(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
From Fairplay, take Colorado 9 to the town of Alma. From the center of Alma, continue north for about 1/2 mile and turn left on the Park County 6 road. It's a total of 4.5 miles to the trailhead from here:
After 1.4 miles, turn left onto Quartzville road. Near 2.2 miles, stay left at a confusing intersection. At 3.5 miles, stay right at the intersection of Zinc Road. There is an intersection at 4.0 miles and Mt. Lincoln is ahead of you. Keep right and continue around a bend. At about 4.1 miles, turn left onto a forest road (recently named Crest Drive). There are private property signs and this is where people used to park before the land owners blocked off the parking. Don't park here. Continue 1/2 mile up the 4WD road. The Quartzville USLM site is around to the right in a large flat area.
There are two good ways to reach the Lincoln summit from the Quartzville trailhead. The topo map and Photo #1 show both.
LONG ROUTE - Jeep Trail through the Cameron Amphitheater:
This is the easiest hike from the Quartzville trailhead - it is a Class 1 walk-up on mining roads. Leave the trailhead and follow the jeep trail (road) as it climbs west up an easy slope. Follow the road into the Cameron Amphitheatre between Mt. Bross (left) and Mt. Lincoln (right). Cross the Quartzville creek near 12,800' and continue to 13,000' in the Amphitheatre. See Photo #1. Photo #3 shows the road as it ascends the amphitheatre and then up to the shoulder. The road turns right here and climbs northwest up the south side of the East Shoulder. Reach the crest of the shoulder at 13,300' near some mines.
SHORT ROUTE - Directly up the East Shoulder:
This option climbs the entire East Shoulder from Putnam Gulch. From the trailhead, hike west along the road for a bit and then climb directly up the slope that is west of the trailhead. You do not have to stay on the jeep trail to the left. Continue northwest up the hill to 12,100' where you can see Putnam Gulch and much of the route ahead. The terrain on the other side of the gulch is a bit steep but it is still Class 2. Locate a trench (to the northwest) that empties into the gulch - Photo #2. Cross Putnam Gulch and climb up onto the end of the trench at 12,200'. Turn left and begin your ascent of the East Shoulder. Hike all the way up to 13,300' where you will hit the road that comes up from the Cameron Amphitheatre.
From 13,300', continue northwest up the shoulder. There are several mining roads and it's easiest to just stay on the left side instead of following roads to the right across the East Slope. Photo #4 shows the view ahead. Reach the Russia Mine area near 13,800' and the summit hump is dead ahead - Photo #5. Climb directly to the summit or follow the jeep trail north as it crosses Lincoln's East Slope near 13,950'. After crossing the slope, turn left and climb the final 250' to the summit. With snow, this final climb has a difficulty rating of Class 2.
The east slope holds snow through most of May and you can see the entire route from Colorado 9. From the summit, descend east to 12,900' above the Lincoln Amphitheatre. With good snow, this is fun intermediate descent. Locate the trench that runs southeast along the south rim of the Amphitheatre. Follow the trench until it drops off into Putnam Gulch at 12,000'. Cross the gulch and hike back over to the trailhead. Check out Photo #6, Photo #7, and Photo #8.
There is no parking on or before the 4WD road leading up to the trailhead. You have to drive to the Quartzville site to park.