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 Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  06/09/2008 Modified: 05/27/2014
 Date Climbed:   06/09/2008
 Posted By:  BillMiddlebrook

 Quandary: Cristo Primo    

Route: South Gully (aka "Cristo" Couloir)
Elevation Gain: 2,700'
Time to summit: 2 hours, 20 minutes (must have been the Pop Tarts!)
Notable Gear: Crampons, poles (1 whippet), AT boots and skis, beacon, shovel, probe (yes, even solo)

Ok, I wouldn't normally put up this trip report because I've skied it a bunch of times, but I wanted to share the favorable JUNE snow conditions. If you plan on climbing or climbing/skiing this route, I hope the photos are helpful.

Map of the day (Red=climb, Blue=Ski):


Drove to within 0.2 mile of the Blue Lakes trailhead and started climbing at 6:00am. In breezy and chilly conditions, I hauled butt up to 12,300' where I intersected the base of the gully and noticed a couple of climbers above.
(Click for larger photos)
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Most of the snow was rock-hard from the overnight freeze but there were also patches of powder that settled in the previous day.
The photos:
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Looking across the gully, toward Mt. Democrat. You can see the climbers I passed during the ascent. They dislodged a couple of rocks, so I opted to take a steeper line near the center of the gully.
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Looking down much of the route:
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To stay on continuous snow, I had to head east near 13,900':
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Glorious snow:
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Approaching the top:
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Not much of the route can be seen once you're near the summit:
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A very nice day:
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I topped out at 8:20 - way too early for corn. The low temps and breeze were going to slow down the "corning" process, so I stayed on the summit for about an hour and a half.

A few more shots taken during the ski descent - I didn't have a partner, so no action shots:
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Below 12,200', in the narrow run-out below the gully:
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A broad look at the route (taken from the south end of the dam):
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Red=climb, Blue=ski:
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A closer look at the upper gully:
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How were the ski conditions?
Surprisingly good! The sun softened the snow below 14,000'. Near the top there were large patches of fresh snow and below 13,700' it was corn. I skied off the summit and only took off the skis for about 20', near 14,000'. Below that it was continous snow down to the bottom of the gully. Nice.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 
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