopes of Cameron to gain the summit of the 2nd peak of the day.


We did not encounter any snow fields on out way to Cameron, and the snow-covered views to the north were fantastic!

We reached the summit of Cameron by 10am, and "goo-ed" up for the hike over to Lincoln. Even from Cameron you could make out the crowd of people atop Lincoln. I found the climb to Lincoln to be the best of the peaks. There is a little exposure, and the summit is fantastic!

On summit of Cameron

Victory atop Lincoln!

After some quick pics atop Lincoln, and a chat with some nice folks about weather and geology, we began our final trek towards Bross. The hike from Lincoln to Bross is VERY easy, and leisurely with some good views. There was only one small snow field to cross on the traverse. By 11:30 we were standing a top Bross, high-fiveing each other for the final achievement of the day.

hiking over to Bross

A look back at Lincoln

Summit pic on Bross!

Now for the down climb. Let me warn you beginners! This is an easy route....but down climbing Bross is DIFFICULT if you do not have good experience down climbing on scree.....imagine a ton of marbles that move, roll, and shift every time you step. Now, my husband and I are very good hikers and climbers, but our companion doesn't have experience on scree like this. The loose terrain, compounded by the steep slopes was too much for her. We stayed within arms reach, helping her inch down one pain-staking step at a time. This resulted in a 2 hour down climb, exhausted feet, and a final finish around 1:30pm.

All in all it was a great day with great weather! One clap of thunder and few drops of rain! The end was definitely celebrated with a Vanilla Porter from the Breckenridge Brewery!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Bross descent
07/19/2011 02:39
Possibly the worst scree I've ever experienced -- I was muttering curses with every step. Must be even harder for someone so new to hiking, kudos to her and to all of you for meeting your goals.


Re: Bross Descent
07/19/2011 03:27
Thanks! I know that will pump our friend up. She felt rather discouraged over the whole bit. And I agree with you. I have climbed quite a few peaks, and that was by far the worst I had experienced as well!


Ugh, Bross descent....
07/19/2011 10:29
that was the worst part of the whole thing. It was like trying to walk downhill on a slip-n-slide. Still looks like quite a bit of snow lingering too. Enjoyed the report, brings back memories of my Decalibron experience 3 yrs ago.


Bross to start?
07/19/2011 11:14
Question- I will be taking my daughter (14) and her 2 friends on this route this weekend. What would you say about starting at Bross? Think it would be easier to ascend than descend on all that scree?


Re: Bross to start?
07/19/2011 11:46
It depends on how comfortable they might be with the downclimb. Honestly to re-summit Cameron and head down the standard route wouldn't be to strenuous. I, personally wouldn't have had any problems with the Bross down climb, but someone who has NO experience hiking on loose terrain definitely would. Out of everyone up there, my friends by far had the most problems. To start up that way would be VERY exhausting. You wouldn't get very far with each step, however I know quite a few people that would suggest that. Personally, I would either down climb Bross, or re-summit Cameron if your not comfortable with the down climb.


Terrible scree
07/19/2011 16:22
I did the loop on Saturday too (although couldnt make it to Bross due to dark raining clouds) and all the way back I was wondering, how come no one ever mentioned on that the route was so terrible! Definitely not something I would do again if Im running from rain clouds!

And I also felt the return from Bross to TH was definitely more than 1.5 miles


07/19/2011 17:14
If I ever do the Decalibron again, I personally will retrace my steps over Cameron and descend the Cameron-Democrat saddle. A much better trail with minimal extra work.


Re: Alternative
07/19/2011 22:24
I TOTALLY agree! The descent down Bross just isn't worth it.


07/20/2011 04:27
Looks like a fun trip. Incredible how much snow there is this year.

Keep up the good work.


How long to leave Bross off the list?
08/05/2011 22:03
How long would the climb be in all if you retrace your steps back down Cameron, leaving Bross out of the loop? Obviously it's an approximation, but I was thinking of doing the 3 with my son. Thanks for the info!


re: How long to leave Bross off the list
08/05/2011 22:54
There is nothing special about Bross (my opinion) so unless your trying to bag all of the 14ers, I would definitely leave it out. I would say to back track over Cameron would be close to the same as the average DeCaLiBron loop - Maybe even shorter. Keep in mind with our trip - our friend had major difficulties on the Bross down climb. Take our trip time minus 1.5 or two hours, and that should be a good guess for just leaving Bross out.

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