Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Date Posted:  09/23/2020
Modified:  09/24/2020
Date Climbed:   09/16/2020
Author:  diver110
 Mt. Deomcrat by itself   

The hardest thing about this hike is finding where to turn in Alma. One trip report said to take Road 850, which as best as I can tell does not exist. There is a Road 8 from Alma that goes to Kite Lake (which is where you want to go), but no indication from the Alma where that is. There is a tiny sign above the street sign in Alma which points you in the direction of Kite Lake. See pic. I also posted a picture of a realtor office across the street from the turn, which might be a better thing to key on. I scoped the area out the day before, missed the turn on the first pass (partly because I was looking for an 850 sign), went all the way through Alma, got stuck in some road construction, lost maybe 20 minutes, came back and found the damn turn. The first 4 miles of the 6 miles to Kite Lake are mostly a nothing. Any car could do it. The last 2 miles are rougher, but a 2WD with good clearance should have no problems. And I saw some low clearance 2WDs there as well. If that is you, just go slow and you will probably be fine. Kite Lake has a smallish parking lot, maybe 50 cars, $5 fee for day parkers. When I got there about 7 am on a Wednesday, it was maybe 2/3 full. I had not slept well the night before, so I took a nap in my car and did not head out until about 8 am. There were a couple of spaces left. But you can park on the road outside the parking lot. During the week, I doubt you would have to park far from the lot. Also, because this hike is fairly short, people start on it throughout the morning and afternoon, and there is a fair amount of turn over in the parking lot. When I got back, there were a number of open spaces. Bottom line, during the week, parking is probably nothing to sweat. The hike itself gets a lot of traffic, so as long as you know generally where to go (it is the peak on the left looking up from the parking lot), you are not going to get lost. There are at least two false summits. The last of these is moderately rigorous, with some bouldering. Once you get to the top of that, it is maybe a 100 yard fairly flat hike and then and a fairly easy and quick hike to the summit. The views from the top are terrific. I did not stay too long because it was very windy at the top. My Garmin 66i showed it as 4.6 miles round trip (other are showing 4, this can vary a bit depending how you wander up. There are a couple of ways up the first incline. One sort of goes straight up, the other is easier and winds wide and then back. Watch for other hikers, and see which one you want to take. I am over the hill. In my prime, I could probably have done it in 3 hours with a few stops. Some people are showing hike times of under 2 hours. Those must be from top hiking athletes. If that is not you, figure on the 3 hours. At 68, I do not do much better than 1 mile per hour, so it took me about 5 hours. Good choice for a first 14er.




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