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Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Post Date:  05/28/2013
Modified:  05/29/2013
Date Climbed:   05/26/2013
Posted By:  pmreyn2010

 A Quick Quest up Quandary   

This is a pretty standard trip report for Quandary’s East Ridge. Not particularly exciting, but I thought I would post anyway if anyone wanted any info or recent pictures of the area.

Having done my last 14er in December (Pikes Peak), I was ready to get back out and tackle another one. I tried to stay in shape throughout the winter by climbing some of the different ski mountains near my house (thanks, microspikes!) – quick hikes, but sharp altitude gains, so I was hoping the workouts would pay off. The weather around here has been touch & go as of late, and for the last week, I’ve been constantly checking on the peak conditions reports to get any info I could about Quandary Peak. After looking at the NOAA forecast for Sunday, I decided to go for it. There were going to be 18-22 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph. Aside from that, the forecast looked clear, so I left my house around 4 in the morning. It took me a little over two and a half hours to get to the trailhead. As I was approaching, I caught a quick view of Quandary just as the sun was rising.

Early morning light

I hit the trail at about 7 am that morning. There were lots of people at the trailhead getting ready to go themselves. The trip up through the woods was quiet & quick… parts of the trail had thawed out; others still had patches of snow. I didn’t see anybody else until I hit tree line. Once there, I met a woman from the Denver area & her father, who was from Washington state. They were attempting to summit their 1st 14er which was pretty cool. I hope to have the opportunity to climb one with my dad someday. In terms of trail finding, there were lots of tracks heading straight up the ridge, so I picked a set and headed up. The entire slope was covered with snow, with the exception of a couple patches of rocks here and there. At this point in the morning, the snow was frozen over & fairly easy to walk over. I had nothing more than my microspikes & trekking poles, and I was good to go.

The way forward

I reached a flat area & could see the final stretch ahead. This area was starting to thaw out a little bit, but not too much. I took a quick break, drank some water, and continued forward. There were lots of tracks headed upwards, so it was pretty obvious which way to go. I just stayed to the right of the rocks that were sticking out on the slope.

Looking at the final stretch

This was probably the slowest part of the ascent for me, because it was here that the wind picked up. For a few minutes, it was a bit of a battle that I felt I was losing. The wind eventually died down, and I pushed towards the summit. When I got up there, it was awesome—no wind, sunny skies… ya gotta love days like that in Colorado!

Views from the summit


Obligatory summit shot

I summited around 9:40 in the morning, about 2 hours and 40 minutes after starting. There were 2 people who left right as I was summiting – one skied and one glissaded down the Cristo Couloir. I had the summit to myself for about 10 minutes, and then another 2 people climbed up from the Cristo Couloir. I just have to say, I am very impressed with all of you who can ski these mountains… it seems pretty daunting to me! Anyway, I was up on the summit for about 30 minutes in total, and then I decided to head back down.

When I started my descent, I was surprised—there was a steady stream of people working their way up the slope. I stopped and spoke with a number of these people – all of them had different reasons for being on the mountain. It was pretty cool getting to hear some of their stories.

People working their way up the mountain

When I hit the flat section again, I encountered my first mountain goat. This was a very interesting/different experience for me. Initially, he was located where I took this picture from, on the rocks on the northern side of the mountain.

Mountain goat!

However, as I tried to walk past him on the trail, he darted out onto the trail and just stood there for a minute, looking out towards North Star Mountain. Then he turned towards me and just started walking right at me. I started backing up and to the left toward the rocks. I then walked forward slowly, and when we were next to each other, he darted forward towards the final slopes of the mountain. It was definitely the closest interaction I’ve had with any animal in the mountains up to this point!

As I continued down the slopes, I noticed the snow started to loosen up a little bit. It wasn’t until I was walking through the open areas near the tree line that it really started to get messy. I was postholing my way down for a little while… I did get off the trail a bit and so I think I was postholing more than I should have been, but oh well! There are worse things in life, no?

The walk back down through the forest was quick & easy, and made it back to the car shortly before noon.

Coming back down through the trees

All in all, it was great day to be out in the mountains, and I’m looking forward to my fourth 14er! I’m missing the bulk of the climbing season this year since I’ll be abroad for most of the summer, so I hope to get back out again soon! Cheers!


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Yay!     2013-05-28 21:30:39
Hey - I was one of the two people who summited from Cristo Couloir with skis! NICE - good to hear you got to see a mountain goat!


thanks!     2013-06-07 16:13:46
Awesome trip report!! Thanks for posting

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