I was able to sneak in one last 14er climb before the snow starts falling. Hieu Nguyen and I threw this trip together at the last minute. We targeted Mount Lincoln, at 14,286′, located several miles northwest of Alma.
We decided to go at this from the East Slopes route. Altogether, it is about a 6-mile roundtrip with 2,650′ of elevation gain. I’d put this at a 2 or 3 out of a scale of 10. It is essentially a steep walk up an old mining road with a touch of Class 2 near the summit.
The road getting to the trailhead was a rocky mess and required some care to not tear the undercarriage of my Jeep to shreds. We arrived around 7:30 am and it was sunny and in the low 30s. Right away, the route started to climb a bowl between Mount Bross and Mount Lincoln, heading straight to the west. The wind began to blow and gust as we made easy work of the first mile or so.
The route then wheeled up and around a pronounced cliff and finally the summit came into view. We could see patches of snow here and there and the wind began to pick up even more. Fortunately, I had some winter gloves and was able to stave off the chill as long as we kept moving.
The last mile was a sharp ascent up to the tower-like summit. The last several hundred yards, Hieu and I were postholing through stretches of snow in our trail runners and the wind was now at a full industrial roar (40, 50 mph?). When we got to the summit, the wind chill was cold enough that we could only mill around for a minute or so before we decided to descend.
The walk back out was relatively easy. Again, the key here is to just stick to the old mining road. We were back at the car by 11:00 am and never saw another hiker all morning 🙂 I suspect that it is time for me to get my snowshoes and winter mountaineering gear ready! 13 down and 40 to go …
(One thing that I have decided to let go of is obeying the so-called “3,000′ rule” in my quest to climb all the 14ers. I’ll still stick to doing separate climbs for each 14er throughout my quest but it is not practical nor very much fun to impose some arbitrary minimum elevation gain on each of these climbs. For example, to have met the rule for Mount Lincoln this morning, we would have had to have parked back down on a county road, where it was illegal to do so, to get the extra couple hundred feet of elevation gain. And for what? To experience the “joy” of walking an extra 1/2 a mile on the county road to get to the trailhead?)