Click to Expand
|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-21||Route: East Slopes
Info: Carried snowshoes and ice axes but never took them off the pack for the full four peak circuit, we certainly regretted the extra weight though. We hiked Democrat in the morning (starting at 5:30AM), definitely do this one early. There was lots of snow cover, but firm enough in the morning that microspikes and trekking poles were sufficient. We then did the ridge loop to hit Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross and bare boots were fine the whole way. Some patches of soft snow (60‘s degF) on the ridge, but easy enough that we didn‘t bother to put the snowshoes on. Ridge trails are mostly dry.
|2015-06-20||Route: South Slope
Info: Used crampons and poles. I highly recommend them. We were able to slide down on our butts from part of the false summit back down to the east toward Cameron. There were some parts on the upper portion of the climb, just below the false summit, that the snow is pretty soft. Mixed snow and bare rock. Some folks were doing this without traction or poles.
|2015-06-14||Route: East Slopes
Info: I arrived at the peak around an hour before sunrise and parked below the Kite Lake trailhead. The road is walkable in boots up the the trailhead, but then turns to snow for the rest of the way. There must not have been a freeze overnight because the snow was already loose and wet when I started. Apparently, another group had come up even earlier and taken the wrong trail, ending up at the summit via the southeast face. The normal trail is well trodden, but I strongly recommend not undertaking this peak without traction/flotation. The snow is very loose right now, and while the chance of an avalanche is slim, the chance of slipping your way down the rocks is excellent. There is some exposed scree to climb on from above the lower gully on the east face. Once you get to it, it is possible to get through the scree in boots with traction up to about 3/4 of the way up the mountain. Above that it was all wet snow until about 300 feet from the actual summit. If you‘re going to glissade down, remember to watch out for the rocks as they are just starting to poke their heads from the snow right now and it‘s easy to end up with a boulder to the rear. As for the Decalibron, the path looks clear with really reasonable exposure right now. As others have mentioned, it is very doable, but may take the better part of a day if you‘re not skinning and you have to pound through wet slush. The quality of snow was poor enough today that I nixed it.
|2015-06-13||Route: East Slopes
Info: The dirt road up to Kite Lake is blocked by about a foot of snow about a half mile to the campground and is melting quickly and only accessible by foot. I climbed the DeCaLiBron and started at the Democrat trailhead at 6am. If you are climbing any later you will need snowshoes as the snow starts to melt later in the day. You are going to need traction cleats for snow and ice because the trail on the eastern slope is mostly covered with snow. Additionally you will need an ice pick to make footing holds along the steeper parts of the climb. Otherwise I would not advise trying for the summit without climbing poles as the trails are covered with snow. We were able to reach the summit at 8:26
|2015-06-04||Route: West Face
Info: Looks like all West Face couloirs avalanched recently. Snow conditions are pretty stable. Approach requires flotation. Rare opportunity to go Democrat‘s West Face!
|2015-05-31||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road is snow free to approx. 1/2 to 3/4 mile above Paris Mill. There wasn‘t a great freeze last night. Amazing snow and great skiing from summit to Dem/Cam saddle, and then noticeably softer below. I hadn‘t expected the skiing up high to be that good. I initially wanted to ski south slopes but changed plans in part due to weak freeze and soft snow at lower elevations. South slopes probably would have skied fine imo but didn‘t chance it today. Large amount of recent wet loose point release slide activity below rock bands in the area. Most of what I saw was probably D1 to D1.5. On the drive home we saw significant wet slide activity everywhere we looked (hoosier pass, ten mile range, loveland pass) and some of that was D2 or possibly larger. It looked like there was a huge debris pile just east of A-basin that slid from the ridge between Grizzly and Lenawee.
|a day in the life||2015-05-31||0|
|2015-05-30||Route: East Slopes
Info: Skied Democrat from the summit. The weather forecasted a low of 23, though it didn‘t feel that cold at the car at my start time of 6 a.m. But running water on the road had a pretty good ice covering. The snow was excellent. I ended up booting it all the way to the summit. I dug a pit around 13.5K, and it was all solid and compacted for a foot and a half. A couple of inches of new snow on an intermittent sustrugi base. A real skier would have ate it up, but I was concerned about loosing an edge so descended what I ascended. 7 hrs round trip and that was with a good amount of loafing. I could ski back to the car with just two quick portages. Great winter wonderland coverage. Time to shred if it gets cold. Oh, and you‘ll more than likely want crampons.
|2015-04-25||Route: East Slopes
Info: Hiked up from Paris Mill. Microspikes required until kite lake TH, then snowshoes for the entire ascent/descent. A lot of new snow. Was caught in a blizzard today. More on the way.
|2015-04-14||Route: North Ridge/Face
Info: Still prime skiing off of the north face. Neighboring 14ers looked pretty dry.
|2015-04-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: Climbed Decalibron on April 4th. The road to kite lake is blocked about 3 miles from the kite lake trail head, so be sure to add 6 miles to whatever you plan to hike that day. We did not need snowshoes, but microspikes were necessary for Democrat and traversing Cameron to get over to Bross. Plenty snow everywhere, as it warms up postholing may become more of an issue. For us, we did not posthole at all. VERY windy and cold.
|2015-03-31||Route: South Slope
Info: Spring snow conditions on Democrat south face - snow was well consolidated today and in great shape for climbing. I put crampons on just above Kite Lake and ascended snow towards the shoulder below south face. A bit worried about sun warming the snow high on the face, so I veered left towards the prominent cliff band and climbed the longest (2nd from right) to get to upper mountain. No crampons or traction needed on the upper mountain on nice spring snow. Descended standard route back to the saddle. Thought about putting micro spikes on for that, but decided it wasn‘t worth stopping. Two nice long glissades down to the lake from below the saddle (using axe to manage speed).
