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 Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  08/05/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/01/2009
 Posted By:  k-berger

 Quandary West Ridge   

A couple of buddies and I (Jake, Jono, Christian and myself (k-berger)) decided to climb Quandary via the west ridge . Three of us had climbed the sawtooth ridge before as prior experience goes and one was a 14er newbie (several 12 and 13ers however). We had heard that there had been snow in the high country of Breckenridge the day before but we definitely weren't prepared for the amount of snow we found. We left the upper trailhead around 6:00 and were treated with some beautiful views.


Here are the first views of the hike
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After losing the trail early on (frustrating mistake on my part, lost about an hour because of it), we made our way near the base of Fletcher before traversing over to the ridge.

Here are some of the first views we had of the snow covered ridge
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After gaining the ridge we had some beautiful views of the other side
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The first part on the ridge is very straight forward, just traversing the left side
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After this fun little walk we got a view of the difficult terrain ahead
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The mine shaft (?) right before the real fun began
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One of the easy pitches at the beginning of the towers
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Jake climbing up the first difficult section of the route. This piece would have been very easy without the fresh snow cover.
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A close up of Jake in the gully
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From here the pictures of the route get a little scarce. There were some pretty sketchy areas due to the snow, hence, my camera stayed in my pocket. There was one section, if it was melted out, would be just a quick walk across a very steep gully, but with the snow this pitch was far too dangerous. We decided to go straight up a class 4 face of the tower, while safer than the alternative, the exposure made you pay attention.

Jake and Jono picking their way through some tight rock
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A shot of the exposure on a brief catwalk before the crux. The view was similar on the other side
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Jake, Jono and Christian exiting the catwalk section
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Before beginning the crux of the climb there is a downclimb to the bottom of the last tower. As you can see, some of the exposure here is quite dramatic. *(for some reason this photo is not showing in the text, if interested, the photo does show at the bottom if you scroll over it)*


After the downclimb we planned our attack on the crux
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We decided, per the advice from Bill and 14ers.com, to climb directly up the staircase up the middle of the tower. From this point we exited to the left before the steep crack just before the top. The picture below is Christian taking on the last real challenge of the day, exiting the crux. This was a pretty straightforward move for Jono and myself (long legged folk) but a bit of a challenge for our more stoutly friends
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After that it is easy climbing to the summit, and a little relief from all of us given the slippery and exposed route.
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The obligatory summit shot (Christian, Jake, myself and Jono)
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We had originally planned to descend the standard route and then hike the two miles back up to the upper trailhead, but the sight of our cars down a coulior was too much to pass up so we decided to decend directly down.
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We saw a mountain goat and her baby on the way down, a bad picture, but my friend got some great shots of the two of them
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The couloir was pretty steep and loose, definately want to keep an eye out for falling rock. We made it back to the car at 1:30...Would have been about an hr earlier or so if I had not gotten us lost in the beginning.

Overall this was a really fun route made a lot more spicy with some fresh snow. There is a lot of exposure on this route that makes it very fun and a great sat morning. We wanted to do a climb close to Denver we hadn't done, but we weren't really interested in a class one hike, this route fit the bill perfectly. Overall a very fun day!!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (1)
astromwall


Nice Job!     2009-08-06 16:13:30
I climbed this route last year and had a lot of fun. My wife and I and 2 our our pals were the only people up that route that day and i stepped on a boulder on a slight down climb and it let go and almost took me with it. Then the next day a guy went alone and died. Glad you made it up safe!



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