Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Post Date:  01/09/2011
Date Climbed:   12/27/2010
Posted By:  stevevets689

 My First Ski Descent   

Peak: Quandary
Route: East Ridge
Participants: stevevets689, BillMiddlebrook

I know lots of East Ridge climbing and skiing reports are already up on the site but seeing as this was my first 14er descent (and first time climbing/skiing with Bill), I felt the need to put this up.

Despite a jam-packed winter break including tons of family time and a trip to Toronto, I wanted to fit some kind of high elevation adventure into the mix. Thanks to Facebook, I arranged to meet with Bill for my first ski descent of a 14er on good 'ol Quandary. This being Bill's fortieth or fiftieth time climbing Quandary with numerous ski descents of the East Ridge, I figured I was with just about the very best person to be with for this particular venture.

We met up at the trailhead at about 7:20am and got moving up the trail. There is already a fantastic skin track up the East Ridge, making the going very easy. The weather was good to start with, but of course as we got above the trees the wind opened up and we both moved to protect our skins from the -30 degree wind chill.

Bill skinning up the trail

The trail was very well packed

Me skinning past treeline

Bill skinning up the lower part of the ridge

Farther up the ridge, the cloud cover that we had been skinning through subsided and we were greeted with a sunny day on Quandary with very little wind. We kept up a steady pace, skinning all the way to the summit minus taking our skis off near 13,100 feet due to some rocks on the ridge. We planned out our descent on the way up, looking for the safest and most continuous line down.


Conditions high on the ridge

Bill skinning the upper portion of the ridge

Myself skinning the upper portion of the ridge

The summit was a bit windy but we were able to take shelter behind some rocks for a while, and then we un-skinned and got ready for the descent. I led the way off the summit, and then Bill took over route-finding for much of the descent. We had a mild breakable crust high on the ridge but by the time we were back in the trees we were skiing perfect powder out to the road. Awesome snow for December!

Looking North from the summit

Looking West from the summit

Myself on the summit, about to begin the descent

Off I go!

Me skiing the upper part of the East Face


Bill skiing the face. I didn't get a lot of pictures of him but took some video, which I will upload as soon as I can find some editing software


Hiking back up to ski the lower face

Conditions on the upper East Face on Dec 27th. Pretty wide coverage!

Bill skiing the lower East Face



Very happy after skiing powder through the trees

Bill, thank you very much for accompanying me on my first 14er descent, it was a blast!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Congrats again, Stephen!
01/10/2011 00:25
It was a great day and surprisingly good powder in the trees made it a fine December descent. Let me know when you'd like to get another one!


Nice one!
03/04/2012 18:31
Photo number 7 is awesome, a lot more snow than I would have expected. Good job on your first 14er descent, hopefully not your last.


Looks like a nice day
01/13/2011 10:30
I've been wanting to try a ski descent of Quandary, but haven't been up there with the AT equipment yet. It sure looks like you guys had a good run at it, with more snow coverage than I would have expected.

I really like the 5th picture you posted. The clouds really make the shot for me!


01/13/2011 11:28
Great job on your first ski descent. It is also going to be my first ski descent in a couple of weeks. Your pics definately have me looking foward to it.

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