DeCaLiBron: Four 14ers in Under Four Hours

My final day in Colorado was 7/9/15 – coincidentally, Allison and I’s five year wedding anniversary. My plan was to climb as many 14,000′ mountains as possible, in as little time as possible. The obvious choice was the ever-popular “DeCaLiBron” route. The loop includes Mt. Democrat (14,155′), Mt. Cameron (14,238′), Mt. Lincoln (14,293′), and Mt. Bross (14,177′).

In order to avoid the inevitable crowds, I started from the trailhead at 4:00 am. My goal was to finish in under four hours, and with some energetic climbing and occasional ridge-running, I eventually made it back to my car with a time of 3 hours 58 minutes.

For what it’s worth, the access road was fairly rough. I was able to reach the trailhead with our Honda Fit, but only with a little…um…creativity. When I returned later in the morning, all the other vehicles at the trailhead were Jeeps and trucks, and a string of cars and vans could be seen parked about a half mile further down the road.

Pre-dawn light from the Mt. Democrat summit ridge

Pre-dawn light from the Mt. Democrat summit ridge.

Like most people, I opted to do the loop clockwise, starting with Mt. Democrat. I reached the summit in a little under 90 minutes, and stopped for a short snack & coffee break while I watched the sunrise. The early start paid off, as I had the mountain completely to myself.

Sunrise view from Mt. Democrat.

Sunrise view from Mt. Democrat.

Retracing my steps across Mt. Democrat's snowfield.

Retracing my steps across Mt. Democrat’s snowfield.

When I made it back to the Democrat-Cameron saddle, a large caravan of hikers could be seen leaving the trailhead. Not to beat a dead horse, but if you want to make the most of this hike I strongly recommend starting early.

View of Mt. Cameron from the lower slopes of Mt. Democrat.

View of Mt. Cameron from the lower slopes of Mt. Democrat.

From the saddle, the climb to the top of Mt. Cameron was short and straightforward. It’s a very exposed ridge, and the wind was gusting at 50+ mph.

Approaching the Cameron-Lincoln saddle.

Approaching the Cameron-Lincoln saddle.

Another look at Mt. Lincoln.

Another look at Mt. Lincoln.

Mt. Lincoln was another short climb, with only one short section requiring me to use my hands.

Mt. Lincoln summit.

Mt. Lincoln summit.

Lincoln summit ridge

Lincoln summit ridge

From Lincoln, the route to Bross involved a long, broad ridgeline. In order to “cancel out” a few of my snack breaks, I jogged it at about a 9:00/mile pace.

Ridge leading to Mt. Bross.

Ridge leading to Mt. Bross.

Seeing that I was cutting it close on the 4 hour goal, I ended up jogging most of the way down Bross as well. Here’s another picture outlining much of the route (in red):

View from the slopes of Mt. Bross. Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Lincoln can be seen (L to R).

View from the slopes of Mt. Bross…Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Lincoln can be seen (L to R).

The end of the hike meant the end of the trip. I spent the rest of the day driving to Omaha, Nebraska, where I stayed the night with my aunt and uncle before picking Allison & Micah up at O’Hare airport the next day.

Advertisements
Published in: on July 19, 2015 at 10:12 pm  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mattandallison.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/decalibron-four-14ers-in-under-four-hours/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Doubt I’ll be climbing any mountains in the near future but looking forward to driving to Mt. Carmel sometime soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: