From Kite Lake
Saturday September 18, 2004
Arrived at Kite Lake trailhead right at 6:15AM with lots of other people arriving, and others awakening from their tent sites. It was still a little dark and I was just able to see well enough to get started on the trail at 6:30 sharp.
I walked around Kite Lake and started up the trail with others doing the same. I passed several people shortly after leaving the lake and hiked up a fairly steep section where I passed some others on my way to a level, grassy spot overlooking the lake and trailhead below which was filling up fast. Although the sun hadn’t risen yet I was getting quite warm and removed a layer, took a brief rest then started back up.
The trail was pretty well defined for a good ways as I climbed up another steeper section and through a small notch that opened the way to where the trail leads to the saddle between Mt Democrat on the left and Mt Cameron to the right. I could now see two people heading for the saddle well ahead and then turning towards Mt Democrat as I made my way up on a trail that was becoming more undefined by the minute.
Since the sun still hadn’t shown I was in a giant shadow and I managed to lose the trail altogether and just started a scrambling climb towards a high point well left of the saddle. At times I could actually see foot prints where others had done the same so I figured I wasn’t too far off. I was climbing on all fours as I neared the top of the high spot and then I clambered up and over onto a false summit. Here I now saw the guy and gal I had seen on the saddle hiking towards me coming back from the summit. They said I had taken a “shortcut” as I had missed the saddle entirely, we chatted briefly and then they headed back down towards the saddle.
I started down into a little basin area between the false summit and the summit itself and was surprised to see what was left of an old mine building way up here. The trail is well traveled here and I was soon on the vacant summit at 7:50, which has an old board with the elevation written on it and lots of names and dates carved into it. I too carved my name and the date as I saw no summit log. The views were great and the sun was just now creeping over the peaks and reaching to where I was and the weather was perfect. My 5th 14’er! Sweet!!
I stayed and rested about 15 mins then started back towards the saddle on my way to Mt Cameron next…………