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Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,154 feet
Mt. Lincoln  -  14,293 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,248 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2020
Modified:  07/16/2020
Date Climbed:   06/18/2018
Author:  jvirene
Additional Members:   yvng phil
 First Fourteeners- Decali   

The beginning of our hiking days:


The Decalibron hike was the first of many adventures that Philip and I would embark on together.


Mileage: 7.00 Miles

Time: 4 Hours

Elevation Gain: 3700 Feet

Difficulty: 5/10

Preface: Before I start this report, I just wanted to start with a bit of an introduction. My name is Josh and my buddy who I have done a lot of these peaks with is Philip, whose username is included in this report. I've been revising these reports because I have received some very helpful feedback as to what these reports should look like so thank you to everyone who has helped me revise these reports to look their very best. I always love meeting and hiking with new people and connecting on social media so my IG is @joshvirene, feel free to reach out however you'd like if you want information or would like to hike together. Now, let's get into the report.

Philip and I were friends in high school and we both liked outdoor activity. Knowing this, while we were bored in the early summer after our junior year, we decided to do some fourteeners together as a way to kill some time. Little did I know, this trip would awaken a thirst for adventure in me that I did not know existed.

I sat in my room with him on speaker phone, while we thumbed through various peaks in Colorado on our phones, slowly deciding which one looked the best. We would pick a peak that looked cool, type it into GPS, and turn it down when we saw how far it was. At the time, anything beyond a two hour drive seemed out of reach for us. Finally, we settled on the Decalibron hike, seeing as it is only 1.5 hours away from Morrison.

I spent the night at Philip's house and we woke up early the next morning to begin our adventure. We made the majority of the drive in the dark, and the sun was barely rising by the time we got to the small town of Alma, which sits in the shadow of these peaks. Having no background with hiking these mountains, Philip and I did not understand the importance of typing the trailhead from 14ers.com into your GPS. Instead, we simply typed "Mount Lincoln" into google maps, and let it take us wherever.

Instead of driving to the Kite Lakes trailhead, we ended up driving up the rough 4WD mining road to about 13000'

The mining road that goes up Lincoln

This was a mistake on our part, not doing the proper research to get to the correct trailhead. This mistake ended up not costing us anything, but you'll see a pattern of unpreparedness in our first season of hiking together.

When we parked my Chevy Trailblazer, I was very relieved to be done with this road. This was my first experience with true 4WD roads and it was quite stressful. I was very worried about damaging my car on some of the rocks, or just otherwise being unable to get the car up the road and back down. We knew we screwed up when we did not see any other cars at the pull-off where we parked, but the fourteeners were ahead of us so we decided to stick with it.

The hike up to Lincoln: Lincoln was our first stop, and we could already feel the elevation as we began hiking. Philip had been skiing all winter, and I was in shape from years of cross country and track so, despite this being our first fourteener together, we made a good pace up the moderately steep slope and soon, reached the summit.

Summit: Philip and I felt pretty good when we reached Lincoln's summit, our legs were only a little bit sore and the weather was perfect. We were ready to continue hiking.


Picture of me on the summit of Lincoln


Some summit views

Traverse to Cameron: The traverse over to Cameron is not very long or strenuous, and only took us about 15 minutes. There really isn't anything to report on this section

Traverse to Democrat: After doing Cameron, we decided that our next stop would be Democrat, this is the only portion of the day that really tested our hiking ability. From Cameron over to Democrat, there is a good bit of elevation drop and regain. We felt good but our legs were starting to feel a bit more sore, and we had spent a good portion of the day at elevation.

Another thing to add, Philip was wearing his vans on this hike. Vans are not great shoes for hiking, and he said that his feet were beginning to feel a bit more sore. Other hikers also saw the Vans and thought it was very funny. I also thought it was pretty funny, but this wouldn't be the first time Phil has pulled a stunt like this. Also, we ended up passing groups that made fun of the Vans on our way up Democrat

Summit of Democrat: We reached the summit of Democrat and were amazed at the beauty of the mountains in this area. I had done some fourteeners when I was younger but this was the first panoramic mountain view that I had seen in years, and it was very special.

Mount Bross: Since my car was parked on the Lincoln side, we had to descend Democrat and reascend Lincoln in order to get back. We still wanted to do Bross however, ended up not doing it. The weather at this point in the day was getting cloudy, so we decided to play it safe and do Bross another time.

Review: These mountains are a great introduction to fourteeners. Philip and I did not find them very difficult, but we were still a bit sore afterwards. The valley in which Fairplay sits is gorgeous from 14,000'. There is not anything too challenging on this hike. The trail is easy to follow, there is little/no rockfall throughout the hike except for descending Democrat. Issues of preparedness presented themselves on this hike for both myself and Philip, and it would be a long time before we would actually learn our lessons.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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