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Mount Democrat, Colorado
July 2, 1999
14,148 feet

Map of route from Kite Lake to Mount Democrat
Abandoned mine shack
Abandoned mine shack above Kite Lake
Democrat-Cameron Saddle
Rich on the saddle between Democrat and Cameron
Democrat east ridge
Rich on the east ridge of Democrat
Rich Wendling and Dennis Zickefoose
Rich Wendling and Dennis Zickefoose on the summit of Mount Democrat
Rich Wendling
Rich on the summit of Democrat
Mount Cameron
Mount Cameron from Mount Democrat
Mount Bross
Mount Bross from Mount Democrat
Snowfield at the saddle between Democrat and Cameron
Mount Democrat
Mount Democrat from below Lake Emma.
Due to work schedules, starting a family, and other factors, I haven't had many opportunities to do any climbing in quite a while. I finally decided, the heck with it, I'm going back to Colorado. I had gained quite a bit of weight since the last trip (note the picture) so I chose a fairly easy climb. My best friend Dennis came with me on this trip. He had never climbed a mountain before. On July 1, we drove from Fort Worth to Kite Lake, which is at the foot of Democrat, Bross, and Cameron. There was still a lot of snow the next morning as we began our ascent, so we couldn't follow the trail the entire way.

We climbed the first little bit to an old mine shack at about 12,400 feet. What amazed me was how the miners had tunneled into the side of a rather shear cliff, about 350 feet up the side. It must have been rather treacherous to traverse over to the mine every morning on their way to work. And I thought my commute was bad!

At about 13,400 feet, we came to the saddle between Democrat to the west and Cameron to the northeast. Our original plan was to do Democrat first, then do Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. However, I discovered that being 40 pounds overweight made it a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The ridge from the saddle up to the summit of Democrat is very rocky with no real trail - the trail that did exist to the south of the summit was rather icy - so it was a rather tough climb for two out-of-shape flatlanders. Dennis did better than I did. When we returned to the saddle after reaching the summit, we decided to call it a day, and went back to camp rather than bagging all four peaks. I guess that gives us a reason to go back some time.

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