|Peak:||Mt. Democrat (14er)|
|Date of Information:||02/09/2012|
The road to Kite Lake is closed at Paris Mill, about 2.5-3 miles short of the summer trailhead. It‘s plowed to the closure and 2WD accessible. You MIGHT be able to get farther, but I wouldn‘t recommend it. There are sections of snow along the road, including immediately after the mill, approaching a foot deep.
The road is equal parts dry and drifted. I wore my snowshoes from the car to nearly 13,000‘, though I wouldn‘t call them necessary. The deep-snow sections are short. You could probably get away without snowshoes as long as you don‘t mind a couple hundred feet of knee- or waist-deep postholing.
From the lake, we stayed right of the summer trail on a broad hill that dog-legged left toward the Democrat-Cameron saddle. We descended the standard route and didn‘t notice any avy danger, so either option is likely fine. The route does cross one slide area (Photo 3) at roughly 12,700‘ in the area displayed in Photo 2. The route we chose in Photo 2 started at the rocks left of center and traversed up and left. The avalanche slope is about dead center. We tested the snow on similar aspects and hadn‘t seen any signs of instability, so we felt reasonably safe as we crossed it one at a time.
We took off our snowshoes shortly after the avy slope. The snow was mostly wind-scoured or we were on rocks from there (12,800‘) to the summit. The somewhat-bad conditions turned to a complete whiteout above 13,000‘. Very limited visibility, blowing snow, sustained winds between 30 and 40 miles per hour. Bone-chilling cold. I took my goggles off for a few minutes and my eyelashes acquired so many icicles my left eye almost froze shut, haha. So, yeah. We stopped after Democrat, saving Lincoln, Bross and Cameron for another day (from Quartzville!).
I‘d say go poach our trench, but the wind blew it away as quickly as we made it. RT time roughly 7.5 to 8 hours.
Photos (click for slideshow):