Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Date Posted:  07/21/2008
Date Climbed:   07/19/2008
Author:  NPG
 Mount Democrat - north face ski & climb   

Elevation gained: 2,148 feet (plus another 1,000 hiking out)
Vert skied: 1,400 feet
Time: hike up = 2 hours, hike out = 3 hrs, hike down = 1 hr
Group: NPG, Kim, Alex, Freddy the wonder dog

(red = ascent, blue = ski, yellow = descent)

Kim and I skied the blue line on the left with Alex skiing the chute on the right.

After taking a two-week return to sea level, contact with snow was necessary and Mount Democrat would be so willing to hold significant snow just 4 weeks into summer. Alex recently skied here and with a descent time at 10 AM, it was decided the snow was still too firm. Therefore, a "late" start was in the works and I began the climb up shortly after 8 AM and more than an hour after the rest of the group.

Some pictures along the way:

Panoramic from the summit:

A view from the saddle of what we would be skiing:

Kim moments from dropping in:

Kim and I made our descent just after 11. The top portion was very soft. The bottom 2/3 felt pretty firm to me and would have been better 45 minutes later. She had a total blast on her run and was super stoked at the bottom. Alex made his way down just after 12. He said the snow conditions were perfect all the way down.


NPG as seen from the saddle between Democrat and Cameron:


After reaching the bottom, I had thoughts of hiking out 5 miles to Montgomery Reservoir which would take 3.5 hours. During the downclimb from the summit to where we began the ski descent, the rocks felt very unstable and loose. I presumed the same would hold true for the ascent up towards the saddle and had reservations about completeing that route up. After hiking in the general direction of the hike towards the saddle, it became apparent that it wouldn't be too terrible of a hike up. I could not have been more wrong. The last 600 vertical was at 35-degrees with the dirt like quicksand and very loose rocks no matter how large. Three hours later, we finally reached the saddle between Democrat and Cameron.

If you look closely, you can spot us in the bottom middle of the photo below:

Some scenics on the return to Kite Lake:

And the sunset that evening:

 Comments or Questions

07/21/2008 21:22

amazing photos! the colors are so strong. was that all camera or some after shot modifications? i‘ve been fooling with my digital to try to not get everything all washed out when its blindingly sunny, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn‘t.


Photo altering
07/21/2008 21:33
Thanks! Only the last shot had significant modifications. Here‘s the original:

Most modifications I make to my photos are done to accent already bright colors. I use a Canon A630 and only use the software that comes with it. The most common tool for bringing out the bright colors is to make a S-curve in the tone adjustment area.


melting fast
07/22/2008 14:11
BCDave and I did the exact same route on 5 July (TR posted). Looking at your photos reveals a snowpack in speedy decline. We were able to get the bonus ski of about 600‘ on the East side down to Kite Lake.....Great to see another SKI TR so late in July. Do you have plans or thoughts about August?....Keep up the good work.

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