Mount Elbert East Ridge 6-11-2012
Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron, Mount Lincoln, Mount Bross Combo 6-13-2012
Partner: My Old Man
My Dad and I have been hiking together for years. About 10 years ago we started getting into climbing peaks. Mostly we have climbed in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, so I convinced him to head out to Colorado to my new stomping grounds. We have done the state high points in Idaho and Washington together so I though what better way to start then with the Colorado high point.
Mount Elbert from Leadville
Elbert was by far easier than the previous state high points we have climbed together. Coming into this hike both of our high points was from Mount Rainier in Washington. Rainier and Elbert are totally different mountains and I will admit I was a little sad to see my high point of Rainier topped by a hiking trail.
4WD Road through the Aspens
The 4WD road was in excellent shape from the pavement to the parking area near the TH. A beautiful drive through the Aspens is a great way to start the morning. When we arrived it was 22º and the temperatures soon would change. The main TH was a mere 5 minutes if that from the parking area to the initial bridge crossing. After jumping on the Colorado Trail I could see how beautiful this area really was. It didn’t take long for the trail to start climbing after splitting from the CT/CDT. We were starting to heat up in the trees, but knew it wasn’t far to tree line so we continued on till we got a good view of the mountain before resting.
The East Ridge route is the way to go if you ask me. The views to the north and south were amazing; between Mount Massive and the Collegiate Peaks your eyes were busy taking mental photos all day. The trail was in amazing shape, and we even ran into a group from the CFI doing some trail work on the way down. It took us somewhere around 4 hours to summit. We were in no hurry with such beautiful conditions, so we enjoyed every minute of it.
The summit was warm and beautiful. We took an hour up there had a lovely summit beer and aired out the dogs a bit. The hike down was pretty uneventful, taking about 2hrs and a good beating on the knees. We had other mountains planned so we didn’t try and beat ourselves up too much. I was impressed with how well my Dad did with the elevation. Coming from a town around 2,500ft he powered right up the mountain. So I see the key to elevation is to be in shape and staying active.
Dad and I on the summit with and old friend
I was going to do this loop a few weeks prior but only ended up hiking Democrat due to high winds. We thought this would be a nice easy compliment to our previous hike of Elbert. This was another beautiful day with mainly blue skies till after noon. We took off from the standard Kite Lake TH around 7:30am and made Democrat’s summit by 10am.
This is really a beautiful hike. After hiking Democrat the ridge up Cameron over to Lincoln the scenery was well worth the required effort. Hiking up the ridge to Cameron did seem like a long line of false rises. Cameron’s summit was uneventful, but a great chance to enjoy the 360’ views. A short scamper had us over to Lincoln where we ran into our first Colorado Mt Goat. That was the highlight of the day, I always love running into wildlife in the mountains.
Mt Goat and Quandary
Lincoln was a neat summit, with wonderful rock. I do have a love for geology so the granite up there had me mesmerized for some time. After lunch we headed down on the traverse over to Bross. Not much to report from over here other than great photo opportunity for the entire route we ascended. There were still a few people coming up from Kite Lake toward Bross which I thought would be a much more difficult way to attack this circuit. I know my knees were screaming coming down the scree and rock till we hit the grass again.
Us on Lincoln
When we got back to the car we found out why this area is call the Mosquito Range. We quickly changed and dove into the car before the blood suckers made off with too much of our precious life source. The most exciting part was left for the drive home when outside of Fairplay I blew a flat tire. Luckily the spare was full so all was well with the world.
It is a kite
This was another great week in the mountains of Colorado. So far this year I’m up to 12-14ers which I’m happy with. My goal is 50 summits this year and I don’t care how high they are. That just gives me 50 reasons to get out into the mountains! I have a bit more detailed report on my blog if interested: