Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mount Bross - 14,172 and Mount Lincoln - 14,286

Lincoln from just below the summit of Mount Bross

Eager for a change of scenery after Lake City, I turned my attention in August 2008 to the trio of 14ers in the Mosquito Range near Fairplay. Hearing that Mounts Bross and Lincoln could be done on mountain bike I decided to give it a shot. I'm always a fan of coasting wherever possible, even if it meant postponing Mount Democrat, which had no MB track to its summit. I'd wanted to do it on skis, anyway, and did, finally.

On a Saturday dawn after sleeping in my truck parked at the Windy Ridge Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area, featuring some of the oldest trees on the planet, I set off up this steeply switchbacking mining road up the east flank of Mount Bross. Though early on I had the road to myself, later on the descent I would be dodging SUVs. I stopped to take some photos of a bunch of ptarmigans cruising behind a mining shack, but the birds blended so well they can hardly be picked out of the talus. The road ended within a hundred yards of Bross's expansive summit, where I touched base and turned without delay toward my second goal of the day. The trail to Mount Lincoln proved more passable than I'd dared hope, though both summits now thronged with the Kite Lake hikers whom I also had to dodge upon occasion. They had a tendency to pop up unexpectedly on Cameron Point midway between the two peaks before heading off in their chosen direction.

Bross from midway to Mount Lincoln

Several hundred yards shy of the summit I dropped my bike and went on foot. After topping out I remounted for the ride back to Bross, then down the road again. I practically wore out my brake shoes on the descent but made it down in one piece. A girl who saw me loading up my bike asked the obvious question, and seemed duly impressed to hear that I'd indeed biked to the top of Bross and Lincoln.

Not a bristlecone and not a ptarmigan, but pretty gnarly nonetheless.

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