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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-02-28||Route: East Ridge
Info: Got an early start to beat the forecasted increasing winds and snow. Wore snowshoes car to car. Well established trench to treeline had a few inches of fresh snow. Signs of trench disappeared at winter detour (11,600‘). Sometimes the snow was quite supportive and sometimes not, a good day to wear snowshoes.
|2015-02-19||Route: East Ridge
Info: Started around 0900, with firm conditions up. Trail is very well established. Warm sun and intermittent gusty winds over 40mph above the tree line. Wore micro spikes all the way until descending below the treeline, then slapped on flotation since the crust had turned to mush in the sun. A great, very warm day... with plenty of goat companionship.
|2015-02-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: Snow packed below treeline but gets mushy later in the day so flotation is helpful. Wind blown up high.
|2015-02-08||Route: East Ridge
Info: Trail is clear and well packed. Trail clear to the summit, however it follows the summer route the whole way. Snowshoes were not necessary at any point. Brought microspikes, but could have skipped those as well.
|2015-02-01||Route: East Ridge
Info: Headed up Quandary with partner and the GF on her first winter hike. The first part of the trail is hardpacked and easily hiked. The trail is very easy to follow. Near treeline things widen up a bit and we lost track of any kind of trail. Lots of snowdrifts led to plenty of postholing on the way up from about 11,500 - 12,200. Flotation was necessary. We ended up stopping at the 13,150 point and turning around due to heavy wind and blowing snow. As the picture shows, the GF did not have a great time, but I think I might still get her to try it again.
|2015-01-26||Route: East Ridge
Info: Snow was well-packed below tree line, though in the morning, it was still slick enough on top that microspikes were welcome. My hiking partner only had snowshoes and he struggled until he strapped them on. The only time I needed snowshoes was when we got off trail (following many other tracks), veering left below the ridge where the snow was deeper. Once on the ridge, spikes were a near necessity (although, again, snowshoe teeth worked just fine, they were more cumbersome). Trail was well-marked, and for the most part, we were able to stay on top of the snow without any difficulty. The wind was gusty between 9:30 and 11:30 or so, and then calmed down considerably. It was definitely slushy below tree line on our way down, but that‘s what you get with a 40+ degree day in January. Overall, an easy winter hike, trail in great condition.
|2015-01-25||Route: East Ridge
Info: Not much to update from the previous report. The weather forecasts are all lies. We were expecting 15-20 mph winds on the summit (mountain-forecast.com), and I‘d say it was closer to 40 with gusts to 60. Definitely enough to bring us to our knees a few times. There is a good trench in place to treeline, and above that the wind gets rid of any tracks within ~30 min, but just stick to the ridgeline. We found flotation to be useful to about 12,500 and traction to be very helpful above that. I had on every layer I brought for a majority of the time above treeline - bring more than you think you need!
|2015-01-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Let me start off by saying congrads to anyone that summited today. You definitely earned it. The wind was terrible. Blowing hard out of the North and North East. Lower section of the trail through the trees is very well defined and does not require any traction or flotation. Once you break the tree line, what was left of the packed down trail has been obliviated by the wind. Recommend snowshoes to prevent post holing the whole way trying to find the trail. There is a nice cornice starting on the West side of the ridge (climbers left) where the trail levels off before the final summit push. Stay to the climbers right on the exposed rocks. The wind was blowing so hard that the former trench/trail going up has been turned into a ridge with the snow around it blown away. Upper section is very wind blown and hard. Recommend traction for ascending and descending. There was lots of spin drifts blowing down from the summit which was causing some accumulations on top of the wind blown snow en-route to the summit. While I did not ski, I did see skiers. You can ski from car to summit and back with a little route finding coming down from the summit. Cold but successful day. Car to car took just under 5hrs.
|2015-01-11||Route: East Ridge
Info: Adding to update conditions since last report on Friday. Sunday saw 3 to 5 inches of new, very low density snow falling on very light (almost non-existent below about 13K) winds. As we were descending in late afternoon, the trench/boot tracks were still mostly visible, but getting obscured in some parts, and snow was still falling. Suspect that a few more inches of snow will obliterate most of it - especially once the wind does pick up and drifting ensues.
|2015-01-08||Route: East Ridge
Info: It took us less than 3 hours to summit, we had to move fast to stay warm because it was so windy. It was semi-dangerous, a gust can potentially blow someone off the ridge. Also the wind chill meant numb fingers, very few photos, no way to eat snacks or anything... We had 5 people in total, all of them skied off the summit except for me. I don‘t ski in the backcountry because I don‘t want to die. I‘m always hesitant to tell people what gear to take because it is so dependent on individual experience level. I took almost nothing: no gaiters, crampons, axe, snowshoes, helmet. I did have two ski poles, which I consider mandatory, and would recommend most people take traction, like cleats, microspikes, even yak-traks would be useful. I say this in regard to the steep section of the ridge near the top, where the snow was hard-packed, slightly icy, and did not always have steps in place. There are a couple short sections that could be potentially dangerous if someone started to slide, so traction could prevent a slip. I, however, have supreme confidence in myself!! Yes, I‘m cocky. Also there are a couple short sections near treeline-ish where the path is less defined and snowshoes could be helpful. I will try to add a couple photos later.
