| Fathers Day weekend on Quandary
I debated even putting this trip report up as there are dozens of Quandary reports, including one from my first ascent, but I did respond to a few questions about current conditions on the forum, and the more important fact, of I am especially proud of my 9 year old son for making the summit and wanting to share that with the group.
My kids are off track of school right now and they each made a list of things they wanted to do. Number one on my son's to-do-list was "hike another 14er with Dad" How can any father read that and not jump at the chance. I asked him which one he wanted to climb.. "Longs Peak." My response "Um..no, try again"
So after some back and forth I settled on either Quandary or Sherman as a good choices for us, leaving the final selection up to him. His only question was "Which ones harder Dad? Because that's the one I want to do."
Our day started out with a 3:30am wake up call. We had packed up our gear the night before so we grabbed some breakfast and hit the road arriving at the Quandary TH at 6:30am.
My son at the TH ready to go. A note to Bill here: we had our 14er sticker in the back window and I was proudly displaying my 14ers.com T-Shirt, but no Bill in sight to reward us with a GPS…;)
This is one of the rare 14ers that the TH is well below tree line so we enjoyed our time hiking through the trees. The trail has spotty snow it and late in the day made for some muddy areas. There were also several downed trees that I am sure will eventually be cleared.
This is one of the first good views you get of Quandary as you are just about to break above treeline. Yes that tiny dot far off in the distance is the summit.
Just below tree line and where the trail crosses a wooden bridge the snow completely blocks the way. At this point you leave the designated trail and just start heading up the snow field to the top of the ridge line. Trekking poles and or an ice ax made this area a breeze.
Once past the first snow field you are treated to a nice view of the summit waaay off in the distance. For those of you who have hiked Quandary before you know that it's a long way to the summit from here and so many false summit views that you can't begin to count them.
The lower section of the ridge is just one snow filed after another, it also gives you a good look at the snow conditions
This is looking south at the L/B/D combo, my son was already asking me when we were going to climb those.
This is where the gentle ridge hiking stops and you start to gain some serious elevation in a relatively short distance. It was a bit disheartening to my son who kept thinking the summit was just over the next ridge, only to be presented with this.
A view looking back on the route we just came up.
My son taking a breather, if you look above his left shoulder you can see there were a lot of people on the mountain that day. I think he won the prize for being the youngest at 9 years old. Everyone was very encouraging to him and impressed that he was not only heading to the summit but that it was going to be his 4th 14er.
Another shot a little further up showing the entire ridge route, yes the truck is way back there among those tiny green dots that are really trees.
The final push to the summit. As you can tell it's entirely covered in snow. This is where it took a lot of reassurance to convince my son that the summit really was close because he had been thinking that all day long.
Getting a well earned congratulations (via the cell phone) from mom after reaching the summit
Spectacular views to the north, I love snow covered peaks
This was the fun part.. boot skiing back down. To put it into perspective it took 2 hours to get up this section and less than 15minutes to go back down. Gaiters would have been nice here.
The adrenaline of hitting the summit wearing off and the reality of the long trek back to the TH warranted a rest, I guess when you are tired anywhere works!
All rested, invincible and King of the Hill!
Marmot letting us know we were not welcome on his turf
Mountain goat on the way back down.
All around a great time and beautiful day to be on the mountain. Its only wetted my appetite for the summer hiking season. I could not have asked for a better Father's day present.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):