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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-03-29||Route: West Ridge
Info: First fourteener ascended this year. Had good firm snowpack with minimal postholing. Got a late start (9:30) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as most people who ascended before me did not summit due to extreme winds at the top. By the time I made it up the winds had disappeared completely for a beautiful day. Be sure to wear sunglasses though as I got some unfortunate corneal sunburns from all the snowpack.
|2015-03-29||Route: South Gully aka Cristo Couloir
Info: With stable conditions and a solid string of melt-freeze cycles on a south-facing couloir, we decided to try for an early jump on snow-climbing season. Starting from the winter closure at 6 a.m., we hiked ~2 miles to the base of the route at Blue Lakes dam. The first two-thirds of the gully were perfect, with boots sinking no further than ankle deep and many areas where only crampon points penetrated. As the wind picked up higher on the route, we started to encounter more calf-deep powder blown over the consolidated base. I‘m not sure if a continuous ski line would be feasible without traversing far to the right, as we encountered a small unavoidable rock band about 400‘ from the summit. Beyond that the snow regained its firmness, and we cramponed up to a final talus step that ended immediately on the summit.
|2015-03-22||Route: West Ridge
Info: Good snow all the way up. Was a little hard packed and firm at very top. Skied down the bowl, lots of tracks there already so wasn‘t concerned about avy danger. I forgot my black 3-piece collapsible poles at the parking lot, if found please call 707.812.4641
|2015-03-21||Route: East Ridge
Info: Here‘s what the east ridge/bowl looked like today 3/21/15
|2015-03-18||Route: East Ridge
Info: On 3/18, I used crampons the entire way from the parking lot to the summit. It was pretty icy in spots and the snow pack was solid so the crampons were a blessing. Most on the other people on the route that day wore microspikes. I started at 7am and reached the summit at about 11:15. I used snowshoes for flotation when I reached the treeline on my way back down and was glad that I brought them despite previous reports that they weren‘t necessary. Wonderful experience for my first winter 14er.
|2015-03-16||Route: East Ridge
Info: The weather changes over the next few days, but here is what it was like today...I used microspikes up and back and they worked perfectly for the conditions--but I was back at the trailhead by 9:25a.m. (summit sunrise photography) and the snow was still pretty firm. If you are on the mountain later with warm temps, you‘ll probably want flotation for at least the treeline area plus or minus a few hundred feet. Above and below that, the trail is pretty hard packed by the passage of many feet. Saw a number of happy skiers headed up today. I also saw a lost cell phone sitting on the post as you leave the parking lot for the trail. Don‘t know if it is still there, but at least 20 people walked by it and left it alone.
|2015-03-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: Ascended Quandary on 3/14. Easy 2wd to the lower parking lot. Started at 6:30am, got back to the car at around noon. Going up flotation was optional, but on the way down the sun softened the snow and made snowshoes highly recommended. I didn‘t posthole much, but almost ever step slipped a bit, often broke through the light new snow. Lots of skiers on the peak, it would be a nice time to ski it.
|2015-03-08||Route: East Ridge
Info: As of Sunday, 3/8/15, the entire route can be done in microspikes. Bomber trench in place from trailhead to treeline, then hardpacked snow all the way to the summit. Carried and stashed snowshoes at treeline. Returned to the trailhead at 1:15 PM, and the snow never softened enough to need snowshoes from treeline back to trailhead. Easy peasy.
|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.