Peak(s):  Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Mt. Bross  -  14,172 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Mt. Lincoln  -  14,286 feet
Date Posted:  08/23/2010
Date Climbed:   08/21/2010
Author:  northcountry
 Got it this time  

Tried Lincoln from Quartzville (Putnam Gulch) the week before, but got lost among all the mining roads. This week I solo'ed; didn't have my 8-yr-old daughter with me (If you've seen us this summer on the Mosquito Peaks, Quandary or Grays, she's the Chinese girl). Prior commitments for an 8-yr-old. Yeesh!
I stuck to the main Jeep Road that goes into Cameron Amphitheatre. The route is easier to follow this way. However, once you reach the shoulder, you do run into several other mining roads. As Bill's description says, stick to the left branches in almost all cases. One junction just after you hit the main ridge you might think won't get there. As you've already reached the ridgetop, you'll think this left road must go to a mine or something because it gets off the ridge to the south side again. It's actually the main Jeep road with one more switchback, so take that left, even if you think you're going off-route. It'll rejoin the ridge a little higher up. From there, you can just about reach out and touch the peak and you can hear the people on the summit talking. I was hesitant to take any rights and end up at some mine where I would have had to backtrack, so I took off straight up the face just to the right of the permanent snowfield. It only took me about 15 minutes to the peak from the last junction and only 10 minutes from when I headed straight up and exactly 2 hours from the Quartzville parking site to the top. A few more clouds than the weather reports said, but as they still were fairly well a broken ceiling, I went over to Bross, then backtracked toward Lincoln and decided to hit Cameron again, a 12-minute roundtrip from the saddle, then back up Lincoln. Hour and a half round trip from Lincoln to the two others and back to Lincoln.
Coming back down toward the Quartzville side, I could see the entire route down the north side of the east ridge into the trench. Having gotten mixed up on those roads the week before, I now knew what I had done wrong. I could see the trench the whole way down , so it was easy--knowing what I know now--to just ignore the mining roads, keep crossing them, and head down a very easy slope. The only scree I encountered was next to the roads themselves. Otherwise, stable downgrades with a lot of grass tieing down the slopes. Took 1:20 from the peak back down to the Quartzville parking.
The best advice I can give you if you come up the Putnam Gulch side and up the trench is, whenever you decide to leave the trench and head up the north side of the east ridge, ignore the 4WD roads you'll cross. Just keep heading up the slope till you get to the top of the ridge where you can see down the Cameron Amphitheatre side of the ridge. Then you'll be on the main 4WD road. Follow that one uphill, keeping left at the junctions.
Curious thought about Cameron: If you look at a topo map of the 4 peaks, it looks like the main peak and the keystone of the massif is Cameron. It's in the center like a hub with the other three radiating out like spokes, Bross to the SE, Democrat to the SW and Lincoln to the North or NNE. Yet Cameron is the one that doesn't count as its own 14er, but the kid to the parent peaks. Doesn't seem quite fair, does it?
Comment about the exposure rating: The last hundred yards or so up to Lincoln from the Cameron saddle has some narrow spots with some badass drop-offs. Like two steps left or two steps right and you go down. Same with a little chute right off the very summit. Felt more like an exposure "2" to me. A little disconcerting. Maybe at 59, I'm just getting old. Criminy, there were 9 and 10 yr old kids up there and I was the one getting a little spooked. Guess I won't try Little Bear or the Maroons anytime soon--although I'll tell you. Exposure or not, I'd love to do either Maroon. They intrigue me, not to mention the fact that they're gorgeous. Joe, with the Chicago Bears ballcap

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