(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. All 14er routes are more difficult and more dangerous in winter.
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. It's across the road from the "Caniglia Real Estate" building. 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 $5 fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below, walk up the road to Kite Lake.
From the parking area, follow the blocked road past the lake. After the lake, begin the ascent out of the basin - 1 and 2. Near 12,200', pass a collapsed mine shack - 3. At 12,600' ( 4), follow the trail up a rugged slope ( 5) to reach the base of Democrat's east slope - 6. Near 12,800', the trail swings left (south) for a bit before turning right and heading north across the east slope, toward the Democrat-Cameron saddle - 7 and 8. From the saddle, turn left and follow the trail west up the ridge - 9. After climbing about 200' along the ridge, the trail turns left and traverses southwest across the slope. Continue up steeper terrain and past some mine prospect holes to reach the summit ridge, near 13,900' - 10. Walk over to the final pitch and follow the easy trail up to the top of Democrat .
Taken from the top of Democrat, 11 is the view of Mt. Cameron and Mt. Lincoln. Leave Democrat and descend to the Democrat-Cameron saddle - 12. From the saddle, hike northeast along the right side of Mt. Cameron's west ridge ( 13) and regain it near 13,500' - 14. Continue along the ridge to 14,000' where the steepness eases and you can see the remaining hike to Cameron's summit - 15. Pass a bump on the left side and walk to the top of Cameron - 16.
17 shows the next leg of the hike over to Mt. Lincoln. Leave Cameron and descend northeast to the Cameron-Lincoln saddle - 18. Follow the trail up past a bump to see Lincoln's summit - 19. Walk over to the final pitch ( 20) and hike up through some Class 2 terrain to reach the summit . You are now 1.5 miles from Mt. Bross and 3 miles from Kite Lake.
Leave Lincoln's summit and hike southwest back to the Cameron-Lincoln saddle - 21. From the north end of Cameron, turn south and follow a solid trail towards Mt. Bross - 22. Hit the Cameron-Bross saddle near 13,850' and continue southeast to reach a trail junction above 13,900' - 23. In 2008. the trail was changed to cross the west side of Bross instead of going directly to the summit from this point. Shortly after turning right, reach a road junction. Stay left and continue south below the summit - 24. Hike until you intersect a broad, shallow gully that drops off to your right - 25. Since 2007, the summit of Bross has been officially closed and trail work has not been performed to create a defined, sustainable trail to the summit. If you intend to gain the summit, leave the main trail at the gully junction and hike up to your left to reach the top of Bross ( 26) and then return to the main trail - 27.
Returning to Kite Lake:
Follow the trail west ( 28) and begin your descent along Bross' gravel-covered west ridge - 29. As the ridge narrows, avoid the temptation to drop left too soon. Seriously, way too many people leave the trail too soon and unnecessarily downclimb steep, loose scree before regaining the trail below. Stay on the ridge trail all the way down to approximately 13,350' - 30. Near some blackened rocks ( 31), the trail drops left ( 32) and toward a large gully and obvious trail below - 33 and 34. Descend to the gully and follow the trail along the south side of the gully - 35 and 36. Reach the basin east of Kite Lake and walk back to the trailhead - 37.
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