Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  06/19/2011
Date Climbed:   06/18/2011
Author:  OnyourLeft

 Quandry-East Ridge  

I truck camped about a mile past the TH and hit the trail at 4:45 a.m. The morning was calm and clear with almost no wind at all. Trail was mostly snow free until about 12,300 ft. My dog spooked a large bull mountain goat about 250 feet away and this was the first time I have seen one. First snow field to cross was around 12,500 ft. Even that early in the morning the snow was soft and prone to post-holing.

Although I was the first one on the mountain I knew someone would pass me eventually and at about 13,000 ft a couple of 20 somethings did so. At about that time the weather changed dramatically when it started snowing. Also a fair amount of verglass on the rocks. Pretty soon the wind kicked up and at about 13,500 it was severe enough that I saw at least one hiker further behind turn around.

At about 13,800 ft. it was sporadic white out conditions. The wind was so strong it literally forced me to my knees a couple of times. After about 14,000 ft the next 200 feet were the hardest and I ended up south of the actual route by maybe 20 meters. This put me on a steep slope and with the wind and snow I ended up crawling a lot of it on my hands and feet while using my ice ax.

The two guys ahead of me came down from the summit about then and I worked my way back up to the route. And then there I was. I put my name in the log book at the summit (along with my German Shepard climbing partner's name of course). Within about 10 minutes the weather broke and it was clear skies all around.

Other than some expected gusty winds coming down the rest of the climb down was sunny and nice. People coming up were post-holing even in snow shoes so I'm not sure how much of a help they would be considering the moderate temps.

This was my first successful summit of a 14er and I felt like I earned it. My 9 year old GS proved herself a true mountain dog.


 Comments or Questions

the misery of post-holing
06/26/2011 17:59
I attempted Quandary in Feb with an experienced buddy. He said ”it'll be so cold and early, the path and snow will be frozen and can be walked on, you won't need s/shoes...perhaps c'pons at top.” I post-holed in 3' snow for so long (while he scooted up with skins'n skis) that by the time I got to the last pitch, I was exhausted and cramping up. Given the above 6/18 post of ”post-holing with snow shoes” and with zero desire to repeat...anyone have a sense for when this will be walkable sans soft snow?

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