Route Description: From Montgomery Reservoir, walked through valley, up scree field then followed the ridge. Skied North Face.
Data: Began at Montgomery Reservoir (10,960ft) at 6:30. Walked up the valley and through the scree field, gained the ridge and met up with the summer trail, along with the summer hikers. Reached the summit (14,148 ft) at 11:30 am. Descended the north face to about 11,500 ft. Followed valley back to car which we reached around 3:00. Total vert climbed: 3188 ft. Total vert skied: 2400 ft. Total time: 8.5 hours.
Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report, 2nd Trip - Emma Lake chutes (South) - 11 Apr 2011, 14er.com TR from 2nd Trip
We'd heard that Democrat was still holding snow, so we decided to check it out! Instead of going the traditional route starting from Kite Lake, we started and finished from Montomery Reservoir. Dave and I began hiking around 6:30 am from the 4-wheel drive road above Montomery Reservoir.
We started from just below this mine.
Evidence of mining in this area is everywhere!
And finally... Mt. Democrat is in sight! Lines look good!
We hiked up the valley and then climbed the scree field to the lookers left that is hidden in the above photo. It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the scree field. The scree was very loose and difficult to manage at times. The approach from Kite Lake would certainly have been much easier! That's what we get for not wanting to bring two cars :)
Finally, we reached the ridge and the climbing was much easier from there.
Finally, the summit! We summited around 11:30.
Arkansas is still holding an amazing amount of snow! That coolie is still very tempting.
Quandary... not so much. Look how melted out Cristo Couloir is!
We could see La Plata and Elbert in the distance... one done, one more to go!
Okay, let's ski!!!!!!
Around noon we put on our skis for the reward. :) Dave drops in from the top.
Dave pretty much tears it up :)
View of Dave skiing down. Look at all that lovely snow we can ski in the valley instead of walking! How nice!
But first, we have to navigate through this choke.
Dave decided he didn't want to billygoat through the first part and opted to take pics from the rock above instead of my attempts to navigate the choke.
See, you don't REALLY need snow to ski on :) You should try it!
Oh, oh, oh, OOOOOOOHHHHHH no! Ooops! Lost my balance in the last bit of billygoating!
My ski was stuck under very heavy snow, and a creek was basically running beside me. I couldn't get my binding released in the precarious position I was in so Dave had to come down and release my binding for me. Too funny :) I pretty much felt like a gaper :D
Okay, let's do this again...
Okay, ready????? I'm going for it!!!!
Dave navigates through the second rocky section of the choke.
His method is a bit unusual. Instead of going around the rocks, he uses them for jumps :) Who says you need snow to jump on skis???? :D
And he lands perfectly to arc a nice sweet turn!
After the choke, we cruised down to the valley and we were able to ski to about 11,500 feet. From there we walked down the 4-wheel drive road to our car and arrived there before 3 pm.
Here's our line.
Here's where the fun of the day begins:) (No pics sorry). Before we went for our hike, we placed the cooler of beer underneath Dave's truck in order to keep it in the shade. Well, in our tired state, we completely forgot about it. We wanted to grill the brats we brought and Dave decided to move his truck a bit more to the side so we had more room to grill. Well, you can imagine what happened next... he ran over the cooler of beer! Beer bottles/cans came popping out of the cooler. Oh no! Beer gone! All gone! But wait... Wait! The beer is still in the bottles, still in the cans. Not a single one broke! The cooler on the other hand... a purple mangled mess. The cooler definitely took one for the team. Go cooler!
Note:A true decent from the summit was not completed on this ski. In April, 2011, I went back to ski Democrat from the summer. You can see this trip report on my blog.
Photos contributed by Dave Bourassa.