Take Colorado 9 to Alma. In the middle of town and on the west side of the road, look for a small sign for the road to Kite Lake. Turn here and drive a bit through a residential area. Continue 6 miles to Kite Lake. The last mile of this road can be a bit more rough, but a good-clearance 2WD should still be able to make it when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a small fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below (no fee), walk up the road to Kite Lake.
Photo #1 is a view of Mt. Democrat during the drive up the Kite Lake road. From the parking area, follow the blocked road north near the lake and past a few camping spots. After the lake, begin the ascent out of the basin - Photo #2 and Photo #3. Continue north and ascend to the Kentucky Belle Mine at 12,400' - Photo #4 and Photo #5. The collapsed mine shack is just a few feet from the trail. Photo #6 looks back on the hike up from Kite Lake, and Photo #7 is a different view of the mine area. Hike above 12,500' to the base of a rugged slope - Photo #8. Follow the trail up the slope (Photo #9) to reach the base of Democrat's East Slope - Photo #10. Cross a small stream and turn left (west) near 12,800' - Photo #11. Ascend a few switchbacks to 13,000' where the trail turns right and heads north across the East Slope. Photo #12 looks down on the terrain below this point. Hike north across the slope (Photo #13) to reach the Democrat-Cameron saddle ( 39.34171° N, -106.13224° W) at 13,400' - Photo #14.
From the saddle, turn left and follow the trail west up the ridge. Photo #15 and Photo #16 show the ridge and remaining route up the East Slope. After climbing about 200' along the ridge, the trail turns left and traverses southwest across the slope - Photo #17 and Photo #18. Photo #19 looks back to the saddle from approximately 13,700'. After a long stretch of trail that spans much of the slope, the terrain becomes steeper and there are few small switchbacks that lead to the top of the slope - Photo #20. Continue to the top of the slope and past a few mine prospect holes to reach the summit ridge ( 39.33886° N, -106.13634° W) near 13,900' - Photo #21.
From the top of the East Slope, the summit is directly west. Walk over to the final pitch (Photo #22 and Photo #23) and follow the trail up to the summit ( 39.339542° N, -106.139946° W) - Photo #24 and Photo #25. Taken from Mt. Bross, Photo #26 is a view of the upper route with snow coverage.
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