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Route #2) Mt. Democrat - South Slope

Difficulty: Difficult Class 2, Moderate Snow
Ski: Advanced, D6 / R3 / II
Exposure: Moderate exposure along the immediate route. It should be avoidable with some slow hiking or scrambling.
Summit Elevation: 14,148 feet
Trailhead Elevation: 12,000 feet
Elevation Gain:2,150 feet
Round-trip Length: 2.50 miles
Trailhead: Kite Lake
USGS Quad.: Climax
County Sheriff: Park: 719-836-2494
National Forest:  Pike
Author: BillMiddlebrook
Last Updated: 10/2015
TH:  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.

Route: Photo #1 and Photo #2 show Mt. Democrat from the Kite Lake road and Photo #3 is a different angle, from Mt. Buckskin. In these photos, notice the distinct line of rock outcroppings on Democrat’s south slope. They form a set of chutes which are used on this route. From the trailhead, begin hiking northwest toward a small basin, left of Democrat’s southeast slope - Photo #4. Once in the small basin (12,500’), continue west to its west end and ascend 200+ feet to reach easier terrain, just above and northwest of Lake Emma - Photo #6 and Photo #7.

Now above 12,800’, continue northwest toward the chutes and rock outcroppings in the center of the south slope - Photo #8 and Photo #9. This route ascends the easternmost chute, seen in the center of Photo #9. Enter the chute (Photo #10 and Photo #11) and pass through the rock outcroppings, near 13,300’ - Photo #12. Now on easier ground (Photo #13), hike north/northwest up the upper slope (Photo #14) to reach the summit - Photo #15 and Photo #16. Descend via the same route or use the Mt. Democrat - East Slopes (standard) route.

Skiing?: In the easternmost chute: Photo #17, Photo #18
Below the chutes: Photo #19
The small basin (12,500’), northwest of Kite Lake: Photo #20

Notes:    The route is only recommended with stable, spring snow conditions and axe+crampons are recommended.

Topo map: (Not Displayed, click here to change your settings)

Route Photos: (Did you know?)
Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5 Photo #6 Photo #7 Photo #8 Photo #9 Photo #10 Photo #11 Photo #12 Photo #13 Photo #14 Photo #15 Photo #16 Photo #17 Photo #18 Photo #19 Photo #20

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