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 Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  05/16/2007 Modified: 05/18/2007
 Date Climbed:   05/12/2007
 Posted By:  luv2hikejulie

 Quandary East Ridge   

This is not so much a trip report as it was a learning experience for my first 14er ascent. Myself and two friends decided to climb Quandary on Saturday May 12th. Me with my Roach book in hand and trip reports from 14ers.com spouting early start. But we got to the trailhead at around 8am after breakfast at Daylight Donuts in Breck (good hot breakfast for cheap). There were already at least 20 cars in the area. As 851 had not been plowed we parked near by on 850. One of the individuals I was hiking with had forgot his snow shoes but we decided to continue on. Was informed by a very nice couple who had obviously been to the summit and back down indicated that we would need our snow shoes. Found the trail start fairly easily and began up the trail. About 15-20 min we all began post holing (I now understand the term and don't particularly like the activity).

We had two pairs of snow shoes and two of us put those on and began again following two younger boys with skiis the wrong direction on the trail (didn't know this until the next day when we came back and was following the trail correctly). After the third person post holing about every 3 feet we decided to turn back and try again on Mothers Day with everyone having snow shoes and an earlier start (which ended up being an hour earlier).

The next morning we got to the trailhead around 7am and started up Quandary East Ridge trail yet again. We passed a group from Kansas who ended up passing us as there were many stops to enjoy the beauty of the mountain and it was a beautiful day. We strapped on the snow shoes the same place as the day prior and found out we had followed the wrong trail and found the trail signs rather easily. As we got to tree line we unstrapped the snow shoes for a while as the trail was clear for about 1/4 mile before we started post holing again. My friend and I were holding up her son who had brought his snow board and planned to try to snow board from the summit to Breckenridge so we sent him on ahead and asked that he snow board back down to us. Which he did in fine fashion.

We continued up to the first ridge and stopped at 12,200 feet for a break and so I could change my socks as they were wet from punching through the soft snow. We then set our sights on the next ridge which appeared to be about a 800-900 vertical foot climb. Of course with the snow on the mountain we couldn't tell where the trail was but followed everyone else straight up the mountain. Half way up to this second ridge the dark clouds began moving in quickly it was proably around noon by this time. We made a group decision to turn around because it had begun thundering and lightening. The group decison was made to turn around my friend and I were at 12,700 and her son made it to 13,300. We were being pelted with hail/snow and turned and began back down the mountain.

I have seen many terms on this website that I didn't necessarily understand but through this experience learned what they were. For instance post holing and glissading (sp). I find the later quite fun and a faster way down the mountain then post holing every step. After much frustration of digging my snow shoes from the snow I sat down in a snow board track and slide down from the first ridge. Of course it looked like I pee'd my pants and even commented to several skiers to that fact but it was much less frustrating. Over all it was a great time and I learned many things from Quandary this past weekend. Things that I hope to carry onto my next 14er attmept. Thank you all for the valuable information provided on this site.


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