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My second day of tagging Colorado 14ers saw me in the Breckenridge area, tagging five summits over the course of the day. Four of these 14ers are part of the Lincoln Group and can be combined in a loop hike of 7.5mi and 3,400ft of gain. I managed to finish this before 10a, so headed over to hike Quandary Peak as a sort of bonus, a peak I thought I would have to save for another year. It added another 6mi and 3,300ft of gain, so combined they made for a pretty solid day.
At the saddle I turned left and climbed the remaining 800ft in another 20min. The sun briefly shone as I approached the summit, but it would disappear again before I left the top. The trail was busy as I passed more than a dozen parties. The summit was even busier, it seemed, with folks lolling about all over the place. I know, this is what CO 14ers are all about, but it did little for me and I left after pausing only long enough to take a few pictures of the surrounding views. I returned to the saddle and then continued on the other trail fork that climbs Mt. Cameron's Southwest Ridge. The trail continued to be in good shape all the way to the summit (Cameron has little prominence and probably shouldn't be considered a valid 14er, but I don't make the rules) where the flattish top made for poor views. I continued northeast over the summit to the highpoint of the group, Mt. Lincoln, which also happens to be the highpoint of Park County and a P2K. There were several benchmarks at the summit but no register (none of the day's peaks had one - perhaps registers have become passe on 14ers?) I did find a small cardboard sign with Mt. Lincoln, the date and elevation written on it. I would find another of these on the summit of Quandary. I didn't realize this was "a thing" to do, make a sign to show with your 14er selfie, then sharing it on social media. Seems the signs might get passed to another summit party and eventually finding no one to pass it on to, it gets tucked under a rock. Funny and sad at the same time. There's a whole 14er.com circle jerk about these (that was one of the poster's term, not mine).
I headed back off Lincoln towards Cameron, skirting the summit on its east side to head south towards Mt. Bross. I was surprised to see a sign indicating the summit trail to Bross is closed. The sign looked somewhat old, but admittedly I did no research on this beforehand. I had thought Culebra was the only closed CO 14er, but if I had looked at any of the usual places (14ers.com, SummitPost, etc) I would have found that indeed the summit of Bross is officially closed to the public. Oh well. I continued towards the summit, stopping to check out an old red pickup that has been left to disintegrate on the ridgeline. Evidently there is a 4WD track that can be driven to near Bross's summit. How did I not know about this?
At Bross's summit I found a pair of ladies hunkering behind one of the rock windsceens to avoid the biting wind blowing over the summit. Bross's summit is the worst of the lot, just too large and flat to offer decent views despite its high elevation. I headed southwest off the summit, descending the trail that would return to Kite Lake. This trail section was the worst of those I traveled today. It is steep and loose and more resembling a use trail in places than a maintained one. I suspect the Bross access issues has kept folks from improving this trail. It might be better to travel it uphill rather than the downhill direction I used. Once off the west side of Bross, the trail improves as it crosses the lovely meadows that occupy the middle parts of the Buckskin Creek drainage. It was only when I got back to the start that I saw the less-ambiguous sign regarding Bross's access status - I had missed this in the morning when I had started out. I was surprised to find that it was only 9:45a when I got back to the jeep, a good workout but hardly enough to call it a day.
There is a short, flattish section about 2/3 of the way up, that makes for a relaxing respite before the final climb up the rocky ridge. Thank goodness for the trail, otherwise this would be a pretty tedious exercise. I reached the summit around 12:10p, just shy of two hours from the start. Like the other 14er summits, this one was pretty busy too, so I stayed only a few minutes before starting down. It would take about an hour and 20min to make my way back down the same trail and I was a little surprised to see folks still heading up even when I was nearing the trailhead. As it turned out, the sky mostly cleared in the late afternoon, so this would have been a good day for a late afternoon climb, unusually. The trailhead was busy upon my return, with faster folks waiting around for their slower companions. One large SUV was parked right at the trail's start with the doors open, perhaps to allow one of their party to take as few extra steps as needed after exiting the trail.
I drove a short distance up the road where things were quieter and found a place to shower before returning to Breckenridge for the afternoon. Five 14ers and done before 1:30p - pretty good numbers, but unlikely to be repeated on the rest of this trip...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Democrat - Mt. Cameron - Mt. Lincoln - Mt. Bross
This page last updated: Mon May 3 22:26:33 2021
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