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!