| Popping a cherry at 14,265- West Ridge
So, with the GoldenBear back in the country and in Denver he called me up and said that he was spending the weekend in Breck, and on my couch. No worries, so we planned to hike something close this Saturday since I had to work at 4. Quandary is close, but on weekends there is a highway going up it. So, getting into some scrambling this summer I suggested the West Ridge. He was down, even though I'm not sure on how much research he had done on the route, but oh well, I wasn't worried. Like always, Chris was down to do some walking uphill since he had the day off.
We left the house at 5:46, it's so much nicer to only drive 25 min, compared to 2-3 hours, you can actually get sleep that way. So, we dropped The GoldenBear's car off at the standard trailheads parking lot. We didn't know exactly what way we were going to come down so we had our options with the second car.
We got a key ride from Richie up the road at 6:30 and started walking uphill. Trail at times was tough to follow early, but found it and started making some good progress. We noticed frost on the ground as the trail followed the up the creek, good sign that winter is coming. Got to a scree field and had to look for cairns and trail was tough to follow but we made our way to the ridge fairly easily at 7:57.
Up to the scree field on the way to the ridge
The GoldenBear on the ridge
We then were all excited about doing some climbing and such. We were disappointed to find that the trail easily skirt the north side of the ridge for quite a ways. We kept following the trail and contemplated gaining the ridge to get some excitement. The excitement was soon to come...
At 8:45 we passed the mine ruins on the south side of the ridge, and then the scrambling began.
Looking back down on the route
Time to put the helmets on
Looking up the loose dirt gully
The GoldenBear and myself going up the loose dirt gully
The GoldenBear and Chris climb the loose gully
We gained the ridge and the fun began, did some walking and came to a loose dirt/rock gully. Then when we got to the crux, things got a bit crazy. Chris climbed the crux, The GoldenBear and I went right where I thought I saw a cairn.
A bit of climbing
Then we had to do a quick down climb, climbed another loose gully to gain the ridge where Chris was. After the crux, we followed a good trail to 10 people on the summit. The GoldenBear was super stoked to have his 1st 14 summit. So, the west ridge might have been a little much for a first time 14er attempt, but after said and done it was a good climb.
Chris, Joe4186, The GoldenBear
We chilled and chit/chatted with some people at the summit for a bit. Then we decided we were just going to take the standard route down because we just didn't want to deal with cristo's. On the way down we were met by about 100-150 people. Looking down the ridgeline it looked as if they were an army making an attack on the summit.
We got back to the trailhead at 11:45 and it looked like they sent up re-enforcements w/ some more people.
Pretty impressive performance by The GoldenBear for his first 14er experience. Not that I've been hiking 14ers for a long time, but I'm pretty sure this was the first time I've ever been on a 14er on the weekend, and boy, it sure was a madhouse on the standard route. The west ridge is a good alternative to the standard route on Quandary.
Impressive performance by the GoldenBear earned him a helmet and sponsorship from Tecate
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):