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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-09-22||Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross
Info: There were some patches of snow on the ridge between Lincoln and Democrat, but the trail was clear. There was also some frost on the ridge making the rocks a little slippery, but once the sun came out it cleared up fast. For what its worth, I got an early start and did the combo loop in reverse to catch sunrise at Lincoln and I think I avoided most of the crowds that way. The road to Kite Lake had 2 pretty rough sections (Directly before the lake, and about 1 mile from the lake). I was able to make it using my small SUV, but I saw many SUVs parked at that section because they didn't want to try. Finally I was shocked at how many people were hiking on a thursday in late September. Get there early to avoid the crowds.
|2016-09-21||Route: Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron, Bross
Info: All of the trails and peaks were dry and snow free. Started up toward Mt. Democrat from Kite Lake, it was around 30*F at 8 when I got to the Trailhead. I got to the Summit at 10 and took a break, I was pretty cold after eating lunch, I would guess it was around 30*F at the Summit (with 20 mph winds). I warmed right back up on the saddle between Democrat and Lincoln, probably about 40*F. This was enough to keep me changing between my down jacket, fleece and wool shirt every twenty mins. The wind was ripping around Bross, this was the most exposed area, besides the Peak of Democrat. I was able to run most of the way, made it back to the car by 1pm
|2016-08-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: A year ago this past July, my 12 and 14 year old son and daughter and I hiked Cameron and Lincoln, but due to time constraints, we did not make it up Democrat. So this past weekend we decided to try for one more summit before starting school, and Democrat seemed a good choice as we could leave the house at 4:30 AM and be back home in the afternoon. Mondayís forecast called for a 40% chance of rain in the afternoon and temps from the 30s to 50s, so we decided to give it a try. Light rain was falling in Colorado Springs when we left home, and it rained intermittently until we got to Hartsel, when the clouds seemed to be clearing a bit. We departed the trailhead at Kite Lake about 7:00 AM, and although the sky was cloudy, I thought we could get up to the summit and back down again in time to avoid getting wet. Things did not work out that way. About halfway between the trailhead and the Democrat-Cameron saddle, light snow started falling. As we continued toward the saddle, the snow flakes became larger and more numerous, but visibility was still pretty good and the wind was light. After a snack at the saddle, we continued up. Well, we were nearing the top of the steep section just before the summit ridge/pitch, and by then snow was falling in earnest, as was the temperature, and the wind was gusting up to about 30 mph. We had all our layers on by then, but I could tell my son was starting to get cold. I was leading and, even with my trusty Zamberlan Vioz hikers, several times I had a little difficulty keeping my footing. Although my kids are real troopers and never voiced a word of doubt or complaint, I surmised that if the snow and temperature continued falling, our descent down the steeper portions could be treacherous, and so I decided it was time to turn around and head down. Based on some of the posts I have seen on 14ers.com, there are probably folks who would think less of me for throwing in the towel so close to the summit on such an Ďeasyí mountain. Not to mention that this was the first time we ever turned back once we started an ascent on any 14, 13, 12, or 11 teener, so there is a bit of lingering disappointment. But that morning on Democrat, as on any other mountain, our guiding principle is that getting home safely is paramount. It just didnít make sense to push the envelope any harder when we can easily try again another day. We made it back to the trailhead without incident, broke out the stove, and as is our family tradition after a 14er, brewed up some celebratory tea even though we didnít summit. At the trailhead, we met Libby and Chloe, who had just made it down from Lincoln and Cameron, and we shared a cup of tea with them. The atmosphere in the truck was a tad subdued on the ride home, but overall we had a great time together, had some adventure, and enjoyed watching the pikas prepare for winter. Looks like Democrat will have to wait, but Lord willing, it and we will be there next time.
|2016-08-17||Route: East Slopes
Info: Mount Democrat and the trail were in great shape for our trip on Wednesday. The stream/creek was within its normal banks and with a small amount of rock-hopping, easily crossed. Mt. Democrat does not offer a big summit, but still it is a beautiful place to snap a few pictures while at the top and greet some new friends. I did not find any evidence of the official USGS dated elevation marker, and there is no register either on the summit. Someone was good enough to carry a very weathered 1x6 that was about 5' long which indicates the Democrat summit and elevation that you can use to prove you were there.
|2016-06-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: a little snow at the saddle between Cameron and Democrat and still a little snow on the false summit. Easy tracks to follow through both.
|2016-06-26||Route: East Slopes
Info: Started at 2:00am and summited by 4:30. Windy summit and quite cold (stayed that way entire day) so wear layers. Some snow patches but you can follow old postholes. Aside from this it's summer conditions and the climb is relatively easy. Finding and staying on the trail in the dark was a little tricky at some parts but you can almost always find the trail again.
|2016-06-25||Route: Dem, Cam, Lin, Bro
Info: The Dem, Cam, Lin, Bro route is nearly clear, what little snow is there is avoidable or uninteresting. One patch you actually have to cross just before the last pitch to Dem.
|2016-06-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road to Kite Lake TH is open to Kite Lake. Easy drive in my SUV and there were just a few other hikers. The trail still has a couple of areas covered in snow and we did have some post holing. The route after the saddle followed the ridge line with some short runs of three and four point contact required. It took us 2 hours and 50 minutes to summit with many stops for pictures and hydration.
|2016-06-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: Parked at 11,500. 2/3 of trail has no snow, only some snow patches to cross, trenched out so no snowshoes or spikes needed. Lots of people on mountain, most were in gym shoes. Picture of someones car stuck, had to get towed. So park before this section LOL. 6.5 mile RT.
