Peak(s):  Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Cameron  -  14,238 feet
Mt. Democrat  -  14,148 feet
Mt. Bross  -  14,172 feet
Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Mt. Sherman  -  14,036 feet
Mt. Yale  -  14,196 feet
Mt. Shavano  -  14,229 feet
Tabeguache Peak  -  14,155 feet
San Luis Peak  -  14,014 feet
Date Posted:  09/03/2019
Date Climbed:   08/09/2019
Author:  texaseagle16
 10 Peaks in 7 Days   

Decided for a week long excursion from flat west Kansas to add some more 14ers to my list. I started with a drive up the rough road to Kite Lake to do the DeCaLiBron Loop and waking up the next morning for a 4AM start in the dark. I was on top of Democrat a little after 6AM, Cameron by 7AM, LIncoln around 8AM, and Bross some time after 9AM. The brutal downhill back to the parking lot is not to be taken lightly, and if I had to do it all over again, I would reverse the loop starting with Bross.

Mt. Democrat
Mt. Democrat Sunrise
Mt. Cameron
Clouds on Mt. Cameron
On way to Mt. Lincoln
Mt. Lincoln
Mt. Bross Truck
Mt. Bross

My next stop was making my way to the trailhead of Quandary Peak towards Breckenridge. I started the next morning around 430AM breaking treeline by dusk and on the east ridge for sunrise. I was on the summit a little after 7AM not spending too much time on top with clouds lowering to near the summit height. By the time I reached the east ridge again, the summit was not visibile due to the clouds anymore. On my way back down, I passed over 100 people on their way up with some not much above treeline. As I made my way below treeline, it started sprinkling before becoming a downpour once my truck was in sight. It was not much after 9AM at this point and given the rain, this is why I start so early in the dark, along with seeing some spectacular sunrises in my day.

Quandary Peak
Back down Quandary

I made my way to town in Breckenridge to grab a coke and more gatorades before heading towards the interstate in order to get around to the western slopes of Mt. Sherman outside of Leadville. It is sad to see the results of all the mining along Hwy 91 heading into Leadville and hope it doesn't expand more than it already has from the last time I came through here back in 2017. I made my way up to the Iowa Gulch Trailhead up a rough but not too bad road starting the next morning closer to 6AM due to a good rain not coming to an end until about 530AM. This was a very secluded route not seeing anyone until I reached the Sherman-Sheridan Saddle where the more popular Southwest Ridge route comes together. I was in the clouds up until this point but lifting as the sun rose higher in the horizon making for a clear view on the summit around 8AM. I was back at the truck around 930AM seeing only a few people coming up this route and a party at the trailhead just starting this late in the morning. I am not sure if there was any storms later on but I would not have been starting so late this time of year.

Mt. Sherman
Down the slopes back to Iowa Gulch

I then made a pit stop in Twin Lakes hoping for a nice lunch after eating many bag meals and trail food for a few days but the Inn was only doing dinner for during the week. After seeing some nice views across the lakes and of Mt. Elbert and La Plata Peak, I made way to Buena Vista to head for the Denny Creek Trailhead of Mt. Yale. I drove past to go up Cottonwood Pass for some nice views in which I saw, but with the construction, it did not make for a pleasant drive waiting for the pilot car along with the smell of fresh tar. I made my way back to the trailhead for dinner and get some early shut eye in the bed of the truck. I awoke early to get a 4AM start into the dark thinking I would be the first to leave. However, I did pass an older couple 30 minutes in who started even earlier, in which I would pass on my way back down. I was above treeline for another sunset before reaching the summit not much before 8AM. The class 2 route along the summit ridge after all the switchbacks can get dicey if not on the correct line, which is hard to do with not many cairns to follow. However, it isn't too hard to stay in the class 2 taking it slow and easy reaching my truck by 10AM.

Mt. Yale
Mt. Yale summit ridge

I made my way back to Buena Vista for another coke before heading down to Poncha Springs to reach the Shavano and Tabeguache Trailhead before some building storms released on the dirt road. It was a rough road but still very doable in my 2wd Chevy Silverado taking it slow and missing the biggest ruts along the way. Shortly after I reached the trailhead, it poured for about 15 minutes or so, so I am glad I made it before that happened. I started the next morning by 430AM and making the treeline for sunrise once again. I reached the saddle to see a heard of goats before making the summit by 8AM. After just a quick bite and drink, I made it to the summit of Tabeguache around 9AM before heading back to Shavano shortly after 10AM. Not an easy route to follow between the two with not many cairns visible and quite rough on the ankles. This slowed me down on my descent making it back to the truck almost 1PM. I was a little worn out by this point but had one more in San Luis on my radar before heading towards the east and the flatlands.

Sunrise up to Mt. Shavano
Looking down from the saddle of Mt. Shavano
Mt. Shavano
Tabeguache Peak
Shavano and Tabeguache trail sign

I drove over the Monarch Pass and nearly to Gunnison before turning south and onto a dirt road for about 30 miles to reach the Stewart Creek Trailhead. Not a bad road and even the two creek crossings were not bad either being low enough and the concrete bottoms. I was very secluded at this point with nobody around staying the night at the Eddiesville Trailhead to be next to the restrooms. I awoke late around 5AM not expecting to see anyone and not wanting to be too much in the dark not having anyone around going solo for the entire roundtrip. After taking my time to get ready, I was on foot by 6AM making my way through the marsh and thick trees. The trail was pretty overgrown getting quite wet due to the morning dew. I did come across footprints along the way but in the mud where it had hardened probably being a couple days at least of anyone using this trail. The trail up onto the saddle was quite pleasant and reached the summit just short of 10AM. With clear skies and not a cloud in sight, I stayed over 30 minutes on the summit to enjoy the view and stretch the legs. After a good amount of trail food and gatorade in my system, I started the long journey back to the truck making it back around 2PM. After a 13.5 mile round trip, the sky was still cloudless and still not a single person in sight. San Luis became my favorite of this trip mainly due to the seclusion I had after many miles of dirt road and even more along the trail.

