Mt. Democrat
snow South Slope
!Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
? (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.
 Difficult Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Moderate  
Ski/Board: Advanced, D6 / R3 / II  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Considerable
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Moderate  
Trailhead:Kite Lake
Start:12,000 feet
Summit:14,148 feet
Total Gain:2,150 feet
RT Length:2.50 miles
USGS Quad.:Climax
County Sheriff:Park: 719-836-2494
National Forest:Pike
Last Updated:3/2019


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.


#1 and #2 show Mt. Democrat from the Kite Lake road and #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 - #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 - #6 and #7.

Now above 12,800', continue northwest toward the chutes and rock outcroppings in the center of the south slope - #8, #9 and #10. Angle up to the right and begin climbing steeper terrain below the chutes. Angle right up steeper terrain and enter the first chute OR continue left to pick a different one. This description uses the first chute. Climb the chute (#10 and #11) and pass through the rock outcroppings, near 13,400' - #12 and #13. Now on easier ground, hike north/northwest up the upper slope to reach the summit - #14, #15 and #16. Descend via the same route or use the Mt. Democrat - East Slopes (standard) route.


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


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

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Route Photos  Print Options

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Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.
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