Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln & Bross

25-26 Jun 2004 - by Bill Stafford

The jeep road from Alma is excellent, with just one rather rough spot immediately before the trailhead. Arrived at the 12000-foot Kite Lake Trailhead on Friday evening at 7:30 pm. It's a beautiful, large mountain lake surrounded on three sides by the partial circle of summits I intend to attempt tomorrow. I made a few preparations and slept in the back of my Jeep. Note: Don't forget your Thermorest in the future, the Jeep doesn't provide enough padding to allow a wink of rest.

I "awoke" on Saturday morning at 4:30 am, and was off by 5:40. The morning was heavily overcast, but the temperature was probably 40 degrees, thus not very cold. There was a moderate breeze, that became a bit heavy later, but simply required that I stay bundled most of the day. The weather for the day was not the best, with lots of fog, heavy clouds, and an occasional "peak" from the sun.

I climbed the standard route, heading for the saddle between Democrat and Cameron, and proceeding up the East Ridge of Democrat. Nearing the top, I noted two others, turning right instead of left, heading toward Cameron from the saddle from which I had left a while ago. (It struck me as curious that they were foregoing Democrat for Cameron.) I arrived at Democrat's false summit, which would have been obvious but for the fog. It broke for a minute, and I spied the real summit a bit to the west. I arrived at about 7:25 am. There was no summit register in the canister, but I had a couple of spares with me, and left one behind.

I made my way back down, passing two separate pairs of hikers near the saddle. I started up toward Cameron, and spied the two hikers from earlier just disappearing from what might have been Cameron's summit. (But as always, really wasn't.) The hike up Cameron starts off a bit rough, on talus, but gets really easy as one nears the top. I arrived about 9:05 am. No summit register. On I go.

The hike to Lincoln is straightforward. It is odd to see the various debris from the days of the miners. Its hard to imagine people went to work at 14,000 feet, virtually living up here, digging into a mountain.

The jaunt to Lincoln is quick, and I arrive about 9:25 am. The two hikers I saw earlier are just about to leave, having lounged here for a bit. One is from California, one from Seattle. It turns out they had hiked Democrat the day before, and had to turn around before attempting the others because of weather. (It wasn't much better today, I'm sure.)

I left Lincoln about 9:35 am, and headed toward Bross. The trail soon becomes a jeep road, as one gets nearer to Bross - a really nice jeep road - something a Corvette could drive. I achieved the summit of Bross about 10:05 am, just after the arrival of a family from Bross' West Slopes trail. (They were a middle aged couple with a young boy, maybe 13, here from Steamboat.) I stopped to take a few pix, chat, eat a Clif bar (my first bit of food since breakfast) and headed down Bross' West Slopes. This was pretty steep, but largely soft going, and I arrived back at my Jeep at Kite Lake at 11:15 am, just over 5-1/2 hours after departure. I had pushed it a bit today, mainly because of the threatening weather and partly for the workout, and was feeling pretty good.

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