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Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Bluefin234 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:31 am

First time poster, long time lurker.
I'll be flying into Denver on 12/13 and spend a couple of nights in Breck for acclimatization. Planning to do Quandary on 12/14, standard east ridge route and Mt. Bierstadt standard on 12/15. Mt. Bierstadt may or may not happen depending on the Quandary outing and timing. I have to be back in Denver on 12/15 for a dinner at seven. Got the gear and relevant experience, cold and wind will be the challenge.
Company welcome.
53 year old male, physically fit, former Marathon runner, mountain experience stems from California and Switzerland.

BTW, this is a great board with tons of useful information. Thank you all.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby kushrocks » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:38 am

Just fyi Bierstadt is a lot longer this time of year due to the winter road closure. With snow coming in Friday and Saturday it might not hurt to have a backup plan for Bierstadt. Quandary is a good starter peak but since it will most likely be snowing Saturday I would make sure you have a gps with you and all the gear needed for hiking in the snow and cold.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Bluefin234 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi kushrocks,
I'll be carrying a gps and track my route so I can follow it back. It's probably overkill, but I'll be wearing mountaineering boots and also bring crampons and the ice axe.
I read about the bierstadt approach and it could be an issue if I don't get up at six. What would you suggest as an alternative? Your advise is greatly appreciated.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Andymcp1 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:45 am

Bluefin, You can come join myself and a few others on James peak on Saturday. Its a 13er, but is close by bierdstat.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Bluefin234 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:51 am

Hi Andy,
James peak might work better for me time wise. When and where do you guys meet? Which route are you taking?

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Andymcp1 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:56 am

I am waiting to hear back from a few others on the meet up, but we will probbably meet in westminster and car pool up. I am hoping for a 7:30 start time, from the saint marys TH. It is about 8 miles rt and looks like a pretty easy day.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby SteveBonowski » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:26 pm

FWIW, I'm scheduled to lead Quandary on Saturday for the CMC. I've led it before in December several times. It is not a pleasant experience with high wind and the one time I tried it in snow and cold, we did not summit. One person got up on the summit ridge and couldn't stand upright due to wind. I'm moving my trip to a lower elevation.

If you plan to do it, good idea to have the mountaineering boots and ice axe. Crampons are probably overkill. Steve

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Bluefin234 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:01 pm

Got a late start at 8 am. It was snowing pretty good at the trailhead. No problems until I got above the tree line and onto the ridge. Temp was about 5 F and driving snow with 20-30 mph winds. My hands got really cold and I had trouble gripping my poles. The tips of my fingers really hurt when I touched them. Turned around just below the prominent bump at 13100. No summit today, but it was still a great outing and a good gear test.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby kushrocks » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:18 pm

Sounds like you made a good call. What gloves were you using that your hands got so cold? No shame in turning around man. If you learn from it it just makes you a better climber.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby Bluefin234 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:56 pm

Hi kushrocks, Thanks for the kind words. I was wearing outdoor research alti gloves. They are rated to -27! These are the coldest rated gloves that rei sells. My fingers easily get cold, but considering the gloves I was wearing this was unexpected. I calculated the windchill at -40, coldest temps I have ever been in.

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Re: Quandary East Ridge 12/14, Mt.Bierstadt 12/15

Postby smoove » Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:12 pm

Bluefin234 wrote:Hi kushrocks, Thanks for the kind words. I was wearing outdoor research alti gloves. They are rated to -27! These are the coldest rated gloves that rei sells. My fingers easily get cold, but considering the gloves I was wearing this was unexpected. I calculated the windchill at -40, coldest temps I have ever been in.


I agree with kushrocks! Good decision-making. For me personally, gloves just don't cut it in conditions like that. I wear mittens (BD Mercury Mitts) on top of liner gloves. Good to have extra mittens and chemical handwarmers, too.

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