This is just a brief trip report/album of our 4th of July climbing trip and will also be linked to some other sites.
July 2: Mount Spalding and Mount Evans
Mount Evans is a pretty peak, but I had long put off climbing it because it has a road to near the summit. In March 2005, I had attempted a winter ascent of the peak via Guanella Pass, Mount Bierstadt and the Sawtooth Ridge, but I wasn’t feeling well and returned not long after climbing Bierstadt.
Mount Evans was chosen for a climb this weekend because the weather forecast was bad in the afternoons and I thought Mount Evans would be short enough for the kids ages seven and five) to get up and back before the threat of thunderstorms materialized.
Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly and I started the climb at Summit Lake, which was still frozen. We had originally planned to climb Mount Warren first, but we decided to head straight to Mount Spalding so we could get over Mount Evans as soon as we could. If the weather was still good by the time we got back down to Summit Lake we would climb Mount Warren.
As we started the climb we watched several marmots and mountain goats on the slopes of Mount Warren near Summit Lake. After watching them for several minutes, we headed off and climbed to the summit of Mount Spalding where we had a good rest and snack.
Kessler, Shaylee and I slid down a snowfield (we had brought plastic garbage bags just for this purpose) and then headed down to the saddle and up the ridge to Mount Evans. The Mount Evans Ridge was slower than expected and it took more time than we had thought it would, partly because much of the trail was covered with snow and so we climbed the rocky ridge more directly in order to stay off the snow.
The weather was good to the time we were in the summit area, but by the time we reached the summit it was snowing pretty hard and it was cold and windy. We touched the summit and went down a short distance to seek shelter in the old building near a parking lot (as mentioned there is a road close to the summit). We waited out the storm while eating lunch and the skies cleared.
We headed down the steep northeast face of the mountain, but were hit with another storm. It made the going very slippery and the kids did not like this part. We climbed down through the hail and rain storm as quickly as we could and walked the short section of road back to Summit Lake.
Overall, it was a nice and scenic climb, but the weather on the return was not good.
July 3: Vance Creek and Point 11,154
The original plan was to climb Lenawee Mountain, a 13er, but it rained all night the night before and the morning was still cloudy so we changed plans. Since Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly and I were already camped at Echo Lake we headed out for the Resthouse Meadows trail which started right from the campground we were at.
We climbed a high ridge and descended down to Vance Creek. The sky kept teasing us and one minute it looked like it would rain and the next minute it looked like it was going to clear. We continued on the trail another mile before heading back. We again climbed to the ridge between Echo Lake and Vance Creek and decided to climb the peak and crags to the east of the saddle on the ridge. We scrambled up to the highest point for the fine views and then to the top of several nearby crags just for fun before returning. The weather was good and we had only a few light sprinkles.
July 4: Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln
Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly and I set off to climb Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron, and Mount Lincoln.
It was a rough night before and the evening of July 3 was very windy. The tent kept blowing down at Kite Lake which was above timberline. We had left our smaller low profile tents home because at the time we weren’t thinking of camping at Kite Lake and it was a last minute decision (and a not very good one). After several trial and error experiences keeping the tent from blowing away we finally got it anchored down good, but a big gust bent the poles and ripped the tent making it unusable. We spent a long night squished in the vehicles.
After waking up after a not-so-restful night we set off for the Cameron/Democrat Saddle. We climbed to the saddle and rested, making the trip in a fast (for a five year old) 1.5 hours. I let the kids decided if they wanted to climb Democrat or Lincoln first and they wanted to Lincoln first since it was the highest. We make the nice ridge over Cameron (which is only an “unofficial peak” because it doesn’t have enough rise over the connecting saddle to be a real peak) and over to Lincoln and reached the summit in about 3 hours from Kite Lake. It was still too early for lunch so we had a long snack.
It was somewhat cloudy to the west so we decided to forego Democrat and head down a secondary route near Mount Bross. We had at first planned to skip that summit (the opened section of the trail bypasses 100 feet below the summit), but I met a group of hikers returning from Mount Bross that explained that some of the owners of the mining claims were up there in vehicles (there is a private jeep road up there from the west side of Bross) and were granting hikers permission to summit the peak. I ran ahead to talk to them, but could see them heading back in their vehicles just before I reached the junction. We asked another of hikers if they had talked to the people in the vehicles and they said no. It was snowing lightly, but there was no sign or sound of thunder so we went over the summit of Bross and down the monotonous scree slope and back to Kite Lake. The round trip was a fast 5.5 hours Kite Lake to Kite Lake.
Lincoln was a nice climb and a pretty one, but my original thoughts on Bross remain (I had climbed the peak in February 2005). Bross is still a monotonous pile of scree with few redeeming traits. Lincoln was the highlight of the trip and other than the blown apart tent the night before, the climb was a good one.