Thursday night around 10:30 pm Andrew says to me “Oh wait you’re off tomorrow too? What should we do?” In a matter of about 30 minutes we decided to go hike. At about 11:00 pm I realized I needed to throw laundry in the washer so I had clothes to wear hiking.
4:50 am rolls around and my alarm goes off. As usual, I contemplate turning off my alarm and going back to sleep before actually rolling out of bed. I’m quickly rewarded for getting out of bed early and heading to the mountains. The road to Alma is beautiful, I watch the sunrise and see signs of Fall all around me.
We arrive in the parking lot of the Decalibron around 7 am, later then most hikes we do, but because it’s Fall and the chance of afternoon storms is less likely. The Decalibron consists of: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Cameron (which isn’t a ranked 14er) and Mt. Bross (which is technically closed). The first 14er Andrew and I ever did together was Mt. Democrat so we were just in it for the other three. It was the perfect day to test out gear for Outdoor Gear TV, see Fall foliage and get a hike in. One of my favorite parts, finding a little snow near 14,000′.
Oh how I love hiking in the Fall.
I’m keeping this TR short and simple. The Decalibron is considered “easy” but I’d say it’s more straight forward than easy. I don’t believe any 14er is “easy.” I figured that out my first year in Colorado, when I strolled on to Mt. Sherman with improper gear, snow on the ground and a storm blowing in. Even the “easy” 14ers require a set of skills.
I wouldn’t mess with these particular 14ers in the winter, without knowledge of the terrain, because of the old mining shafts that are right off the trail and easily covered by snow. If there had been more snow on the descent of Mt. Bross, it would have been steep and slippery. Instead if was steep with loose scree. If you have knees like I do, they’ll probably be mad at you during descent. Trekking poles were my best friend on the way down.
Mt. Bross: From what I could tell, the closures weren’t stopping anyone from hiking to the summit of Mt. Bross. (Let’s just say I got my fifteenth summit in.) The strange part about the closures is that the trail is open up to about 13,600′ and only the summit is “closed.” I don’t know the consequences of getting caught or how much it’s enforced but I’d suggest that if you’re going to hike to the summit just be safe and respectful.
From Alma the total amount of elevation gain for all four 14ers is 3,700′ with a total distance of 7.25 miles.