Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Mt. Bross  -  14,172 feet
Date Posted:  06/28/2012
Date Climbed:   06/28/2012
Author:  choinque
 Mosquito Quad  

Early Start

Today seemed as good a day as any to try the "Mosquito Quad" and take my mind off the terrible fires throughout Colorado. The sign for Kite Lake in Alma is a miniature wooden street sign - just look closely. The sky was clear and the temperature mild - no need for a parka today. If you park in the Kite Lake parking area, the charge (honor system with envelopes) is $3.00 - so bring some ones or a bunch of quarters. The road gets a little bumpy the last mile so park according to your vehicle. From the parking lot, you can see (the back of) the parking payment sign and the final mile or so of the drive up.

Approach to Kite Lake Trailhead

And yes, there is a bathroom at the parking lot.


Several tents were pitched from the night before and a friendly camper asked if my objective was all four. She had climbed all of them the day before and wished me luck. There were several other parties leaving about the same time as me - around 7 am. The sky looked great, although the forecast included probability of afternoon thunderstorms - as usual. Here's the view looking at the trailhead from the parking lot.

Trailhead Start

The beginning of the climb reminded me a bit of Mount Sherman several Mondays ago (June 11) looking back at Kite Lake.

Looking Back at Kite Lake

There are many wooden signs visible as the hike begins, just remember to keep climbing as some of the trails ahead are return paths.

A Beautiful Start

Toward Mount Democrat

Early in the climb I met Jeff and Beth. Jeff is from Lake Placid and was leading a group. Beth is from Bailey and Mount Bross will be her 23rd 14er

Jeff (left) and Beth (right)

Jeff's first 14er was Longs Peak last year - 9 hours summit and return. Pretty impressive first climb

We chatted about the best sequence for the climbs and Beth confirmed the standard Democrat - Cameron - Lincoln - Bross route was the best use of energy. Off we went, each at our own pace, but usually regrouping for a water break or quick breather. My Tampa lungs haven't fully converted to Colorado summer yet, but I found the right cadence and enjoyed the gorgeous morning view.

The saddle between Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron is wide and easily recognized,

Approaching the Democrat | Cameron Saddle

and again like Sherman hosts old structures from another time. We turned left at the saddle and headed toward the summit.

Toward Mount Democrat Summit

Jeff and I chatted about work/life balance and the need to keep our priorities intact, especially with regard to our families. The conversation energized me. Thank you Jeff

Mount Democrat Summit

A friendly flag greeted us at the summit, which afforded a breathtaking view. Jeff is in the bright green jacket.

Jeff Atop Mount Democrat

Beth pointed out a number of peaks visible on the horizon. Behind me are Grays & Torreys Peaks - just to the right I think.

Jim Atop Mount Democrat

Even though it was only about 8.45, clouds were already forming.

Clouds Begin to Form

The Democrat-Cameron saddle and summit path to Mount Cameron are visible, as well as Mount Lincoln lurking just behind like a watchful eye.

Path to Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln

A couple more views of the horizon

Mount Quandary in the Background

Grays and Torreys Peaks

and it is time to go.

Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln

Poor Mount Cameron. Just a quick way station on the way to Mount Lincoln.

Jim Atop Mount Cameron

At least it hasn't been downgraded in title like poor Planetoid Pluto. Mount Lincoln's summit has a nice winding path up, like the stripes on a barbershop pole. From the summit, there's a great view of Quandary Peak

Mount Quandary From Mount Lincoln

and a worn piece of wood welcoming Beth and me.

Mount Lincoln Summit

Mount Bross

A well-marked, thin ribbon marks the path toward Mount Bross.

Path to Mount Bross

There appear to be numerous ways to reach the summit. A small fortress of rocks may provide relief from the wind for a snack, but dark clouds are rapidly forming. Just time for a quick snapshot. Thanks for these summit pictures Beth.

Jim Atop Mount Bross

Scree Return & Race Against The Thunderstorm

Beth sets a robust pace toward Kite Lake,

Returning to Kite Lake

Descent Via Scree

mostly scree, calling for hiking poles. This was the least graceful part of the hike, and frankly I just wanted to finish ahead of a thunderstorm forming behind us.

From a positive point of view, taking a scree filled path returns one to the welcome grassy meadow not far from the Kite Lake parking lot rather quickly. Check out the thunderstorm

Looking Back From the Meadow

A couple hundred yards from the parking lot the first crack of lightning shatters the silence and I half jog to the parking lot.

12.37 pm finish. A last look back at the storm forming

Returning Just in Time | Thunderstorm

I leave a business card in Jeff's windshield and hope his team makes it back safely

A combination of sleet, hail, and mostly rain arrive shortly after on the way back home...

Tomorrow - time to donate to the victims of our Colorado Fires



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Thanks for the report
07/02/2012 17:27
Thanks for the report. I'm heading out for the first time in 2 years so I'm taking it easy.

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