| Quandary East Ridge
It's hard to do a trip report on a peak that is climbed as often as Quandary. If nothing else, this report will supply a few pretty pictures and give future climbers a representative snapshot of how Quandary looks this time of year.
Distance: 6.7 miles
Average Speed: 1.0 mph
TH to Summit: 4:06
Time on Summit: 0:30
Summit to TH: 2:08
Friday (24 April 09) ended up being a beautiful day for a climb. We were a bit concerned about Saturday with a 70% chance of snow. So, bbishop02 and I took the day off work and met at the trailhead a little before 7 am. About the only complaint I can make is that we had a fairly strong wind in our face most of the way up. We were both glad we brought ski goggles and something to cover our faces.
I‘ll explain the rest of the trip in pictures!
Quandary Peak from Hoosier Pass as I was approaching from the south.
The true trailhead is still snowed in, but it is a VERY short walk from Blue Lakes Road. Snow in the morning was hard and crusty - easy to walk on without snowshoes.
It started out as a beautiful day! We got a little off trail at one point and had to bushwack (if you can call it that) up this slope to get back to the trail. Up until this point, no snowshoes were required, but after a couple small postholes and some slipping on the steep slope, we decided to put them on, and were glad we did!
Here's bbishop02 looking happy on the way up! This was pretty close to treeline. The snow was still easy to walk on, but even easier with the snowshoes.
Clouds began moving in, but we never did see any precipitation. Off to the north-east, you can easily see Grays and Torreys.
Looking west, the sky was still blue. The summit is in view!
Looking to the south, one of the Blue Lakes was still frozen over. I decided this wasn't the best place for glissading.
As we approached the final steep pitch to the summit, we passed this wind-swept section. We were able to keep our snowshoes on and keep ascending to the left of the rocks.
Looking off to the south (on the way up the final slope), Bross, Lincoln, Cameron and Democrat become visible. That "hump" in front of them is North Star Mountain according to my maps
Looking North, Grays & Torreys are visible as well as the back side of Breckenridge.
Looking back (east) down the slope, bbishop02 is right behind me!
Looking ahead (west) towards the summit, the way became quite a bit more snow packed. In fact, I'm going to claim this as a 14,268 foot peak for this climb. We had at least an additional 3 feet of snow on top!
The Summit! Like I said, that snowbank is at least an additional 3 feet of climbing!
Here's a view west down the Class 3 section of the west ridge. Something I hope to do someday... in the summer.
Here's a representative picture from the top. As you can see, things were getting hazy. Also, you can see that the region still had quite a significant amount of snow. Views were similar in all directions.
Mandatory summit shot. Have to prove I made it!
Our attempts at glissading proved only marginally successful. Above 13,000 feet, the snow was still hard and crusty... making it painful and sometimes difficult to maintain control. I didn't bring my ice axe, so I was a bit skittish about going too fast. Below 13,000 feet, it was so slushy that it just wasn't feasible to glissade.
- We were greeted at the trailhead by Horton the Quandary Dog! Unfortunately, he followed a pair of hikers going up just ahead of us.
- No problems with post-holing until treeline on the way back down. With careful navigation, you could avoid a lot of it, but bbishop02 and I both sunk in a few times up to our waist. In one case my legs went at odd angles and I had to "dig" myself out!
- After getting back to the trailhead, my car wouldn't start! Looks like it may have been the fuel pump, but I had to get it towed to a mechanic (where it still remains). I'm just glad this didn't happen last summer on South Colony Lakes Road!
- I don't know what is wrong with me, but I get sunburned every time I hike. Despite SPF 50+ sunscreen and wearing a balaclava most of the time, my face was red and peeling the last couple days. Anyone have any advice?
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):