| Sunrise service in the clouds on Quandary
We arrived at the trailhead at 0630. The trailhead was full, and there were already numerous cars along the road. My thirteen-year-old son Will and I began our climb at 0640, and unfortunately we didn’t have Sadie the dog with us this time as we were staying with friends in Breckenridge for the weekend. Weather forecast put rain at 60% by noon so we tried to climb as quickly as possible.
The trail up is very well marked the entire way with a nice wooden bridge at one point along with stone steps at the early part of the hike. We arrived at the bridge at 0720 and the beginning of the rock stairs at 0730.
We were at tree line by 0745 and then we made the slow climb up the ridge to the top.
There were a lot of people making the climb, as I expected since it was a Sunday in July. It is consistently up nearly the entire way. The entire ridge was covered with people, looking like ants from a distance. We passed a number of people as we moved up, but the weather continued to hold off, and near the top we walked into the clouds, reaching the summit by 0920.
It was cold at the top in the clouds with a northerly wind. Numerous other people reached the summit at about the same time as we did, including two groups, a couple and a family of four, who climbed from the more difficult west side. Nice work to all of you! We look forward to climbing Quandary from that direction one day.
Here are the obligatory summit pictures.
A number of people at the top did not seem as prepared for the weather as they should have been. I learned my lesson about weather on our first ascent of Pikes when I was painfully unprepared for the cold. Now, we never hike without hats, gloves, rain jackets, long pants and multiple layers, and all of those items came in handy at the top of the mountain. We were bundled up (but still cold) as we ate our snack and enjoyed the cloudy view at the top. Will wrote in his journal and then we headed down in order to try and warm up.
We left the top at 1000 for a pretty uneventful hike down, except we saw a marmot.
We hit tree line at 1110, the wooden bridge ten minutes later and then the trailhead by 1145.
The two groups who climbed from the west side hiked down the standard route. They worried that climbing down would be pretty challenging from that side, so I gave them a lift back to their cars at Blue Lake, two miles in on 580. Hope to see you climbing again.
Quandary is a nice mountain which is easily accessible because of the trailhead location and the close proximity to Breckenridge. It also doesn’t have as much distance as other mountains nor are there challenging parts of the climb. In fact, while there weren’t a lot of kids climbing, we saw two different five-year-olds near the top. Will and I had seen them climbing earlier in the day, and as we were coming down, they had nearly made it. Good work.
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