|2015-01-07||Route: East Ridge
Info: The trail was well packed most of the way and easy to follow. As the sun warmed in the afternoon we hit some soft spots descending on the lower reaches and clearings below treeline. We stuck with spikes the entire route with no issues although most people I saw were using snowshoes most of the way and quite a few were skinning. There were several people skiing down although there were a some rocks to avoid. I have pictures available at: http://tomcatoutdoors.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-beautiful-winter-climb-of-quandary.html
|2014-12-31||Route: East Ridge
Info: At least 12 people/ parties attempted summit on New Years Eve. Trail/ trench recognizable the entire way. Weather was edtraordinary not of the way. A bit windy at the top. Something more than microspikes is higly r commended due to deep snow in many areas.
|2014-12-17||Route: East Ridge
Info: Route is definitely covered in snow almost the whole way up, but the trail was easy to follow. We used snowshoes all the way through treeline and up to the first ridge, but most others we saw were in microspikes. Once you get on the main ridge, it was much easier to ditch the snowshoes and follow the steps of other hikers before us. Microspikes probably would have been better than snowshoes in most areas, but snowshoes still were very helpful. Snowshoes or microspikes are highly recommended.
|2014-12-06||Route: East Ridge
Info: Great conditions. Trail is 100% packed and easy to follow, no post holing anywhere. No snowshoes needed. Microspikes not needed if your shoes are sufficiently luggy.
|2014-12-05||Route: East Ridge
Info: The lower lot is clear and can be accessed by any vehicle. The upper lot has not been plowed and there is no evidence that anyone has attempted to attempt the drive. I brought snow shoes and carried them the entire distance. Snow depth varies from 1" to 3‘ but the entire trail is compact snow. I used microspikes over hiking boots and it seemed to be the ideal gear, but hiking boot alone will do. Navigation was simple as a result of a path beaten into the snow.
|2014-11-30||Route: East Ridge
Info: Lower parking lot was plowed while the road to the upper lot was plowed in. The trail is well defined from heavy use. No need for snowshoes as the middle of the trail was plenty firm. Micro-spike were nice but probably not essential for upper elevations due to hard pack and steep slopes. Had it been any warmer (it was a high in the 20s) I probably would have needed the snow shoes. It seemed the snow depth was around 3-4 feet when I would break through or miss the middle of the trail.
|2014-11-27||Route: East Ridge
Info: Good amount of snow up to 12500 - 12700. Still rocky after that with some deeper buildup along the final ridge. Trail was excellent due to the snowshoe wearing types. Peak was clear but quite windy.
|2014-11-15||Route: East Ridge
Info: Quandary/Breckenridge received about 6-8 inches of snow the previous night (of course it had also been snowing pretty much all week). The lower (overflow) parking lot was plowed, the upper parking lot and 851 was not. A couple on snowshoes were nice enough to break trail all the way to treeline, so the trail was easy to follow from parking lot to treeline (around 11,700 feet). Above treeline the wind picked up, I‘d estimate 15-25 mph sustained, gusting up to 30-40 mph. Visibility was reduced to about 100 feet, with occasional whiteout conditions when the wind was blowing hard. Wind drifted snow was considerably deeper than I thought, I was kicking myself for not bringing my sowshoes. Although I‘m not sure if snowshoes would have helped, the snow was totally unconsolidated sugary powder. There were islands of rock where snow was only a couple of inches deep, everywhere else was thigh deep to chest deep powder. Unfortunately there‘s no way to tell how deep the snow was just by looking at it, so my strategy was navigating by compass and GPS in a general westerly direction, always aiming for a rock island so I can get some rest from swimming in chest deep powder. At around 12,700 feet, I decided that condition was deteriorating too much to continue. It was nearly whiteout all the time at that point. Even my dog Polar, who absolutely loves snow, was very happy to be turning around. On the way down I couldn‘t find any trace of the chest deep trench I built in the snow, it was totally erased by the wind. When I got back to the lower parking lot , there was another 4 inches of new snow on top of my car. A couple had just arrived in the parking lot and was getting ready to head up. I told them what the conditions were like, they decided to see how far they can get. I wish them best of luck! Also, as I was heading out from the parking lot, I saw a new Toyota 4Runner (?) that got its front wheels stuck in the ditch, they were probably trying to make a three-point turn. Luckily the guy had a tow rope in his car, so I gave him a little tug and pulled him out. All in all, an interesting day.
|2014-11-09||Route: East Ridge
Info: Hiked Quandary via the East Ridge this morning (9 November). Trail is in great shape, not much snow or ice due to melt/freeze, and no need for traction (though poles/micros could be used if desired). Most snow being held on the mountain is between 12,500-13,500, above that it is windswept. Peak is clear as well
|2014-11-01||Route: West Ridge
Info: Hiked the West Ridge for the Winter Welcomer. At least a dozen people went up that route. Not much snow on the trail and route. No need for snowshoes. One person put on microspikes, but no one else did. Most of the snow is on the trail on the class 2 portions. Snow did not hinder the Class 3, except for one section. I guess the snow covers the route and pushes you into a Class 4 section. Very doable. This is between photos #17 and #18 of the route description. I think you walk around this to the right, usually. But snow prevents that. It‘s a down and up, but again very doable.