|2016-06-09||Route: South Slope
Info: We climbed and skied the south chutes on Democrat today. Snow is nearly continuous between Kite Lake and the summit but it's melting fast on the east facing slope, just above the lake. Kite Lake road is blocked by snow about 1 mile below the lake and it will be another 1-2 weeks before the remaining snow is clear.
|2016-06-09||Route: East Slopes
Info: Did the loop this am. Democrat has the most snow by far. Aside from that, snow is very manageable the rest of the way. I carried snowshoes, but it was honestly not much of a different result in them - bring your gaiters because there will be some postholing here and there. A couple pics below and also a few in the TH update I did today as well.
|2016-06-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road is blocked by snow about 1.5 miles from Kite Lake, so this adds an extra 3 miles to your trip. We started around 5:30 and summited Democrat around 9. Did the loop and summited Bross about 1. Still quite a bit of snow on Democrat. The rest is more intermittent and there's hardly any snow on the trail down Bross. Used microspikes, but snowshoes would definitely be helpful in some spots. It's melting fast! Long but good day - weather was gorgeous.
|2016-06-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: Clear, calm, and temperatures around 60 F. Camped out below private party next to the creek in honda element within 1.5 miles of Kite Lake. Three of us started at 6AM for Democrat. Hiked about 0.5 miles on native surface road and hit patchy snow on road. Some post holing but not too bed. Really didn't start skinning till Kite Lake. Warmed up early. Skinned up all the way to the summit with a few areas where we couldn't skin across rocks. Busy day, saw 8 people there enroute and on Democrat summit. Perfect corn down to saddle between Cameron and Democrat around 1030. Skinned most of way to Cameron and skied a hundred feet to plateau between Lincoln with skins on. Left skis there as coverage was patchy. No postholing where we did encounter snow. After Lincoln, skinned all way to Bross and left skis on road/trail 200' below summit. Skied gully all the to Kite Lake around 2PM and SW aspect held perfect corn. No instabilities in gully (i.e. rollers). Skied a good distance on the road to within 0.5 to 0.75 miles of snow end. Observed many loose snow avalanches on Democrat and ridgelines to the SE. Some would be classified: L-N-D2-R3 (http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53fbfe1ce4b04ce86372f366/t/5452f54ae4b025f7beabc651/1414722890145/Chapter3.pdf). There were a lot of cars there, but 5 people did the whole tour. It's warm.
|2016-05-22||Route: South Slope
Info: Started our hike at 3:40am. Was a little worried about the overnight freeze as we saw water trickling down the closed dirt road. Our worries were gone quickly though as the water was frozen a little ways up the road. Snow was hard packed and had a good boot pack the whole way up. Summited just before 8am and hung out till 9. The ski down was nice but we could have waited a little longer as the snow was still hard packed up top but did get softer the lower we went. Coverage was good and didn't have to do much manuvering to avoid thin coverage. Was able to ski the whole way down and even dropped into the creek so we could make it to the car without taking off the skis and walking. Was back at the car around 9:30.
|2016-05-22||Route: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross
Info: Mostly wind crust snow between all the summits, with some bare patches here and there. It's probably doable without any floatation, although I did the whole thing with my snowshoes because my snowboard boots have no traction. Saw a single ski track and a single boot track along the route, so people have done it in both.
|2016-05-13||Route: Decalibron Loop
Info: Road in fine conditions up until the private property. The walk up to Kite Lake was hard packed with patches of dirt along the edges. I wore spikes all day, carried snowshoes but never put them on. A few stretches on Cameron and the saddle to Bross require no traction whatsoever. Powdery snow was on the face up to the saddle between Democrat and Cameron, as well as on the ridge up to the Democrat saddle. The trip down Bross was by far the most enjoyable I've ever had...no scree fest, but instead solid snow that I sank only 2-3 inches into. Left the car at 6:00 a.m. and was back at 1:00 p.m. The drive back down to Alma was soggy from large melting snow piles. The Kite Lake road is going to be a mess in a few weeks once the melting really starts.
|2016-05-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: Keep in mind that the overnight low was only 20 the night before the hike, but I was able to summit today in snowshoes without postholing once. At most my snowshoes sank in 4-6 inches on windloaded areas. A continuous ski is possible from the summit. Did not summit any of the other 3 today.
|2016-05-01||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hiked from the 2.5 mile marker to Kite Lake before the weather closed in and the prospect of summiting came to an end. Knee deep snowshoe trenching from the last mine building to the Kite Lake restroom. Was fun, but tiring. If someone can beat it up there in the next few days to try and keep the trench packed, it could be the start of opening this area up.
|2016-02-12||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road to kite lake is free of snow about half the way. No chance of getting a car or tuck through the initial snow drifts though. For me snowshoes were very helpful from a half mile before kite lake to around 12500 with the deepest snow up to my hip just north of the lake. I managed to post hole a few times even with snow shoes. Above 12500 I used crampons but micro spikes or even just deep tread boots would be fine. It looks like a good size slide above kite lake occurred in the past few days. Snowmobile tracks were all over the same slope.
|2016-02-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: What a slog. Literally the least fun day out I‘ve had this Winter. Road closure is about 3 miles from Kite Lake. The road has partial snow coverage and was a really bad ski. The slope up to Democrat has broken snow coverage and is totally do-able. Conditions on the South Face of Democrat look really sketchy. There was a major release on an East facing aspect about eye level with Kite Lake. There has been a lot of avalanche activity up there lately, mostly confined to N through E through S aspects. You‘ll definitely see some avalanche porn on the hike in! After Cameron the other peaks are mostly dry. It was SUPER WINDY. I plunge stepped and skied the west facing gully directly below Bross‘ summit as a descent. It was bad. There was a lot of exposed rock and I core shot one of my skis. Overall, the whole base damage/getting blown over fiasco took about 8 hours. Enjoy the suck. I would pick something else.