It was a beautiful blue sky Sunday with a couple of good hiking buddies Will (hunterwf) and Craig (awake). We all met up at my place in Colorado Springs, Craig making the drive from Denver, and we left just shortly after 5 AM. We arrived at the "Trailhead", that is making it as far as we could up Kite Lake Road, around 7 and started at about 7:15. We managed to park about 3 miles up the road.
We started up the road and decided we should put on microspikes seeing the snow hills that were coming up. After crossing a couple of those snow mounds we saw that most of the snow was going away but decided to keep the spikes on a little longer. After about 15-20 minutes we realized that there wasn't going to be much more snow that we couldn't avoid so we took them off and kept on going. Soon after we caught our first glimpse of Democrat.
Will, Craig, and Mt. Decomcrat
We continued up the road and then found the snow was starting to cover the entire road. Since the snow was still hard we just kept on going without snowshoes or microspikes. We eventually reached the actual TH and here we saw our objective of the day Mt. Buckskin!
Buckskin on the right
We took the time to fuel up and put on our snowshoes and began our hike towards the summit. We followed the route the best we could provided on 13ers.com, thanks Bill. After much shoeing we found what looked like to be the end of the snowfield and cut off onto the grass. After taking off our snowshoes and doing about 2-3 minutes of hiking we saw that we had another large snowfield to cross. If we would have continued left and banked around the grass we would have been able to shoe up this section to the next section of dry ground and then taken off the shoes from there. Lucky for us the snow was still pretty firm and with some minor postholing we made it over. Now the fun begins as we just continued to hike straight up to this patch of talus that was covered on either side by snow, this stretch would lead us to the promised land!
After dodging snow and talus, trying to stay on the grass we hit the section of talus that will lead us to the summit. We finally reached our destination around 11:15 AM and took in the views.
Here is my famous summit shot...or maybe not so famous just yet. ;)
Here are Craig and Will.
Craig and Will
So after fueling up and taking in the surroundings we started heading back down around 11:45 AM. We worked our way down to the snow fields and glissaded what we could to shave off some time.
Will (left) and Craig (right)
We then put the snowshoes back on and worked our way down to the road and back to the car, where we arrived around 2:15 PM.
It was a great day of hiking with a couple of really good buddies. Thanks Craig and Will for the company!