| Quandary - East Ridge
After a disappointing attempt at Quandary last month, several members of the Colorado Springs Mountaineering Club (what a group of 14ers.com people from the Springs area have taken to calling ourselves) were chomping at the bit to get back to the Peak to summit. dcbates80911 emailed me a few weeks ago, after the 14ers.com Winter Gathering, and wanted to know my interest in climbing:
"It has been bugging me since Feb 2nd, not reaching Quandry‘s summit."
How could I say no to that? Anyway, a few weeks and several invites later, we were set! We (dcbates80911, dlcrow, purplepaddler, msc118, her friend Zach, and I) met up at the West Colorado Safeway at 0530...ok, ok, well they did. I seem to have this problem of running perpetually 10-15 minutes late and naturally forgot my outer shell halfway there and had to turn around to get it... Sorry guys!
Anyway, we hit the road and on the way discussed the weather...the forecast had continually deteriorated throughout the week; from a high of 32 and trace winds with a slight chance of snow to a high of 5, gusts of 46mph and 2-5 inches of snow. However, the 14ers gods were apparently smiling on our outing, and the outlook had improved dramatically, clearing to be a great day!
The moon setting over the Collegiates on the way (sorry it‘s kinda blurry):
Mt. Princeton in the early morning light:
We got to the trailhead around 730, got on our gear and hit the trail by about 815:
After hitting the trail, we all realized we were very glad to have brought along snowshoes, as there were some ugly postholes from previous climbers who didn‘t have them. It had snowed quite a bit up there since I had been up Hoosier Pass for the Winter Gathering, but luckily, the weather seemed like it would hold for us!
dcbates80911, purplepaddler, and msc118 taking a quick break before heading further up the trail:
Heading up the ridge, with the summit in the background:
The climb up the ridge was quite a bit tougher than we had imagined, even with the beautiful weather...there were only a few times we had to stop to put on more layers, but most of the time, we were just in softshells or less! We all reached the summit successfully just before 1 or so!
The group on the summit:
Hehe, although some of us reached it more triumphantly than others; here‘s purplepaddler giddily running towards the summit! :
And....here‘s me, suckin‘ wind just about to the summit :
Regardless of how we got there, we were all ecstatic to have made it to the top, especially the ones who had missed out on the summit during the last attempt!
The way down was much more enjoyable...although in our haste to speed down the mountain, we turned an otherwise innocuous one-lane snowshoe path into something of a snowshoe super-highway!
The merry band of downclimbers:
We were also very excited to meet Horton, the "Quandary dog", of whom we had heard so much about! Let me tell you, this guy is a beast! He was running along the trail up and down, chasing skiers and having a blast!!
dcbates80911 looking suave on the downclimb:
We made great time downclimbing with high spirits and sore legs. We arrived back at the vehicles around 330, stopping only to take a triumphant picture at the trailhead sign:
All in all, it was a fantastic trip! Had a great time with old friends, met new ones, summitted a beautiful peak on an even more beautiful day, and spent our Saturday doing something that we all love!