Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,154 feet
Date Posted:  07/15/2012
Date Climbed:   07/14/2012
Author:  emohr
Additional Members:   BTort
 DeCaLiBron - CaLiBron = De   

Another weekend, another 14er trip. Brandon and I thought DeCaLiBron would be a good warm up before we do Sneffles on Monday.

There were easily 100-200 people on that loop that day. We walked for 5 minutes up the road because parking went so far back. Definitely a popular hike, but a great way to meet other mountain enthusiasts

The Crew we assembled

Some flora near the trailhead

One of my favorite flowers in Colorado

The trail on the way up

Flowers along the trail

We made it to the top of Democrat in a little less than an hour and a half. We shared our Which Wich bags and talked to a few people on the summit. We could see some clouds off to the West, but weren't too intimidated.

Garret's 2nd 14er

#2 for Garrett, #8 for Brandon, repeat for me, #7 for Ben

Looking to the North and Quandry

We came down Democrat and were headed up the ridge to get to Cameron and we could start to see some clouds form over Democrat. We still weren't too worried about it because the weather report said there wasn't supposed to be any weather till the late afternoon.

The Storm

Kite Lake and the basin

Still happy, still dry

Ben took quite the fall!

We were just about on top of Cameron when the cloud was right overhead, and I could hear this weird buzzing noise. Brandon just thought it was his kite bag releasing air from the pressure difference, so we didn't think anything of it. But then Brandon started walking away from me, and I could still hear the buzzing. Then I felt my hair and it was sticking up. Apparently the static electricity in the air was pretty strong and making some sort of connection with my rain jacket hood. I've read "Colorado 14er Disasters" and didn't wanna take any chances, so we started sprinting off the ridge to look for some cover under some rocks. I normally wouldn't have a problem with waiting for a storm to pass while were hidden under some rocks, but just recently heard a story about a woman who hid under some rocks during a storm a couple years ago, and actually died from the rock slipping on her because of all the moisture.

All the girls/women that walked by us all had their hair standing on end from all the static. An extremely eerie sight

So we waited for about 15 minutes and realized that storm wasn't going anywhere. We realized we were just going to have to make a run for it and try and get off that high ridge as soon as possible. Luckily we were 4 in shape guys that run all the time, so sprinting down wasn't a problem.... Just kidding. We were definitely out of shape and were suckin for air the whole way down

Hunkering down under some rocks to avoid the storm

The sprint on the way down

Last blue sky we would see

Kite Man with his kites and Kite Lake

Buckskin Mountain (?) covered with fresh hail

Luckily we made it to the saddle between Democrat and Lincoln, and hiked the rest of the way down with another group that was coming down.

It amazes me that 200 to 300 people can be on a mountain that has a thunderstorm and no one gets hurt. We were very fortunate we didn't have any serious injuries like death by lightning or any minor injuries like slipping on the wet rocks and twisting an ankle.

This was probably the scariest 14er moment I've had since I've began and learned quite a bit from it. Hopefully we learned enough to stay alive for a couple more years

Now on to Sneffles with my new knowledge of safety and precaution!

Stay Thirsty My Friends

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Glad you're safe
07/15/2012 17:29
I learned that same lesson for myself this year too. If you survive, it's good to experience!

Doctor No
Great that you made it down safe
07/15/2012 20:11
Knowing the weather report is a good thing, but it's better to practice reading the weather while you're out there.

We were there too!
07/25/2012 02:06
My family (including my 12 and 10 year old sons!) Made the same trip. We were able to make all 4 summits and found ourselves on the summit of Mt.Bross when the storm rolled in. I could not help them put on thier rain gear because of all the electricity! It was by far the most terrifying decent I have ever experienced! My 10 year old flew down the Mt. in tears and was quickly out of site. The trail was more of a muddy rock slide than a trail! I was also suprised that there were no injuries on the trails that day! We will always watch the weather a little closer from now on!
Smith Family from Castle Rock, CO

07/25/2012 02:47
Yeah, I'm slowly starting to figure out that the weather reports in Colorado have no real meaning. Reading the weather is the best way to keep track of it

And I'm glad to hear the Smith Family was okay too! I could have sworn I was going to be hit by lightning or slip on the muddy trail. It was pretty fortunate there weren't any injuries that day

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