Mt Democrat, CO- Elevation 14,148- 10/02/2004
It was snowing on Friday so this week Saturday was a better day for hiking. Charlotte wanted to make an attempt with me at Mt Democrat, which is usually an easy hike from Kite Lake. Today would be different however. The ground and trail was mostly covered with snow and the temp at the trailhead was around 32 degrees Fahrenheit when we started at 10am. It was a long tough day as you will see from our photo journal below.
Here is Charlotte about 15 minutes into the hike with Mt Democrat in the background. She is dressed in ski pants, jacket and had toe warmers to keep the feet from getting frostbite. At times like this when the sun was out it was a bit hot, but most of the day the sun was not out, and when your feet are in the snow all day they get cold no matter how hot the rest of your body is.
This is an old mine near the trail. Notice how much snow is on the ground. By the time we made our way down most of this would melt.
By now we have made our way up near the Democrat-Cameron saddle around 13,000. Cameron is another 14er that is not ranked officially because it does not dip more than 300 feet below Mt Lincoln which is behind it.
This is a look back at Kite lake and the valley below, it is truly beautiful here.
So when you get tired and need to take a break what do you do? Just find a rock to sit on, any old rock will do.
Looking up at the false summit we still have a ways to go.
This is a nice view of Mt Cameron on the left, and Bross on the right (the big flat summit). Cameron is really more like the false summit of Lincoln which you can not see until you reach the summit of Democrat.
Charlotte works her way up the very steep slope which thankfully was not too icy since the snow was fresh.
Me on the slopes.
A self portrait shot with Charlotte in the background working her way up to the false summit of Democrat.
After lots of work you finally reach the false summit only to see you still have a little further to go. In the foreground you can see a partially snow covered cairn marking the trail (basically a pile of rocks). Charlotte is on the far right in the picture, and the Democrat summit in the background.
Charlotte is psyched and ready to claim victory on the summit.
It only took about 10-15 minutes to reach the summit from the false summit. It was cold at the top, still around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but the sun wasn't out and it was windy. The sky was very cloudy but I think it was too cold for thunderstorms to develop, and the views were still spectacular.
A picture of Charlotte on the summit with Quandary Peak just to the right of her. Quandary is another nearby 14er.
Me holding up the summit post, or maybe that is the other way around?
A close up of the summit post with the South Park valley in the background. Yep, South Park Colorado is down there less than 20 miles away. You actually drive through it to get to Kite Lake, unless you go the other way through Breckenridge.
Charlotte enjoys a P&J sandwich on the summit and wonders where's Cartman?
I met a nice couple named Jim and Rita with their dog just arriving at the summit as we were getting ready to leave. It was Rita’s birthday and her 1st 14er! After I got down near the start of the false summit I snapped this picture of them and their dog at the top. If you two want the full resolution picture of this email me and let me know, I'll send it to ya.
From the corner of the false summit you are rewarded with a nice view of Kite lake and the valley. From this picture you can see why its called Kite lake, it looks very much like a kite with a string attached. The string is actually the road up which is not too bad except for the last mile.
Still above 13,000 ft, on the way down the trail was all snow.
A picture taken in nearly the same spot as the last one. You can see that we really are on the side of a huge mountain. The vastness of this place can be overwhelming.
Charlotte on the trail down with Mt Bross in the background.
A self portrait with Kite lake in the background.
Another picture of that old mine. Can you find Waldo?
Here is a nice pic of Mt Democrat from near the bottom. You can't quite see the true summit but its still a nice view.
Here you can see just how much snow has melted since we started our hike. This is almost the same picture as the second one on this page. It amazes me how fast snow can melt in Colorado. The sun alone can melt snow even when the temps are near freezing all day. I guess the super dry weather out here also helps with that.
Back at the jeep we set the tripod up for a self portrait.
Our victory picture came out a little overexposed, so I embossed it which gave it the look of a classic moment in time.
On our way home we stopped in Breckenridge (we went the other route home) to eat and celebrate at Bubba Gumps. It was Mmm Mmm good.