This trip report isn’t terribly interesting or exciting. The one useful part might be my split times for anyone curious about how long this hike takes. I'm a reasonably fit guy and I was moving as fast as was comfortable for me without killing myself.
I left my house in Fort Collins at about 3:45 and headed down to Alma via I-70 and Breckenridge instead of US285 and Fairplay. I’m not sure which is faster but I figured with no traffic the I-70 route was probably faster. Anywho, I made it to the trailhead a little before 7:00. I got my gear together and hiked away from the car at 7:00.
I set a steady pace and made my way up past the old mining cabin ruins and up towards the saddle between Democrat and Cameron. Along the way there were a couple of snowfields to cross, but for the most part the trail was completely clean. I plugged along and made it to the saddle at 8:00. The view down the other side was very nice with a snow-covered Traver Peak sitting across a wide valley.
I then turned up Democrat and continued to plod along. I passed a guy from Denton, Texas and we chatted for a minute. Denton is the hometown of my favorite band Slobberbone so we chatted about music and then I continued on. I made the summit at 8:30 and paused to take a few snapshots and have a snack. After the quick break I turned around and retraced my path back down to the saddle between Democrat and Cameron, arriving at 9:00.
It had been pretty cool and breezy all morning but as I began to ascend Cameron the wind began to pick up some. I was afraid my cowboy hat would blow away and my ears were getting a little cold so I stopped to put my stocking cap on instead. After that I continued to chug along, reaching the summit of Mount Cameron at 9:45.
Atop Cameron I paused for a quick snack and then set off for Lincoln. I was surprised at how close it was and it only took me fifteen minutes to reach the summit of Mount Lincoln at 10:00. On the summit I met a group of guys that had come up from the Quartzville Trailhead.
After a short rest to admire the view I resumed my circuit and began to retrace my steps back toward Cameron. The wind had been steadily increasing since I’d left Cameron and now there were flurries in the air. I was getting cold so I stopped to get out my shell and a pair of fleece gloves. I continued on skirting around Cameron on my way to Bross. As I hiked along the Bross-Cameron saddle the wind and snow increased until it was snowing very hard and visibility was down to only one hundred meters or so. It was 10:30 and I was about halfway between Bross and Cameron. I expected the snow squall to blow through quickly so I held off on putting more cloths on. However, I finally relented as the wind was really cutting through my light convertible pants and I put on my Gore-Tex pant on over my others. With my clothing adjustment I continued on toward the summit and as I got near the top the squall began to pass, the snow eased, and the visibility increased. The wind continued to blow pretty hard though.
I made the summit of Mount Bross at 11:00 just as another group of hikers arrived from Kite Lake. We snapped each other’s photos and I had a quick snack before beginning my descent back down to Kite Lake. I headed south looking for a likely place to do some scree skiing. I found what looked good and began my rapid descent straight down the slope. The first part of my descent wasn’t as easy as I had hoped because the rocks where a little too big – the size ranged from bricks to a deck of cards. However, after the first hundred yards or so I reached some finer stuff (ping pong ball size and smaller) and I cruised down the slope losing over a thousand feet of elevation in a matter of a few minutes.
My path eventually brought me to a large snow-filled gully. Unfortunately the snow wasn’t soft enough, and the slope wasn’t steep enough to offer a great glissade but I made several nice short ones down the gully until it opened up above Kite Lake. At this elevation it had warmed up considerably and I shed a couple of layers as I made my way back down to the car. I arrived back at the car at 12:00.
This hike finished up the Ten-Mile/Mosquito 14ers for me so now it’s on to the Sawatch Range for my one-day 14er trips. However, I think I’m rapidly running out of 14ers that I can hit in a day from Fort Collins.