| Decalibron on a nice winter day
Mt. Democrat – Mt. Cameron – Mt. Lincoln – Mt. Bross
With a positive winter forecast and aligned schedules I was finally able to get out and climb with DaveSwink and his young climbing partner mattb528 Sunday February 3. We agreed on an ambitious plan to tackle Decalibron and for Matt and myself, check off these four new 14ers.
We met in Alma at 7 am and drove as far up the Kite Lake TH as possible. A snowdrift on an uphill portion of the road stopped our progress so we geared up and set out for Kite Lake. In total it added an additional 5 miles to our hike for the day. We decided to bring our snowshoes based on what we had seen from the road conditions that stopped us, but upon reaching Kite Lake decided to ditch them because from our view of the ascents and saddles between each peak did not show a need for them. Not wanting to leave our snowshoes in plain sight we stepped off the trail and buried them in the snow in what we thought was a memorable location. Not the best idea. However, I’ll get to that later.
Up we started to the peak of Mt. Democrat. With the sun shining brightly the temperatures rose and we were quite warm on the ascent. There was a bit of wind, but nothing too crazy. Dave had been battling a cold and congestion the past few weeks and was not his usual hiking self, blazing the trail and keeping us adhered to the 2 minute break routine. Upon reaching the summit of Mt. Democrat, Dave decided that today was not his day and set out on the descent for the car, while telling Matt and I to finish the day’s mission. Upon making sure Dave was okay to return to the car, Matt and I took off down the saddle from Mt. Democrat and up to Mt. Cameron.
At the lowest point of the saddle between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron the winds shifted and drastically increased in strength and we staggered against consistent 25-30 mph winds and 50 mph gusts. Up we rose onto the summit of Mt. Cameron and quickly onto Mt. Lincoln. We both agreed Mt. Lincoln was the coolest peak of the day with its spiraled peak, chutes and cliff faces. We snapped our summit photos and moved down on toward Mt. Bross hoping that dropping behind Mt. Cameron the winds would subside a little, which they did. Stopping for a quick snack, we moved on, and an hour after peaking at Mt. Lincoln, we stood atop our fourth peak of the day! Exposed again, we took quick celebratory pictures and headed down. This was the steepest descent and we took caution climbing down amidst the loose rock and snow. Finally we reached Kite Lake, having descended Mt. Democrat and climbing to the summit of the other three peaks and down in just around 3 hours.
Feeling great we began our search for the buried snowshoes, eager to begin the final walk back to the car, as we were hopeful we would return home in time to watch some of the Superbowl. Our plans, however, were quickly thwarted. The high winds had completely erased our tracks along with any trace of our snowshoes. While we buried them and made note of their location it took an hour of poling around and searching before were finally able to uncover our snowshoes and return to the car. Next time I’ll definitely be leaving my snowshoes in a bush and not burying them! This put a damper on the great day of hiking, but we quickly forgot about it as we watched the sun set over Mt. Democrat on the walk back to the car.
In all it was a great day of hiking and I’m excited to have met Matt, hiked again whilst briefly with Dave, and added four more winter 14ers to my list. Definitely looking forward to more hiking with these guys.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):