Democrat, Mount (Decalibron Circuit)

elevation: 4,312 m.
height gain: 655 m.
area: Alma,Colorado,USA
map USGS 1:24,000 Climax, CO


At the trailhead.
THE CLIMB  -East slopes  class 2

Hike: RT 7.0 (includes Mounts Cameron, Lincoln and Bross); 2.25 up. After visiting Mount Evans, I drove to Alma to continue with my planned ascents before meeting my friend in Leadville on the weekend. I drove through Breckenridge and reminisced about my first 14er last april accompanied by a young man from Florida that I met on the 14ers website. After stopping at the quaint little coffee shop in Alma, I drove to Kite Lake, the trailhead for the Decalibron 4-peak circuit. The access road is rough in places, I was glad to have the truck. Just like yesterday late afternoon, a thick fog obstructed the mountains and it was raining. I wasn't worried as I was aware that it was a typical pattern for the Colorado Rocky Mountains; during the night, the sky would clear and the stars would come out. I had supper, fixed my sleeping arrangement and tried falling asleep early; I needed some serious sleep after the last couple of days... This was my second night sleeping at high altitude, Kite Lake is located at 3,658 meters. I noticed my heart rate was now normal and I had no headache, I was quite pleased about that; I fell asleep almost instantly. The following morning I awoke at 3:30 AM and left the truck by 4:00, once again I didn't want to get caught by afternoon thunderstorms and I was hoping to catch the sunrise from atop the mountain. Following the trail by headlamp was easy until I got higher up on Democrat's eastern talus slopes; there, I had to focus to make sure I stayed on the rocky trail which provided a much better way up than guessing the direction in the dark. I managed to follow the trail and reach the upper slopes as the dim light of dawn began to illuminate the mountains. I continued to the top with nobody else in sight. I paused on the summit briefly to eat and take some pictures; the horizon was just starting to display dawn's colourful orange hues. I headed down with my camera close by, I knew this sunrise would be one to remember. Just before dipping down on the talus slopes, I took a good break to capture and enjoy the prize of the day: the colours of dawn and the sunrise over Mounts Cameron and Bross. I took so many pictures that my hands almost froze; although it was still summer, the temperature was below freezing this early in the morning even with almost no wind. Once the sun had risen, I resumed my descent to the Democrat-Cameron Col. As I neared the col, I noticed several people on their way up from Kite Lake but I had such a head start that I only crossed a couple of guys that were also attempting the 4-peak circuit. I carried on to my next objective, Mount Cameron, feeling very pleased with this hike thus far.

rain and low cloud

Rain and low cloud over Kite Lake when I arrive in the afternoon.

dusting of fresh snow

Clouds lift to reveal a dusting of fresh snow on Mount Cameron.

top of democrat

After ascending in the dark, I stand on Mount Democrat with the north-western view towards Freemont Pass.

looking east

Mount Cameron (left) with Mount Lincoln just peeking over and broad Mount Bross on the right.

official sign

Official sign at the top and a spade in case you feel like digging for ore.

view south

View south.

beautiful orange sky

Beautiful orange sky over Mount Cameron as I head down.

best show is at dawn

The most intense colours and best show of the day is at dawn.

last glimpse at democrat

Last glimpse towards Mount Democrat.

waiting for the sunrise

Waiting for the sun to rise between Mounts Cameron and Bross.

fiery sky

Southern view under a fiery sky.

stunning sunrise

My favorite moment of the day was witnessing this stunning sunrise.

mount cameron

My next objective, Mount Cameron.

Continue on to Mount Cameron
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