|2015-03-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: Road still closed at the Paris mill. Had to hike in another 3 miles to the Lake. Conditions were very windy but skies were clear. Very warm on the decent. Lots of snow beginning to melt. This was my first winter 14er and I did not bring any crampons or snowshoes. Will definitely not make that mistake again. Lots of post-holing along the trail from the Lake back to the car. Face got wind burnt but all in all, totally worth it.
|2015-03-21||Route: South Slope
Info: Hiked to about 13,000 in the chute, but got too steep and slick for microspikes. Three guys were about 2 hrs ahead of me, they had crampons. They skied down while I was still hiking. Heard them say it was icy. Most of the area has 2-4 inches of snow from Thursday on top of crusty/icy layer of snow. The South Slop has the most snow in that area. None on Bross. Snowmobilers with snowboards were taking turns in the bowl above Kite Lake and along the standard route.
|2015-03-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: Skinned and skied the standard route today. The road is snow-covered and packed from the winter closure (Paris Mill area) all the way to Kite Lake. Snow on Democrat‘s east slopes until you reach 12,900‘, then it‘s on and off to the Democrat-Cameron saddle. The ridge leading to the top is mostly snow-covered and skiable from summit almost down to the saddle. Summit ridge has plenty of snow. Overall, the upper route doesn‘t have a lot of snow and low avalanche danger.
|2015-02-14||Route: East Slopes
Info: Glorious day with 99% sun and a little wind. Headed up from the winter trailhead circa 9:00 am (give or take since I did a poor job watching the clock). Marched up to mt democrat and summitted around 12:20 and then cruised over to Cameron and Bross. I really wanted to grab Lincoln but the wind got pretty aggressive after 1 pm. I wore micro spikes almost the entire way and thought that was sufficient. Great, long day on my first winter 14er. Olly-the-dog-wonder dominated, per usual.
|2015-02-07||Route: South Slope - Right Couloir to SE Ridge
Info: Climbed Democrat (and Cameron, Bross) via what looks like the longest (steepest?) couloir on its south face, then continued to the summit along the SE Ridge. Snow on approach was fine with only an occasional bit of post-holing - took snowshoes but did not use them. The couloir itself was about half awesome climbing and half waist deep swimming in thick glop up to around 50 degrees. At the time of climbing i judged there to be minimal avi hazard. Used crampons the entire length of the couloir but probably could have gotten away with out them. Upper portion of SE ridge and good portions of the trails to Cameron and Bross were mostly windswept with no traction or flotation devices needed. Pretty windy on the summits and ridge-lines and was gusting hard enough between Cameron and Bross to knock me over. Bluebird skies turned ominous as I was leaving the summit of Bross but all of the precip passed to the south. Overall, it was fine day in the hills.
|2015-01-29||Route: East Slopes
Info: Parking area at Paris Mill approx 2.5 miles from the trail head. The remainder of the road is wind blown, sun baked, hard-pack, no need for snowshoes. The trail is clearly visible on the opposite side of Kite Lake and did take some post-holing to get to. The trail disappears around the Kentucky Belle Mine but you can easily hike straight up the firm, shallow snow field in the initial ascent towards the saddle around 12,400‘. At the top of the snowfield two large cairns allow you to reconnect with the trail. Not much for snow left on the east slope so getting to the saddle is pretty straight forward. The snow loaded trail is easy follow, spikes definitely helped. Once at the saddle there are some wind loaded areas but enough exposed rock to scramble up the ridge line and the trail is just visible enough every so often to stay on track. The trail traverses to the left just below a heavily wind loaded area and then disappears under the snow. The lookers left edge of the snow field was very firm making for a quick ascent to the top of the east slope with spikes. From there, an easy walk to the summit. Only slightly sketchy part was coming down from the top of the east slope to reconnect with the trail traversing back to the saddle. Steep and slick, could have used poles.
|2014-12-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: The road is still snowed in, 3 miles from Kite Lake Trailhead. You would need a serious 4wd with chains to get all the way to the TH, we parked on the paved road and hiked. We used microspikes which worked well. Snowshoes on the road are probably not a great idea, you hike through alternating patches of snow and gravel. The snow on the road to the TH was soft and varied from 8 inches to 2 ft. I would definitely take snowshoes and trekking poles with you, otherwise you will be post-holing all the way up to the peak. Some deeper snow at the end of the road, then it gets progressively deeper after the TH. We hit some strong headwinds on the hike in; we started at 6:30 AM. The rest of the day was gorgeous weather, probably 30 - 40‘s. There was snow all the way to the peak, varying from 1 to 3 feet. It took us 6 hours without snowshoes to reach the false peak. We made the personal call not to attempt the summit given the time of day and our condition. We had a party of 3, none of which had done a winter 14er. We were the only one ones on trail, although I did spot a couple of tracks that looked like a mountain lion had been around the trailhead recently. The snow ascending to the false peak was deep, 1 - 3 feet, but not a deal breaker, not sure snowshoes would help given the amount of rocks. Round trip was 8.5 hours for novice hikers. YMMV.
|2014-12-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Right now you can drive to Paris Mill and no further. It means an extra six miles, some of which is road and some of which is snow from 6 to 12 inches. After Kite Lake you need snow shoes until about 12,800. When I got to the saddle I noticed a hanging snowfield under the false summit of Democrat. It‘s about 200-300 vertical feet. I doubt if it would bury you but it could take you over a thousand feet of rock. I elected to climb Cameron.
|2014-10-05||Route: East Slopes
Info: Trail is icy from the Democrat-Cameron saddle to the plateau. Nice snow on summit pitch...unconsolidated, ~18" deep.