Peak(s):  Mt. Buckskin  -  13,865 feet
Loveland Mountain  -  13,692 feet
Date Posted:  09/21/2015
Date Climbed:   09/08/2015
Author:  rob runkle
 Mount Buckskin, NW Buckskin and Mount Loveland   

See all Pictures HERE

On my final day of climbing, I needed something quick, short, and reasonably close to Denver. I was planning on climbing in the morning, then flying out in the evening. I ultimately picked Mount Buckskin. Buckskin was near the Democrat group (Kite Lake) and not too far from Denver. I drove up the Kite Lake Road the night before, in order ro check out the trail head. After checking out the trail head, I decided that I want to start lower. I wanted to be able to gain more elevation during my climb. If I started at Kite Lake, the elevation gain would have only been a little under 2,000 feet. By driving down the road a little over a mile, I was pretty sure that I would get closer to 3,000 feet of elevation gain. I started near the Sweet Home Mine at around 11,340 feet. I found a great camping spot just off the side road. Just as you pass the mine look towards the right and there's a small road to go to the right. The time I was there, there were at least three very small camping spots, all three had fire pits. There wasn't' enough room to comfortably pitch my tent, so I slept in the SUV again.

I got up and got started around 6:20 in the morning. I made great progress up the road. I took a quick break at the Kite Lake trail head. At that point, I checked my watch. I had walked 1.25 miles, in 20 minutes. After a short break, I started left up towards Buckskin. The Buckskin trail starts by initially following the Emma Lake trail. After about 0.4 mile - before you get to Emma Lake - you need to leave the trail and cut across the basin to the base a Buckskin. Once I got to the base of Buckskin my target was a noticeable power pole. There was a string of power poles that went up and over the Buckskin saddle. Within that string of poles, there was one particular set that had three vertical poles. The rest of the string were all double poles. This gave me a great target. Once I got up to the triple pole I cut left towards the base of the Buckskin saddle. It was long and grueling but I made good progress. I didn't have to stop often and it was just a matter of going upward, upward, upward.
Starting up the Emma Lake trail
Buckskin from the basin
Triple Pole

The route of towards the saddle was mostly grass, with some mixed rocky sections. As I got closer to the saddle, it got a little bit rockier. I was able to make it onto the ridge in just under 1.5 hours. Once I gained the ridge, I quickly ran over to the Buckskin summit. At this point, I was feeling great. I had climbed close to 3,000 feet in around 2 hours. Not bad for a "flat lander." After reaching the summit of Buckskin, I decided that I wanted to go ahead and grab the northwest summit of Buckskin also. I spent under 10 minutes on Buckskin, then started running over towards the northwest summit. I was able to get over to the northwest summit is around 8 minutes. I spent another 6 minutes on the northwest summit, then cruised back t the main summit in another 8 minutes. I was enjoying the ridge running, and felt great.
Loveland from Buckskin
Me on NW Buckskin with Loveland and Buckskin in the background
Democrat from NW Buckskin

I had contemplated the idea of running over to Mount Loveland also. Actually, my initial intent was to climb Mount Loveland first, from the Sweet Home Mine. But, there were so many "no trespassing" signs down at the mine, that I decided to just head up to Kite Lake instead. But, I was going great for time, and felt that I could easily run out to Loveland and back. So, as I left Buckskin, I started towards Loveland. I was able to make good progress towards Loveland. Every time I looked over at Loveland, it looked so far away. The terrain along this ridge was easy class 2. I was able to run for a large portion of the ridge. I was able to make the summit of Loveland 20 minutes after leaving Buckskin.
Democrat from Loveland

At this point, I was starting to approach 3 hours from the trail head. I was making good time, and I still thought that I might be able to get back to the car in 4 hours total. I left Loveland, and started back towards the Buckskin saddle. Once I reached the saddle, I went up the Buckskin ridge maybe 100 feet, then turned right, and headed back down towards Kite Lake. I was feeling strong on the descent, and was moving pretty fast. I got back down to the triple pole, then the lower basin, and back to the Emma Lake trail. I made it back to Kite Lake in just over 50 minutes. From the lake, I ran down the road. I made quick progress on the road, running a large amount, and made it back to the car in 15 minutes from the Lake. Total round trip was right on 4 hours.

Overall my final day was outstanding. I was a quick peak, but I was able to get two additional sub peaks. It felt great to finish strong. Round-trip was about 6.2 miles, and about 3,200 feet of elevation gain. It took me almost exactly 4 hours round-trip. Overall this is a great trip,. After the first day, I was unsure ever want to finish anymore centennials. But by the second day, and even more after the third and forth days, I was very glad that I came.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
That was a blurr!
09/22/2015 15:02
You did all that way too fast Dude! I could see Buckskin through the gap between Dem and Cam, so I was looking out for you while on Quandary! I saw this flash of light going up and down Buckskin!

Wintery Climb!
03/11/2016 13:37
I'm going to go do this route Sunday but follow the ridge proper almost from town. Should be a douzy!

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