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 Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  03/31/2013 Modified: 04/01/2013
 Date Climbed:   03/31/2013
 Posted By:  GregMiller
 Additional Members:   Nfreelen

 Quandary Peak East Ridge   

Back in April, got an email from a friend that a friend of his wanted to come up from Texas and learn some snow climbing skills, and possibly put them to use. So on Saturday we went with the group up to St. Mary's glacier, and practicee the necessary skills. And Sunday, they got to put them to use, and I took the opportunity to get in my first ski descent(!).

We met up at the Quandary trailhead at 7 AM, inspired by the beautiful views above us:

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But we couldn't just stand around and admire it, we were there to climb it, so we headed on up the East Ridge trail. It was a bit cooler than the day before, probably in the teens when we started (although the sun warmed us up nicely). Definitely was a cool, clear night, as evidenced by the surface hoar present on the snow surface below treeline.

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Snow was solid, and microspikes did us just fine hiking up. For anyone planning on hiking up and down, I'd definitely recommend hiking up with microspikes, and stashing snowshoes at treeline for the trip down. Snow quality definitely changed at treeline.

The moon was nice enough to grace us with its presence for the first little bit (Nick and Wade are hiding behind the trees):

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The East Ridge route certainly had plenty of snow on it, there was the occasional rock poking through, but they were easily avoidable.

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Was certainly inspiring when we got to where we could see the summit:

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Only ~1200' to go!

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On the upper section of the East ridge (up from the flat spot), the lower half caught more wind coming around the South side of the mountain, which made for some exciting snow devils. At least they gave you fair warning:

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The view back during one of these:

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Finally we made it up to the summit!
Here's Nick looking appropriately tired on his 5th 14er summit:

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And Wade, with the Lincoln group in the background (on his 1st 14er!):

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Careful with those things!

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All three of us, taken by some of the nice skiers on the summit:

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And my obligatory captain's pose:

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And some nice photos of the axes:

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The other skiers that were on the summit at the same time started off on the more ambitious line on the North side of the upper bowl:

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If you were going to exit off the North side of the mountain like they did, it's a great line (I think they ended up at the McCullough Gulch trailhead). A couple other folks started off that way, and got in 4 or 5 turns before they had to start traversing to stay above the bare rock on the flat spot:

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Speaking of the flat stretch, it had a nice cornice built up on it:

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Past that, it was a pretty uneventful descent. Lots of nice low angle turns below treeline, then a nice luge run down the trail. In case you were wondering, the 'summer' trailhead is definitely inaccessible by car (so you add a couple hundred feet on the road):

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And one more shot of the upper East face, just to whet your appetite (If you squint just right you can see the turns they other folks got in):

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Definitely great conditions to ski in, I was able to keep skis on from summit to trailhead. There was one 10 ft rock band that I was barely able to pick through, and it was tricky getting down the last 10 ft from the trail onto the road, but besides that it was beautiful. Hope you get to enjoy it as much as we did!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
MonGoose


Awesome!     2013-04-02 09:10:12
Congratulations on your first 14er ski descent and thank you very much for the beta!


Mindy


Congrats Greg!     2013-04-03 10:58:37
Nice work everyone.


jhopper87

Sat 4/6     2013-04-03 11:55:32
I was thinking of doing this route this coming Saturday are snowshoes necessary below tree line? thanks


GregMiller


Yes and no     2013-04-03 11:57:34
On the way up they weren't, but the hikers I was with were postholing most of the way through the trees on the way down once the sun had warmed it up. I'd just say to carry them up and stash them at treeline for the descent.


benners


Nice Job     2013-04-04 15:07:55
Congrats on your first ski! Sounds like the other group skied the North Couloir? Conditions up there look great right now.


GregMiller


Thanks!     2013-04-04 15:25:36
I think they actually skied the same area that Bill skied:
http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=38115 (see page 2)
Although I can't seem pick it out on a topo.



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