We saw a very muscular mountain goat as we weaved along the switchbacks up Democrat but it didn’t seem to care about the hundreds of people that were hiking around it. The trail was crowded and there were numerous traffic jams as we hit the final steep, rocky ascent to the top. We summited in good time and enjoyed our apples before we made our way back down the loose, rocky trail only to ascend back up Mount Cameron (14,238).
We were all feeling good as we began one of the toughest portions of the day, the ~800ft climb up Mount Cameron. We trudged up the trail and found a fairly flat, wide summit with plenty of space to stretch out. We enjoyed a new view and could see Mt Lincoln (14,293) right next door. Fun fact: As expected Mount Lincoln is named after President Abraham Lincoln. The Democrats were upset that Lincoln, a Republican, had a mountain claimed as his namesake so they claimed Mount Democrat their own.
At this point all the day’s climbing was pretty much complete. We crossed across Mt Cameron and out to Mt Lincoln pretty quickly.
The rock we walked on gradually changed from gray to red and the summit of Mt Lincoln was a crowded point. Throughout the whole hike we saw loads of dilapidated old, wooden mining outposts on the side of the mountains.
We quickly made our way back down Lincoln, ate our PB&Js on the ridgeline, and cut back across the side of Cameron to ascend up Mt Bross (14,172). The summit of Bross is technically privately owned so you are not supposed to climb to the top, but instead follow the ridgeline around just below the summit. I admit I don’t know the whole story but I really don’t understand how a single person can own the top of a mountain like this one. Regardless of the private ownership, loads of groups climbed to the top anyways but we bypassed the summit to avoid trespassing.
The Alltrails reviews made it seem like the descent down Bross was a death trap but it really wasn't that bad and I regretted lugging my poles up and over all of these mountains. It was certainly steep with some loose rock but we slid, stepped, and jumped our way back down to the base of the mountains. It felt great crossing the meadow again at the very end of the hike and swapping into flip flops at the car. We made the obligatory stop at Breckenridge Brewery for some sustenance on the way back home.
8.54 miles / 3,500 ft / 6:23 hours (7:30am start) / 64 degrees / 5-7mph winds