Mosquito Range

31 July 2015

I think I liked Sherman better than Antero, but only just. At least the old, broken down mine buildings were cool. They were my favorite part of this peak. That and being able to drive all the way to 12,000 feet in my little rig; that was sweet. I knew today would be easier than yesterday, so I opted to sleep in a bit this morning since I’d only gotten two hours the night before Huron and four hours last night. My body has had trouble keeping up the last few days; I figured a few extra hours of sleep couldn’t hurt my cause. I was almost wrong. I didn’t make great time today, despite the short, easy climb. It took me an hour and a half to cover just 2.75 miles. I was well-behind schedule when I topped out, but I wasn’t really worried so much as I was annoyed at my own complacency.

When I checked the weather en route to Kite Lake, the thunderstorms – which had been projected last night to roll in around 2pm today – were now projected to roll in at noon. Between being nearly an hour later than I would’ve liked and having my window cut by two hours, I was seriously considering skipping the Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln-Bross circuit. As I drove by the split, I figured I could at least head up to the trailhead and have a look.

When I arrived, the skies were a brilliant, clear blue. It was a promising sight, though I know how quickly things can change in the high country. And they did, quite quickly. As the trail switchbacked up toward Democrat, I kept a keen eye on the sky and watched the clouds build overhead. I figured I’d at least get one peak, then re-evaluate as I went along.

The photo above shows what I hiked into as I neared the summit. It was patchy but dark, thick. It took me 80 minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. The time was 1040a. With the weather building, I doubted my chances. Still, I figured I could at least get Cameron before I’d have to turn around. Democrat was by far the toughest climb today. Cameron was quite a bit easier, Lincoln even easier, and Bross was damn-near a gimme. The traverse just got easier as I went along.

The Cameron summit was unimpressive. I didn’t even stop; I just hiked right over it. Lincoln loomed so close I thought I might be able to jump it without so much as a running start, so I just allowed my already moving legs to carry me that way. And there was a bonus: the elevation drop was negligible. It was very nearly flat by fourteener standards until a short summit pitch.

There were clouds in all directions as far as I could see, but they were patchy and I hadn’t seen any lightning, so I cruised along to Lincoln, then Bross in rapid succession. Boom, four peaks before the first drop of rain. It was noon, and the weather had reported a 100% chance of rain by that time. Could the weather have been wrong in my favor for once? Nope. As I departed the final summit of the Mosquito Range, I felt a drop. Ok, here we go. Slow is smooth; smooth is fast. No rush. I picked my way down the long, steep – though fairly straightforward – ridge leading to the parking lot. It sprinkled for like ten minutes, and that was it. I guess the weather report wasn’t technically wrong, though it was a thankfully pitiable showing. I’ll count that as a win.

It took me four hours to climb as many peaks, though it’s really not all that impressive considering the 7.25 mile route. That’s fewer than two miles per hour. Ah well, I made it. That’ll do. Anyways, I just climbed 8 peaks in three days. I can take pride in that, regardless of pace.