Above treeline to San Luis Peak
From San Luis Peak summit ridge
Relaxing on San Luis Peak
San Luis
San Luis Peak saddle cairn
San Luis Peak trail sign

I then started my way around to Creede after probable 60 miles of dirt road driving this time. I had never driven through Creede and was quite the little town with beautiful views and hope to come back with at least an overnight stay next time. I was determined to make it as far as I could towards New Mexico south of Fort Garland in order to have a day excursion through the Enchanted Circle and of course Philmont Scout Ranch, where it all started for my love of the mountains back in my teenage years.

Rio Grande River

I slept in the cab in my truck this night just off the highway at the state line before waking to sunrise in order to see the views of the Rio Grande outside Questa. I then made my way through Red River and then to Eagle Nest before making my way through the great Cimarron Canyon where last year's fire decimated much of the land outside of Ute Park. I spent much of the rest of the day at Base Camp of Philmont before having my first real meal at the St. James Hotel for a good ole fashioned buffalo burger. After some souvenirs at the trading post and an ice cream at the parlor, I headed eastward looking over my should at the Tooth of Time Ridge and Arrowhead for good luck to be able to come back once again.

Cimarron, New Mexico
Tooth of Time at Philmont Scout Ranch
St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico

I soon reached the desolate plains of northeastern New Mexico to Clayton to see the grave of Blackjack Ketchum before heading to the northeast Texas marker off the highway towards Boise City, Oklahoma before making stops at the tripoints of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma as well as seeing a Santa Fe Trail marker along the Oklahoma and New Mexico state line before reaching the Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico tripoint close to the Oklahoma high point of Black Mesa, which I have already summited 3 different times now. I stopped for a coke in Boise City before heading off to the Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma tripoint hoping to get there before sunset. I was unsuccessful, but slept in the bed of my truck to catch sunrise at the tripoint before pointing my truck to the northeast for home into the open arms of my loving wife who allowed me to have my summer mountain trip even after such an unplanned and chaotic summer with getting the custody of our two nephews to add to the three already at home. I blessed and grateful to have had such an extraordinary trip that ended with every peak a success with no major injuries to speak of minus a couple minor blisters. After nearly 100 miles of hiking and almost 25,000 feet of elevation gain, 10 more 14ers are now added to my ever growing list.

Northwest Texas marker
Santa Fe Trail Marker


Texas - Oklahoma - New Mexico tripoint marker
Colorado - New Mexico - Oklahoma tripoint marker
storm near Black Mesa, Oklahoma
Colorado - Oklahoma - Kansas tripoint marker
Santa Fe Trail overlook

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
09/03/2019 19:33
Some paragraphs and spaces would make this easier to read. :-)

Seemed easy to read to me
09/03/2019 22:59
But maybe your reading comprehension skills are a bit rusty, Rich.

Anywho...very nice write up, Texas. That€„¢s a helluva week. Congrats!

an adventure to remember!!
09/04/2019 11:06
very cool!

4 corners
09/04/2019 12:36
For some more fun, visit the 4-corners monument (AZ, UT, CO, NM) and pose with a limb in all 4 states.

Then look at a map afterward and discover the center of the marker is (probably) located in New Mexico. Only 'probably' because despite the straight appearance of these border lines on a map, they're not actually straight - having been surveyed and made official with the tools and practices available long ago.

To wit- there are a couple of bends in the supposedly straight-line border between CO and NM over in the Ute Mtn Reservation, roughly (36.999211, -108.249928). There's an even bigger jog in the border around 36.996070, -106.873393. There's even a little bend in the CO-OK border south of Picture Canyon.

The 4 corners monument is fun, but you have to chuckle that it's being in the "wrong" place just underscores how arbitrary and absurd are the lines we draw on the map. We can't even follow our own designs.

Loved it. It's all about the story...
09/04/2019 22:41
Loved it. It's all about the story, not the formatting and paragraph breaks. The story was great, and the writing expressed what you wanted it to deliver, just fine! Thanks!

09/05/2019 13:46
Way to get them all done in one day - especially being from Kansas! Thanks for sharing!

Awesome Trip
09/07/2019 06:22
I'm jealous. I did a big trip through the north and northwest this spring while fighting a respiratory illness, so now I'm stuck with a few 3 or 4 day weekends driving from Iowa to hike (1 or 2 hiking days).

Surprised you didnt do Wheeler Peak, NM High Point (near Taos) when you circled through NM on your way to Black Mesa in OK. Those two are linked together on a future trip for me. :-)

09/23/2019 05:07
I am also from Kansas and did a similar trip a few weeks ago.

Friday = Evans, Spaulding and West Evans
Saturday = Bierstadt
Sunday = Quandary
Monday = Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross and South Bross
Tuesday = Sherman and Sheridan
Wednesday = Elbert

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