| Quandary - East Ridge
This is my first trip report so be gentle it is my first time!
I left Denver at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. After choosing the right music selections of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Carlos Santana and being somewhat liberal with the posted speed limits on I70 I arrived at the Quandary trailhead in 1 hour and 38 minutes of driving time. I did make one stop at Mad Mikes in Georgetown to browse his selection of used gear.
I spent the remainder of the day and night sitting on my lawn chair in front of my truck working on my Masters Thesis and collecting beta from the returning climbers from the day. I had a friend and his gf show up at 9 pm and had one beer before retiring for the night.
I awoke at 6 am and dressed and ate my breakfast and my climbing partner (Ben) arrived from Denver at 6:30 am. We waited on my friends and finally hit the trail at 7:20 am. (pic 1) Just before tree line, with my friends gf being a neophyte to 14ers, Ben and I moved ahead and stayed in radio contact as the others decided whether to continue or not. One of these days I will learn to wear less when I take off in the morning because I was already shedding layers at 11, 200 feet, barely into the climb. The temperature at that time was probably already 60 degrees.
It was a gorgeous day and above tree line we only reached two small areas that had snow on the trail and very little mud. (pic 2) any mud that was present was not even enough to get the sides of your boots. No worries on this on the trail. No sliding or slipping at all. I only recall three muddy areas and I walked right through them no issues! There was no reason to go around the snow and it appeared that most everyone was staying on trail.
The sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky for the majority of the morning. It was at this time that I determined that I do not like Gu and will never have it again. I took some on the trail and after 20 minutes it was sitting in my gut like plaster and the 25% caffeine felt like someone had nailed me with a defibrillator. My heart rate was going pretty good for awhile.
We hit the snow field off to the right (north) of the trail (pic 3) and I was amazed that I did not see and ski lines or glissading lines as it appeared to be perfect territory for fun. At this point I had wished I had brought my snow pants and ice axe just to practice self arrest.
At 13,900 (pic 4)you the trail moves to the snow and at 10:35 am found the snow still pretty course corn that it worked best to herring bone up the rest of the way as you were entertained by the people in tennis shoes sliding their way down and falling every 10 meters (pic 5). At this point there is a nice compacted trail that is cut all the way to the summit. It is like a groomed trail for xcrountry skiing all the way to the finish line! I only post holed when I stepped aside to allow the downhill skaters past. Even then the post holing was barely over my short gaiters. All the beta prior holds true and no flotation whatsoever is required (unless you want to practice).
I summated at 10:55 realizing that I am still not in "game shape" but extremely happy to be at 14,265 feet. I actually stayed on the summit for 2 hours as it was a beautiful day. Ben had to go so he went down on his own and I waited for my others friends who summated 1 hour 45 minutes after I did.
I decided on my way to honor the Talus Monkey as I unfurled the specially made Prayer Flags with the sticker pictures and his Elbert Summit photo on the center flag (pic 6). I will carry these on all my 2007 summits as my way to honor his memory.
Caroline was thought of also on this summit as below us on a rock ledge were a momma and baby polar bears (pic 7). They seemed tame enough and were quit far in the distance so we were quit safe. (Caroline you will never live that one down you know)
It was clear enough to see distant peaks of Pikes and Longs, but also Evans, Torreys, Grays to the east and Holy Cross, Massive Elbert, La Plata et al to the west and of course Lincoln, Democrat and Bross. Great sightseeing day!
I returned with my friends as she was pretty spent and I wanted to make sure she got down okay without leaving my friend in a bad spot (pic8).
Clouds began to start rolling in and it was good to look back and see the fruits of Sundays labor and think "I would rather be in the mountains thinking about God then in church thinking about the mountains" (pic9)
Reached the trailhead at 3:30 pm and felt great to sit down. I felt great, although sunburn from not reapplying on the summit.
The trail is in great shape and the weather beautiful. I was wondering if many people were using Roach and still going to the MuCulloch Gulch trailhead down the road more? I talked with several people who were confused by the trailhead early on.
I returned home in the afternoon I70 traffic, however, Green Day, Live and Blood Sweat and Tears brought me to my front door safe and sound!
Great day, great weather, great fun I need to hit the pavement more to get myself into my climbing shape. I hope this information is helpful for someone and can answer any questions someone may have.