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 Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  06/03/2007 Modified: 08/09/2013
 Date Climbed:   06/02/2007
 Posted By:  CarpeDM

 Quandary - East slope   

This was my first 14er this year, and second summit of Quandry. Sorry I don't have pictures (my climbing buddy had the camera). I'll go ahead and answer the question on most people's minds: You can probably get by without snowshoes.

When we started the hike (at 8:30 on the nose), there were about half a dozen cars already there. Within shouting distance of the trailhead, my very independent beagle followed his nose too far from us, so we spent several minutes chasing him down and getting him on leash. So I reset our start time to 8:45. The first part through the trees is quite easy with just a little snow on the trail. We did lose the trail once, but that was mainly our own inattention. Coming out of the trees, it got a little interesting. We came across the first big bank of snow on the steep slope ahead. As we had brought our snowshoes, we followed the example of a couple of Denverites just ahead of us and strapped them on for this part. The snowshoes might've helped, but probably weren't necessary if you can stand a little bit of post-holing. And this snow section was pretty short - probably no more than 100 yards. After that, the only use we got from the snowshoes was as added "training" weight.

Above that, it alternates between snow and rock - with plenty of snow on the final pitch. But it was no problem at all.

My buddy reached the summit about 11:40. The dog and I reached it at about 12:10. As you might expect, the summit was largely covered with snow, but the day was clear and afforded great views all around. One group of 2 women and a man (I think the guy's name was Ian) had come up the Cristo Couloir route. They had ice axes, but I can't tell you if they were necessary. I think one of them made a comment that on another trip up that route, they had glissaded down in 12 minutes! After some lunch, we started back at 12:30.

The snow that was pretty well packed on the way up had softened enough to provide some fun, controllable glissading at several points on the way down (I used my hands to control my speed - and they got pretty darn cold through the light gloves I was wearing. Note to self: next time, bring heavier gloves). There was also some post-holing going on, but not enough to make us put the snowshoes on. It also snowed on us on the way down.

Oh, and just at the bottom of the summit pitch, I saw a couple of mountain goats. Pretty cool! But my buddy was having too much fun glissading to notice.

We got back to the car at 2:30 - the last ones down. It was a great hike!

 
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