Decalibron Standard Route Guide

The Decalibron consists of four 14ers: Mt Democrat, Mt Cameron, Mt Lincoln and Mt Bross. It’s the one spot in Colorado you can climb four 14ers in a single day, if conditions and luck allows. Here’s my Decalibron Standard Route Guide with everything you need to know to safely and successfully summit these peaks.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Decalibron Fast Facts

  • Standard Route: Kite Lake Route
  • Trailhead: Kite Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 3,700 feet
  • Round-Trip Distance: 7.25 Miles
  • Difficulty Level: Class 2 Scramble
  • Range: Mosquito Range

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Start your trip at the Kite Lake trailhead – it’s a rocky road but most 2WD vehicles can make it (I once managed it in a prius!). Head north along the lake, towards the Democrat-Cameron saddle. You’ll climb a series of moraines up to the saddle, passing several historic mining structures on the way. These are dangerous ruins, so enjoy them from the trail to stay safe.

RELATED READ: PREPARING FOR A 14ER CLIMB LIKE AN EAGLE SCOUT

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Park at the Kite Lake Trailhead and head north along the lake’s shoreline. You’ll take a hard left before you head into a more rugged section of switchbacks. Your aim is the saddle between Mount Democrat to your left, and Mount Cameron to the right. Pass by a small prospector’s hole just before reaching the saddle.

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Pause to catch your breath if you need to, before turning left to ascend Democrat’s north slope. The trail here is rugged, switchbacking up the mountain through boulders and rocks. Take your time and mind your step. Be wary of a false summit here, as you still have a short bit to go beyond what looks like the summit.

RELATED READ: BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HIKING 14ERS

Once you’ve tagged Mt Democrat you can turn your attention to Cameron and Lincoln. Head down to the saddle the same way you ascended, and head up the ridge towards Mt Cameron. There may be snow and a cornice if you are hiking early in the year. Cameron has a very broad, flat summit, and can get extremely windy.

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Here you can see the route from Cameron on to the top of Mt Lincoln. This is a more rugged peak, with a little scrambling required to reach the summit. From the top, look north for a gorgeous view of Quandary Peak. Head back towards Mt Cameron before turning left to bypass its summit. Head towards the Cameron-Bross Summit.

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Mt Bross is your last remaining peak, but it lies on private property. If you choose to summit it, you can make a diversion from the trail below it, or just take the ridge proper the entire way up. There’s a small rock wall at the top for getting out of the wind, if need be.

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

The path down Mt Bross is notorious for its steep profile and slippery, loose scree (pebbles and small rocks). When hiking down, they come loose repeatedly and act like marbles. Some people advocate climbing this section first, and descending from Democrat, to mitigate the issue. You can make the choice – just follow this route guide in reverse.

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Along the route down, you’ll eventually take a sharp left to move across a gully, before continuing straight down its side. Be careful you don’t cross too early and get into more difficult terrain. If you need more information, check out the route guide on 14ers.com and summitpost.com. I hope you enjoyed my Decalibron Standard Route Guide!

RELATED READ: WE SCREWED UP SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO – 10 TIPS FROM 14ER VETERANS

Decalibron Standard Route Guide

Decalibron Weather Forecast

Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

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About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.