The Mosquito Range

Date

Apr 9 - aug 13, 2022

Location

Colorado, USA

The Mosquito Range is probably the easiest 14,000 ft range in Colorado and consists of 85 named peaks; out of which there are 5 official 14ers; Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, Quandary, and Sherman. Its easy access from both Denver and Breckenridge and its easier class 1 and class 2 climbs made it a great starting point to tackle some of Colorado’s famous 14K peaks.

Date

Apr 9 - aug 13, 2022

Location

Colorado, USA

The Mosquito Range is probably the easiest 14,000 ft range in Colorado and consists of 85 named peaks; out of which there are 5 official 14ers; Lincoln, Democrat, Bross, Quandary, and Sherman. Its easy access from both Denver and Breckenridge and its easier class 1 and class 2 climbs made it a great starting point to tackle some of Colorado’s famous 14K peaks.

ABOVE: The hike from Mount Lincoln to Bross on the Decalibron route

April 9, 2022

Quandary Peak

There really aren’t any “easy” 14ers in Colorado. Just varying levels of difficulty. This was my second attempt at Quandary Peak (14,265 ft) during this initial trip to Colorado. I first tried Tuesday 3/29 but had to turn back about a mile from the summit due to horrible visibility and high winds. I’m glad I did and returned on a clear day because the views from the top are amazing. The last mile or so was a slow vertical climb into a 20/30mph headwind. Totally wiped. Micros probably would have been sufficient but I’m glad I took the crampons. The snowshoes were not needed and just went for a ride on the pack. Loads of skiers at the top and I really want to return to ski this one. The snow really softened up on the way down from the afternoon sun above the treeline. 

7.2 miles / 3,330 ft / 6 hours (8:20am - 2:20pm) / 23 degrees / 20-35mph winds

August 13, 2022

The Decalibron

I met back up with Matt and Ashley on the Stuck in a Big Blue Truck road trip in Silverthorne on Friday afternoon. They had been making their way through the Rockies from North to South and this was the last big hikes of the trip. We headed to Outer Range brewing and after a few IPAs decided to go big the following morning and hike the Decalibron. 

We set off around 6:20am and arrived to a very crowded parking lot around 7:30am. There were loads of people already on the mountain. After being handed a parking slip by a friendly stranger we were paid our $5 parking fee… something we would be grateful for post-climb as we saw the tickets on all the other cars. The road was bumpy and it was surprising some of the sedans could even make it to the trailhead lot. 

We had to park on a narrow dirt road about .75 miles short of the trail head so we’d be tacking on a bit of distance. There wasn’t a single tree in sight for the entirety of the climb and we could see the entire ridge-line we were about to climb up and around. It was a bit intimidating as we started up the incline to Mount Democrat (14,155) and elevation (and beers) began to set in. I had covid a few weeks prior so I was hoping and praying my lungs wouldn’t explode.

ABOVE: Views from our ascent up Mount Democrat, the first of the 14ers we summited on the Decalibron loop.

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.

ABOVE: Photos from our traverse over Mt Cameron to Mt Lincoln and then back around to Mt Bross. The second to last photo is Mt Bross and the last photo is the side of Mt Lincoln.

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