Mt. Democrat - South Slope
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
Difficulty:Difficult Class 2, Moderate Snow
Ski: Advanced, D6 / R3 / II
Exposure:Moderate exposure along the immediate route. It should be avoidable with some slow hiking or scrambling.
Trailhead:Kite Lake
Start:12,000 feet
Summit:14,148 feet
Total Gain:2,150 feet
RT Length:2.50 miles
USGS Quad.:Climax
County Sheriff:Park: 719-836-2494
National Forest:Pike
Last Updated:6/2016


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. 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 when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a small fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below (no fee), walk up the road to Kite Lake.


Photo #1 and Photo #2 show Mt. Democrat from the Kite Lake road and Photo #3 is a different angle, from Mt. Buckskin. In these photos, notice the distinct line of rock outcroppings on Democrat's south slope. They form a set of chutes which are used on this route. From the trailhead, begin hiking northwest toward a small basin, left of Democrat's southeast slope - Photo #4. Once in the small basin (12,500'), continue west to its west end and ascend 200+ feet to reach easier terrain, just above and northwest of Lake Emma - Photo #6 and Photo #7.

Now above 12,800', continue northwest toward the chutes and rock outcroppings in the center of the south slope - Photo #8 and Photo #9. This route ascends the easternmost chute, seen in the center of Photo #9. Enter the chute (Photo #10 and Photo #11) and pass through the rock outcroppings, near 13,300' - Photo #12. Now on easier ground (Photo #13), hike north/northwest up the upper slope (Photo #14) to reach the summit - Photo #15 and Photo #16. Descend via the same route or use the Mt. Democrat - East Slopes (standard) route.


In the easternmost chute: Photo #17, Photo #18
Below the chutes: Photo #19
The small basin (12,500'), northwest of Kite Lake: Photo #20


The route is only recommended with stable, spring snow conditions and axe+crampons are recommended.

Topo map  Not Displayed, click here to change your settings

Route Photos  Print Options

Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15 Photo #16 Photo #17 Photo #18 Photo #19 Photo #20

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.
© 2017 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.