Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Date Posted:  07/06/2020
Date Climbed:   07/06/2020
Author:  jhalee4
 (Mostly) Fun Day with Half of Decalibron  

This was my first 14er in about a year and I have not been in the best shape lol so this was a really fun day, but also challenging! I did Democrat last year but didn't do the rest because of bad weather, so I wanted to head back to complete the loop. Still have not been successful to oficially complete this loop since today the weather was a bitch sketchy as well and my group and I were very tired (after getting almost no sleep). I'll finish it one day!

My friends and brother and I started out on the trail a little before 8 am and parked right outside the parking lot. There were a few other people already out, and more coming up behind us. This part of the trail was familiar and it was a very beautiful morning. The trailed started climbing pretty steadily towards the Democrat/Cameron saddle.

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Fairly early on on the trail.

Got up to the saddle and had a quick break. By this point I was feeling a bit better, though I was definitely feeling it in my legs, and wishing I was in a better shape like I'd been on my past 14er adventures lol. But the group was pushing steadily along and doing a great job, including our one friend who just moved to CO recently from sea level.

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View from the saddle.

My brother and I did Democrat last year, but our 3 friends hadn't, and aiming to complete the whole loop, we headed up Democrat. There were quite a few other people on the trail, and some cute dogs. We made it up to the false summit, to the dismay of our friends. There was a small snow patch up there that was easy to walk over.

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Heading up Democrat; the snow patch.

Got to the summit! Had some snacks, took some pictures, and enjoyed the views, which were great. It was nice to see the views, since the first time I did Democrat it was completed surrounded by clouds and I literally could not see a thing. There were probably 6 other people up there with us.

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Lovely!

We headed back down back towards the saddle. It was a bit hard heading down because of all the loose rocks and dirt, but we made it down eventually.

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Heading back down, with a view of Cameron; looking back up towards the Democrat summit.

Once we made it back down to the saddle, we headed up Cameron, with a steady climb. I really enjoyed walking along the higher parts of the trail and more of the ridge. The views were amazing, and everything looked really cool. At this point, some clouds were starting to move in behind us. Not thunder clouds, more snow. We kept an eye on them as we continued on.

This part was definitely longer than I had thought. I kept thinking finally we had reached the summit, but the ridge just kept going and going. But, like I said, I did enjoy walking along this part.

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Heading up Cameron; pretty views looking towards Bross.
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Walking along the ridge.

We made it to the summit and I was quite tired lol but was glad to have made it. At this point it was cloudier and had gotten a bit colder. Some snowflakes were falling. We took a quick break at the summit, and decided, since the clouds weren't ideal and we were all very tired, to skip Lincoln. Even though it wasn't toooooo far away, we just did not have the energy lol.

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Looking towards Lincoln from Cameron.

As we started heading toward the Cameron/Bross saddle it was getting colder, but we all had enough layers so we were fine. Honestly it was a bit nice to have some cool air since the earlier part of the day had been very hot!

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Heading towards Bross, I thought it was beautiful.

Continuing along the ridge was nice and we had some great views! We came to the junction, and on our mission to head down, took a right below the upper trail that leads more towards Bross.

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At the junction, we went right instead of straight.

Ok, here is when, I'm just going to be honest, the rest of the hike sort of sucked. I had heard and read that descending from Bross was rough, and it was indeed rough. The views we got on the way down were amazing, and to see a great view of Democrat and Cameron, and see all we hiked that day, was very cool. And we still tried to enjoy ourselves. But the trail itself is steep and full of scree. We took our time going down and attempted not to slip and fall.

I will say too, that this part of the trail is very narrow, steep, and to the right of it is just the side of the mountain. Not gonna lie, it was a bitch sketchy for me. We had to just go slow and take our time. (Maybe I just haven't hiked in a while? I wasn't even this nervous on more exposed hikes in the past, but I was on this for some reason.) These pictures I have here don't do justice of just how steep it was, but believe me, it gets quite steep.

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On the way down from around Bross, this part specifically was not too steep; stopping for a quick photo op with Democrat.

Eventually we made it to the point where you turn off the ridge and descend more. This was really just not enjoyable at all. It was so steep, nothing but loose rock and dirt. We were literally sliding down and through it. It took forever lol.

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Down off the ridge; looking back up at what we came down, doesn't look steep but it IS!

So this part, like I've said, was just really not fun at all. We were staying positive and trying to have fun, but I have to acknowledge how much this part of the trail was just a nightmare.

Finally made it down this bit, but we still had a fairly long way to go. We pushed on, and it got better the more we descended and eventually made it on to the grassy part and back to the trailhead.

Overall, we had a really fun time. It was our friend who had just moved to CO's first (and second) 14er! And we had a great time as a group keeping an eye on each other and staying focused. Something else I really like about this trail is that you get to walk at around 14,000 feet for a while, and it just feels really awesome and of course the views are great.

We had originally hoped to do all four 14ers today, but we listened to ourselves and each other and knew that we just didn't have the energy (considering we got only a few hours of sleep before). But that's ok! We had a great challenge and exercise and still enjoyed it.




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