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On Walkabout On: Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Lincoln
  • Range: Mosquito Range
  • Where: Alma, Colorado
  • Elevation: 14,286 feet (4,357 meters)
  • Distance: 1 mile from Mt. Cameron to Mt. Lincoln
  • Time: 30 min. to 1 hour from Mt.  Cameron to Mt. Lincoln
  • Elevation Gain: 3,481 feet total for entire hike
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route from Mt. Cameron to Mt. Lincoln

Route Up Mt. Lincoln

Topographic Map of DeCaLiBron Trail

Elevation Graph of the DeCaLiBron

Narrative

After spending just a few minutes on the bland summit of the 14,238 foot Mt. Cameron I next proceeded to head towards the highlight of the DeCaLiBron Trail which is the 14,286 foot Mt. Lincoln:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Mt. Lincoln is the highest point on the DeCaLiBron which is so named because the trail allows hikers the rare opportunity to summit four 14ers in one day.  These four peaks are the 14,148 foot Mt. Democrat, the 14,238 foot Mt. Cameron, the 14,286 foot Mt. Lincoln, and the 14,172 foot Mt. Bross.  These names are all combined to make the word DeCaLiBron.  How Mt. Lincoln received its name is credited to a gentlemen by the name of Wilbur Stone in 1861.  Here is how the book “A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners: Twentieth Anniversary Edition describes the peak’s naming:

In June of 1861, Wilbur F. Stone, whose pondering on a mining company title spawned the name “Mosquito” and who later helped to draft Colorado’s consitution, ascended the highest peak above Hoosier Pass.  After taking thermometer tests, he promptly pronounced it to be over 17,000 feet and returned to the mining camp of Montgomery at the mountain’s eastern base to describe the peak’s wonders and give it a name.  In the best tradition of grand legends, the story is told that after a number of names were suggested the of the recently elected President was raised by the crowd as if in one voice, and Mount Lincoln it became.

The book also goes on to explain that for a number of years people incorrectly believed that the peak was 15,000+ feet simply because they thought the South Park basin was as high as where the plains meet Colorado’s Front Range.  The plains end at about 7,000 feet in elevation while the South Park basin sits at about 10,000 feet.  This difference in altitude is what confused early surveyors of the mountain, but despite only being 14,286 feet, Mt. Lincoln still ranks as the 8th highest peak in Colorado.

To reach Mt. Lincoln from Mt. Cameron I had to descend on to a large flat saddle that runs between the two peaks:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Due to the saddle between Mt. Cameron and Mt. Lincoln being a less than 300 foot drop, Mt. Cameron is not officially recognized as a 14er.  However, in my opinion Mt. Cameron despite its uninspiring shape is definitely a separate mountain from Mt. Lincoln due to the distance between itself and its neighboring mountains.  Mt. Cameron loses the fame of being an official 14er simply because of a strange fate of topography where it has such a long flat saddle that does not drop below 300 feet with Mt. Lincoln.  Despite not being an official 14er the mountain still sees a lot of traffic by being part of the DeCaLiBron route.

I have never seen a saddle quite like this one because it was so flat and rocky.  It was literally a Mars like environment at nearly 14,000 feet in elevation.  As I crossed the saddle I could see the long walk ahead of me over to Mt. Bross in the distance:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

After a short walk the trail up to the summit of Mt. Lincoln stood in front of me:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Hiking up to the summit was not too difficult and once on top there was a grand total of six people including myself taking in the views from the top. Here is the US Geological Survey marker that I found on the summit of Mt. Lincoln:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

It took me less than an hour to cover the distance between Mt. Cameron and Mt. Lincoln.  Here is the view looking down across the saddle back to Mt. Cameron that I had just crossed with Mt. Democrat rising in the background:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Unlike Mt. Cameron there was not a whole lot of room on the summit of Mt. Lincoln.  Fortunately the hordes of hikers I saw earlier behind me had not yet reached the mountain.  So I had plenty of time to sit around and take in the views and enjoy pointing out other 14ers to the other hikers on the mountain.  The most visible 14er was of course the bulky Mt. Bross that sits across a large basin from Mt. Lincoln:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Here is a a panorama photo of Mt. Bross, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Lincoln all together from the summit of Mt. Lincoln that form the backbone of the Mosquito Range:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Off in the distance to the south behind Mt. Bross I could also see the other peaks of the Mosquito Range rising to include the 14er Mt. Sherman:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

You can read more about my prior hike up Mt. Sherman at the below link:

To the north I could see the 14,265 foot Quandary Peak rising above the other rugged peaks of the Ten Mile Range.  From Mt. Lincoln I could really tell how long the eastern ridgeline on this peak is:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Climbing Quandary Peak is a bit unusual compared to other 14ers I have hiked because it is for the most part just one long steady ascent at a constant grade.  It makes it a bit of a boring hike, but the views from the top of the mountain made it worth the effort.  You can read more about my prior hike up Quandary Peak at the below link:

Below the Ten Mile Range I could also see the stunning Wheeler Lake:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Here is a closer look at this beautiful lake that I plan to hike to and go fishing at one day:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Here is a panorama shot of all these peaks that I took using my iPhone 4S:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

To the east I could see Highway 9 that crosses over Hoosier Pass from Fairplay to Breckenridge, Colorado:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

You can read more about Fairplay and Hoosier Pass at the below links:

Even further out in the east I could see the 14,115 foot Pikes Peak:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

You can read more about Pikes Peak from my prior hikes up the mountain at the below links:

Out in the distance to the northeast I could see four more 14ers I have hiked before out in the distance; the 14,270 Grays Peak, the 14,269 foot Torreys Peak, the 14,264 foot Mt. Evans, and the 14,060 foot Mt. Bierstadt:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

You can read more about my prior hikes up these mountains at the below links:

Here is a closer look at the awesome twin summits of Grays and Torreys Peaks:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Here is a panorama I took looking to the east of all these Front Range Peaks:

Picture from Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

Conclusion

In total I spent about 30 minutes on the summit taking pictures and chatting with the fellow hikers.  The other hikers I ran into had all actually come up Mt. Lincoln from a trailhead along Highway 9.  They said that it was a pretty scenic walk up the mountain from that side as well.  However, you decide to get up Mt. Lincoln this is definitely what I consider the highlight of the DeCaLiBron because it is the highest peak and has the best views of the surrounding mountains.  Plus this mountain does not have the hordes of hikers on it that I experienced over on Mt. Democrat.  I suspect that many inexperienced day hikers probably call it a day after reaching the summit of Mt. Democrat and thus do not make the slog over to Mt. Lincoln.  So all in all I really enjoyed the summit of Mt. Lincoln.  All l I had left now of the DeCaLiBron was to hike over to Mt. Bross and back down to trailhead at Kite Lake.  It seemed like it was going to be a pretty straight forward and easy walk, but little did I realize that the hardest part of the DeCaLiBron was yet to come.

Next Posting: On Walkabout On: Mt. Bross, Colorado

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