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Mount Democrat

 East Slope
Difficulty Class 2 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D4 / R2 / I  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
 
TrailheadKite Lake
Start12,000 feet
Summit14,154 feet
Total Gain2,150 feet
RT Length4.00 miles
AuthorBillMiddlebrook
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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Trailhead

Take Colorado 9 to Alma. In the middle of town and on the west side of the road, look for a small sign for the road to Kite Lake. It's across the road from the "Caniglia Real Estate" building. Turn here and drive a bit through a residential area. Continue 6 miles to Kite Lake. The last mile of this road can be a bit more rough, but a good-clearance 2WD should still be able to make it to within a couple hundred yards of the TH lot, when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a $5 fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below, walk up the road to Kite Lake.

Route

1 is a view of Mt. Democrat during the drive up the Kite Lake road. From the parking area, follow the blocked road north near the lake and past a few camping spots - 2 and 3. Continue north and ascend to the Kentucky Belle Mine at 12,400' - 4, 5 and 6. Follow the trail onto Democrat's east slopes ( 7) and ascend a rugged slope, near 12,600' - 8. Near 12,800' ( 9), ascend a few switchbacks to reach 13,000' where the trail turns right and heads north across the east slope - 10. Continue north to reach the Democrat-Cameron saddle at 13,400' - 11.

From the saddle, turn left and follow the trail west up the ridge - 12. After approximately 200 feet, the trail turns left and traverses southwest across the slope - 13 and 14. After a long stretch of trail that spans much of the slope, the terrain becomes steeper and there are few small switchbacks that lead to the top of the slope. Continue to reach the summit ridge near 13,900' - 15.

Walk over to the final pitch ( 16) and follow the trail up to the summit - 17.

Skiing?

A spring ski of the east slopes is possible in most years but it's often patchy. It's the easiest ski descent on Democrat and one of the easiest on a CO 14er. Taken from Mt. Bross, 18 is a view of the route with snow coverage.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18

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