These friendly peaks are close to Breckenridge and nowhere else in Colorado can you get so many 14’ers for so little effort. The Lincoln combination, also called The Decalibron, is a perfect ring around the cirque to bag three official 14’ers in addition to one named but not ranked 14’er (Mount Cameron).
I woke up in my tent close to Hoosier Pass south of Breckenridge. It was 06:30 when I started to drive the 10 kilometres (6 miles) to the small town of Alma. In the centre of this town I drove west on Park County 8 road for another 10 kilometres (6 miles) to reach Kite Lake and the trailhead at 3650 metres. The last kilometre was really steep and rough but I had no problems to drive here with my Jeep. I think that this stretch will be a challenge for many passenger cars.
There was a 3 dollars fee on the parking lot, but I could not see any signs about restrictions regarding public access to the area. The previous day I met a guy who told me that the company that owns the land here had officially closed all public access to Bross, Lincoln, and Democrat, the main reason being a hiker that sued the company for millions of dollars because of a hiking accident up in those mountains. This silly hiker is obviously making the situation worse for other hikers, and he/she should be banned from entering the mountains in the future, or until he/she starts to take responsibility for his/hers own actions.
But as I said, I could not see any evidence that this was closed territory. Instead I saw a lot of vehicles and even campers next to Kite Lake, maybe as much as 50 people on this Saturday morning.
My previous concerns about public access were not a worry anymore, when I started to hike up the east ridge of Democrat. And I started in a furious pace on the well-trodden trail, passing more than 20 people on my way to Mount Democrat. There was some kind of contest between me and this other guy to reach the summit first. I had heavier shoes and a substantially larger backpack, but despite of the handicap I finally “won”. I reached the summit in 1 hour and 5 minutes, but the contest had exhausted me.
After a 15 minutes break I started to descend to the saddle between Democrat and Cameron, and lost 250 metres in elevation before I started to hike up the west-ridge of Cameron. The furious pace I had earlier in the morning, seemed to have a bad impact on me as I struggled my way up to the summit of Cameron. Yes, I was dead meat already, and I had 2 summits left…..
I met 2 guys on the flat summit of Cameron. They were originally from Alaska, and we talked about all the similarities between Alaska and Norway, like fjords and glaciers.
Cameron is not an official 14’er, because it’s not rising high enough (>300 feet) above its highest saddle, so I continued northeast to nearby Mount Lincoln. There was a good trail on the ridge, and I ascended Lincoln in less than 20 minutes. The small summit plateau was rather crowded with human and dogs. After a while on the summit the two Alaskan guys also arrived. They told me that they had started 06:15, almost two hours before me.
The clouds started to build up and I feared a thunderstorm. I had spent too long time on the summit of Lincoln already, so I started to traverse back to Cameron, or actually underneath it to avoid gaining altitude. There was a broad trail all the way to Mount Bross, and to my surprise a Jeep was parked on the ridge as well.
By the time I reached the summit of Bross, most of the dark clouds had drifted away and I could enjoy some time on summit in tranquillity. When I started to leave, the two guys from Alaska arrived at Bross, and I said goodbye and told them to visit Norway some time in the future.
I chose the fastest way down from Bross via a scree gully. The poles prevented me from sliding and falling on the loose scree and I passed several people who really struggled in the steep gully. When I finally got back to my car, it started to rain. The thunderstorm started some few minutes later, and I felt sorry for all those people still on the mountain. I ate and rested for almost 1 hour in the car before I left Kite Lake. The weather had improved and the thunderstorm had left a white blanket of snow on the highest summits. What a beautiful sight.