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Quandary for first 14er

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Quandary for first 14er

Postby aggiegeog » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:51 am

We are from Texas and will be staying in Breck all of next week for our honeymoon so I am hoping to have a chance to finally get a 14er. I have done some hiking in the past most recently West Spanish Peak a couple years ago and Jicarita Peak in NM before that; my soon-to-be wife has never been to the mountains so I will be trying to break her into the world of hiking.
From what I can tell Quandary seems to be a good introductory peak. Am I correct in my understanding that most of the rains of the past week have stayed away from this area? It appears that the weather will be clear for most of next week though I saw that Snow Forecast is predicting the possibility of an upper low dropping out of the NW bringing snow the first snowstorm of the year to the mountains down to about Breck elevation. Hopefully the weather holds and we can start checking peaks off of the list.
Any advice you can provide will be much appreciated.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby peter303 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:56 am

Its a good choice and easy to drive to the trailhead.
I'd recommend not doing it until you slept at Breck altitude for several nights to better acclimatize.
A good warmup hike would be to drive to the top of Loveland Pass, not too far from Breck, and hike up either side. Great Views!
The Pass starts at 12K feet.
Last edited by peter303 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby Pops921 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:14 am

Quandry is a good first 14er. Road is easy. Trail is easy to follow. Popular.

The central mountains saw mostly typical afternoon thunderstorms, heavy in some places...but nothing like Boulder/Estes Park area.

Expect cooler temperatures up top. Temperatures drop about 3.5 degree for every 1,000' of elevation gain. Dress in layers, including some warm layers in your day pack. Gloves and hat could be handy.

Two liters of water (or sports drink) per person, you may be able to get by with less, but why push it. Bring snacks for fuel, try and eat something every 1-2 hours to maintain energy.

Focusing on good deep breathing will help you at higher altitudes.

Have fun.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby aggiegeog » Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:21 am

Thanks for the tips. We will arrive in Breck on Sunday and plan to hike on Wed or Thu so we will have a fews day at altitude before the hike. I will be bringing my cool weather hiking gear and we are going to probably stop by REI or somewhere in Denver to get my wife some gear (not much selection in East Texas right now :lol: )

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby pw » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:35 am

Quandary is a great first fourteener - nice trail, very straightforward, and not too much vertical as peaks go. If you don't know of it, take a warm up hike to Mohawk Lake. I can never remember if it's Lower Mohawk Lake and Mohawk Lake, or Mohawk Lake and Upper Mohawk Lake. Either way, great stroll, I always try to get my out of state visitors up there (but they never listen to me). Take Spruce Creek Road just south of Breckendridge to get to the trail, skip the first parking spot and drive as far as you can up the road.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby aggiegeog » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:12 am

I will definitely look into the recommended warm-ups. How does Quandary compare to the DCLB loop?

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby peter303 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:24 am

aggiegeog wrote:I will definitely look into the recommended warm-ups. How does Quandary compare to the DCLB loop?

Quandry has easier trailhead access. DCLB has long forest road, becoming rough at the end. Quandry is almost all paved.

DCLB is longer if you do all four peaks. Two longish uphills, two short uphills. The final annoying scree downhill.
You can always return after just Democrat, whether due to bad weather rolling in or fatigue.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby Tornadoman » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:40 am

Quandary is a much nicer hike then the DCLB loop as well. More scenic, more pleasant, not all the scree, etc. You could always try to do both... but if it is one or the other I think you will enjoy Quandary more.

I believe the road to DCLB experienced a washout a mile or 2 below the trailhead from the recent heavy rains, so you may well need 4wd to get through.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby aggiegeog » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:08 pm

I was leaning towards Quandary so that will be my first goal. Plus I will be in a rental car so the better road is a big plus.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby ThuChad » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:48 pm

Hiking with your wife that's not a hiker and hasn't been to the mountains could be frustrating for both parties if you don't go into it with the right attitude. I speak from experience. My wife and I attempted Quandary the year we got married. I was hell bent on summiting and she wanted to do a nice stroll through the woods. Needless to say, she's not a big fan of 14ers now. She still likes strolls through the woods though.

I'm sure you'll both be fine. Have fun! :-D
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby wineguy » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:37 pm

As another possibility for a warm-up, consider Crystal Peak. Trailhead is close to Breckenridge, and in MHOP, much more scenic than Quandary. Even if you don't summit, it's a beautiful basin.
Life is a long lesson in humility. - James Barrie

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Re: Quandary for first 14er

Postby Peak_One » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:19 pm

I see someone recommended two liters of water. I'd take at least three! Drink often, expect to urinate frequently. If you're not doing these things, it just won't be much fun.

Quandary should be fine as a first 14er, but I would follow the recommendations of a preparatory hike the first day. Loveland would be appropriate, but I suggest Upper Crystal Lake following the route at this link. It's quite enjoyable, very scenic and easily accessible from Breckenridge.

http://www.summitcountyexplorer.com/HIKES/Upper%20Crystal%20Lake%20-%20Hiking%20Trail.htm

ETA: I see someone mentioned Crystal Peak. The Upper Crystal Lake hike puts you about 850 feet below Crystal's summit and gives you the option of ascending via the saddle between Crystal and Peak 10.
"The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun!"- Alex Lowe.

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