I decided late Friday to don snowshoes for the first time in ten years (it's a long story) and try to summit two of Colorado's fourteeners on Saturday. I've had better ideas, but this wasn't the worst. I woke up in the wee hours of Saturday morning and with a last check of the weather made the two and a half hour drive to the trailhead - or as close as I could get. There were snowdrifts that, despite my valiant efforts in my lifted 4WD vehicle, had me park three miles down the road. I hit the trail just as the sun was coming up, minutes after 7am.
I got to the "summer" trailhead at 8:30am, where I found two Texans who had camped the night before in hopes of summiting the three surrounding fourteeners. Instead, they were packing their bags to head back, and asked me about hot springs in the area.
As I made my way higher and higher, I was forced to put on snowshoes after post-holing up to my waist in some drifts.
I reached the saddle between Mountains Democrat and Lincoln around 10am. I climbed Mt. Democrat in July of 2012 with ambitions of summiting all three peaks, but at the summit you could smell ozone in the air and the hair on my arms started sticking straight up. Not wanting to die of a lightning strike just then, we decided to bolt back to this saddle with only one peak under our belts. I've still never seen Brennen move so fast in my life.
From the saddle at just over 13,000 feet, it was a straight haul up to Mt. Cameron, a sub-peak of Mt. Lincoln. From there, it was a hike along a very windy exposed ridge to the small summit of Lincoln.
Your author - using a rock for a tripod - at the summit of Mt. Lincoln, 14,295'. It was just before noon, my turnaround time.
At the summit, I tried to make contacts on my ham radio, but nobody was listening. I forgot to post to sotawatch, so I'm not surprised. It's also pretty desolate in the area - not many active hams on a lazy Saturday morning!
I climbed back down the ridge, and on to the other saddle that connects Mt. Lincoln to Mt. Bross. There was a great view looking back at the dual summit of Lincoln, and of the plateau that is Cameron in front.
The summit of Mt. Bross is on private property - please don't tell!
Looking back to the trail up Mt. Democrat
Trespassing on the summit of Mt. Bross, 14,177'. My gloves are sticking straight out from the wind. It was quite chilly!
On the descent, coming over a small ridge, I scared 18 bighorn sheep who were milling about. I had just enough time to react to run down a few steps over the ridge and get this snapshot of them all running away from me.
I descended a steep ridge back to the summer trailhead, and then continued the three miles back to my car. The 10% chance of snow started in after me, and I snapped this last shot before Mt. Democrat was fully engulfed by the weather.