Peak(s):  Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Date Posted:  07/15/2013
Date Climbed:   07/13/2013
Author:  Lville
 Mt Democrat standard route  

Note: I messed up and somehow clicked on 'Mt Cameron' which I guess I can't delete now. We climbed Mt Democrat only. This was my 7th 14er and my teenage son's first. I think it's an ideal hike if you want a relatively easy and shorter hike. And within a two hour drive of Denver so it's a nice day trip. The five miles or so on unpaved road has a few nasty ruts, but nothing too bad. I have a 4WD truck, but you'd probably be fine in a 2WD car, but high clearance is better. There was one final turn near Kite Lake (100 yards?) where a 2WD might struggle - just park lower. Lots of parking at Kite Lake - even on a busy day, and I think it was $3 for parking and $12 for camping.

We started out from near Denver at about 6:30 AM but I would recommend starting sooner because we didn't hit the trail head until close to 9:00 AM and there were already more clouds than I like. I kept checking the weather reports and it's kind of frustrating because I could only find weather for Breckenridge at lower elevation, and Copper Mountain somewhat to the north. So I just tried to pick a day where it showed 50% chance of rain/thunder after noon which is pretty typical anyway. There are days where it says 10-20% (ideal), and other days where it says 70% (avoid). But if you've lived here long enough, you know that sometimes you just need to go to the mountain to see the weather for yourself - and get there early so you can be off the top as soon as possible. There is enough written about that already, but it always surprises me when I see people heading up at noon in July.

In any case, we started up the mountain at 9 AM with me being a little nervous about the clouds and not taking many rests as a result. The good news is that it should only take about two hours to make it to the top, and it turned out that the clouds remained at bay and we were fine all the way up and back. The clouds that we did have were a blessing in disguise as the conditions were very comfortable and only significant winds for short periods. I wore a sweatshirt but would have been comfortable in my Tshirt. Another reason that this is a great climb is that there are a number of old mine ruins along the way which are kind of fun. There is a stretch about 2/3 of the way up where there is significant scrambling over some smaller rocks which is I guess what makes it a Class 2, but nothing that most folks can't handle and exposure is almost nonexistent. I'm in my early 50's and like to take my time coming back down - testing the rocks for footing and making good use of my trekking poles before putting all my weight down. I see lots of folks without trekking poles - younger ones mostly, but I think the poles make a whole lot of sense at any age. They're light, and why not work your triceps a little bit while reducing the chance of a twisted ankle.

Very enjoyable hike for both of us. Class 1 trails are maybe easier, but the short distance on Democrat is ideal for a family hike.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Thank you for the trip report!
07/16/2013 11:48
Awesome accomplishment for you both.
Nothing better than sharing a 14er with
Someone you love.
I hope to see you two on top of another one somewhere!


07/17/2013 19:16
especially to your son, for getting started! With just a 6-peak lead on him, you two might well finish together.
I remember when I thought leaving Denver at 6:30 constituted getting an ”early start.” I was wrong, and it looks like you're well on the way to figuring that out, too...
As to weather: the 14er-specific weather reports and forecasts on this site(from NOAA) are very detailed and very useful. Use them!
It's a real pity you didn't have time to hit anything other than Democrat, because there's no easier trifecta of 14ers to be had anywhere! Now, you're just going to have to go back to Kite Lake at least one more time. Hint: I think Lincoln is the best one of the bunch, and it can also be accessed by a more challenging route from the north.

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