Quandary Peak - East Ridge
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
(Spring/Summer/Fall) Local residents have been complaining about cars parked in front of their homes so the Sheriff has been placing warning notices on cars. If the main trailhead (0.1 mile up the 851 road) lot is full, cars should park up along the 851 road or in the overflow lot, down at the start of the 850 road. PLEASE DO NOT park on the side of the 850 road, in front of homes.
|Difficulty:|| Class 1 |
Ski: Intermediate, D3 / R1 / II
|Total Gain:||3,450 feet|
|RT Length:||6.75 miles|
|County Sheriff:||Summit: 970-453-2232
|National Forest:||White River|
From Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on Colorado 9. Turn right (west) on the 850 (Blue Lakes) Road. Drive a few hundred yards and turn right on the 851 (McCullough Gulch) Road. Drive 0.1 mile to the signed trailhead and small parking area. If the trailhead lot is full, cars should park along the 851 road or in the overflow lot, down at the start of the 850 road. PLEASE DO NOT park on the side of the 850 road, in front of homes. The trail starts just above the trailhead, on the 851 road.
Photo #1 shows the east ridge route from the east. From the trailhead, walk up the road a short distance and start (west) up the marked trail - Photo #2. Continue through the forest to a large rock on the right side of trail (Photo #3), turn right and follow the great trail up through the forest - Photo #4. Above 11,300', pass through some clearings (Photo #5) before hiking up a hill where the trees begin to thin out. Gain the crest of the east ridge near 11,600' and continue through a flat area (Photo #6) to reach the base of a slope ( 39.39091° N, -106.07315° W) - Photo #7.
IN SUMMER: Follow the well-built trail toward the left (south) side of the east ridge and gradually ascend west - Photo #8 and Photo #9. Near 12,800', re-gain the ridge (Photo #10) and continue west to a 13,150-foot point ( 39.39507° N, -106.09193° W) on the ridge - Photo #11.
IN WINTER: Instead of hiking left into possible avalanche terrain, pick your line and ascend the slope in Photo #7 to gain a 12,100-foot point along the ridge. Stay on the ridge and continue to a 13,150-foot point ( 39.39507° N, -106.09193° W) - Photo #11.
From 13,150', walk west along a flat section and begin climbing the final 1,000' of upper ridge - Photo #12. There are multiple trail sections between 13,400' and 14,000' but the route is clear - stay on the ridge where you can see across Quandary's upper east slope to your right - Photo #12, Photo #13, Photo #14 and Photo #15. Gain the summit ridge and walk over to the top ( 39.397236° N, -106.106430° W) - Photo #16, Photo #17 and Photo #18.
The East Slopes hold good snow in the spring. Through May, the upper east slope (14,265' down to 13,100') and the lower east slope (12,700' down to 11,700') should have continuous snow.
Quandary's east ridge route gets very crowded on summer weekends.
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