Ascent of Mount Lincoln on 2019-10-05

Climber: Jeremy Fuerst

Date:Saturday, October 5, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lincoln
    Elevation:14286 ft / 4354 m

Ascent Trip Report

The last mile of the road was pretty rough, so I was glad to have the borrowed 4Runner for its clearance. However while more equipped vehicles were parked farther down the road, I saw a couple Priuses (Prii?) parked all the way at the Kite Lake Trailhead. So it is really your call.

It was a quite late start for me as I drove in from Denver after completing my responsibilities with GABF. I did not hit the trail until mid-afternoon, though I came prepared to finish in the dark.

It is pretty neat to arrive at a trailhead so close to such a high mountain town -- and to be able to see much of the route from one's car besides. Although there is not much elevation gain involved here since the TH is at 12k feet (I only logged 3400 total feet in gain), I can say I was huffing and puffing a little bit more due to the height above my sea-level home. I find it odd how Coloradans count their so-called 14ers; it seems in many other regions 3 of these summits would be considered sub-peaks. Regardless it was a nice little walk -- at least while the sun shone.

I met a handful of folks descending as I headed up toward Democrat. Whether they had completed the full DeCaLiBron or only did a portion, I do not know. At least 3 folks hit the trail after me, though they appear to have only hit Democrat before descending.

Just a note while I mention those few whom I encountered: PLEASE DO NOT PLAY MUSIC ON YOUR EXTERNAL SPEAKER. I know I have made my own exceptions when traveling with my dogs in isolated grizzly country, but come on, man, use some good sense and courtesy FFS.

I hit the summit of Democrat in 90 minutes and only briefly enjoyed the views and texted my wife an update before heading off to Cameron. I found neither summit register nor benchmark; only a cardboard sign under a rock for folks to take their summit pics.

From the saddle and as I hit Cameron, the sun set and I saw relatively little. At Cameron I found the summit cairn but little else, and I did not really take the time to look.

The reason for my haste at this point is that just as soon as the sun set, the winds (which were already high) had picked up to gusts that were concerning. This was in spite of the forecast, which had called for high winds until early afternoon, when it was predicted they would slow considerably.

Lincoln was only a short walk from Cameron, so I headed on over with my headlamp on. There is only a small section of exposure toward the summit of Lincoln, but I would not classify it as more than a class 2 or 3 scramble. At the summit of Lincoln I did find the benchmark right away, along with another one of those cardboard signs under a rock. From the summit of Democrat to the summit of Lincoln was another 90-120 minutes (I did not check my watch).

From the summit of Lincoln I had a decision to make. The wind was approaching a force that was less than safe, but it was roughly equidistant back to the car if I continued to Bross to finish the circuit. With that in mind I decided to go for Bross, as none of the route faced much exposure.

The winds continued and even at my size and weight I had to brace against it. I estimate it reached 55-65 mph. So at the summit of Bross I did not linger but planted my feet firmly before immediately returning back the way I came.

My aim here was to return to a signpost I had seen shortly before the summit and descend via a gully in order to gain some windbreak. The trail from the summit of Bross appears to follow a ridgeline, and after nearly getting blown off my feet at the summit of Bross, I decided it was time to mitigate the wind as much as possible.

It turns out this gully sees its share of traffic, or at least it had at one time. A trail was apparent for most of the descent with little route-finding necessary. Some cairns were even still in place. Only 100 yards across a hardened snow patch required caution; the rest of the route was straightforward and about 800 feet above the trailhead, I linked back up with the main route.

I should say even in the gully the wind continued to be a factor at times. Although there were still a number of vehicles at the trailhead, I saw no lights as I descended, so I cannot say for sure where people were camping. It certainly was not a night I would have cared to spend in my tent, having earned rips and a broken pole in high winds in the past myself.

I was glad to get back to the vehicle, where the wind continued to batter me even as I reached Buena Vista. I'd had designs for Harvard the following day, but I was just too beat from the previous week and the wind showed no signs of dying down.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Very Windy, Clear

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