Mount Democrat: 4312 m (14,148 ft)
The Lincoln Group consists of four fourteeners, including three that surround a cirque. It's not a popular destination, which is one reason why Dinah and I chose it. We encountered only three people on the trip. Although it's a short hike, we enjoyed the scenery. The only challenge was doing all the peaks without placing ourselves in jeopardy of a thunderstorm. Two thunderstorms passed close by, but we only received a bit of rain.
Although the elevation gain was less than 700 m from trailhead to the highest point, the total gain including losses over 50 ft was 1100 m.
We started up Mount Democrat in temperatures colder than normal for this time of the year. We followed the trail going to the saddle between Mounts Democrat and Cameron, but we soon left it to scramble directly up Democrat. It was a chilly 5°C on the top. After a short stay, we dropped to the saddle and hiked up Mount Cameron.
Although Mount Cameron is over 14,000 feet it's not considered a fourteener. According to the book "Colorado Fourteeners" it rises only 157 ft above a connecting saddle with another peak. To be an official fourteener a mountain must be 300 feet above the connecting saddle.
(For purists, the goal is not only climbing all the fourteeners, but gaining 3,000 feet [914 m] on each one. In the case of Lincoln, Democrat and Bross one would have to start 1,000 feet below Kite Lake to bag just one of the peaks. And then do two more trips to bag the the other two.)
From Cameron, Lincoln is an out-and-back trip. After taking some photos on the summit, we returned to Cameron and continued on to Bross. The top of Mount Bross is even broader and flatter than that of Mount Cameron. We could see another storm coming in so we hastened down the trail back to the car.
At the car we talked to a woman and her son. He told us about a friend who had difficulty with the altitude when she arrived in Colorado from Australia. Instead of taking the time to acclimatize, she immediately went hiking. She became so ill that she ended up in the hospital hooked up to oxygen.
Mounts Bross and Lincoln seen from the highway at Hoosier Pass
Mount Democrat from the trailhead. Trail leads right but we left it to ascend the right skyline ridge.
The orange scree is a mining scar. Mount Democrat is on the left.
Kite Lake takes its name after its shape
Pika sightings are far more common in the Colorado mountains than in the Canadian Rockies
Trudging to the summit of Democrat
Mount Bross in the background
On the summit of Democrat
Below the summit we get back on the trail. Mounts Lincoln and Cameron on the left.
The top of Cameron hardly looks like a summit!
Quandary Peak was nearby
A worn trail leads to the summit
On the summit of Mount Lincoln
Heading to Mount Bross
Looking back at Cameron and Lincoln
On the summit of Mount Bross
The summit is incredibly flat
Starting down from Mount Bross
Heading back down to the trailhead
Climax and Alma 1:24,000 Topos (7.0 mi, 14,284 ft, 2,251 ft)