Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  07/28/2011
Modified:  07/29/2011
Date Climbed:   07/24/2011
Author:  bandofbrothersomaha
 "Rooftop" Experience on Quandary  

Summit Elevation: 14,265’
Date climbed: July 24, 2011
Trailhead / Basecamp / Route: Quandary Trailhead at 10,850’ / our basecamp was at Windy Point campground on Lake Dillon / Standard East Ridge
Total Round-trip Distance (approach and climb): 6.75 miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,450’
Rating: Class I
Fun Facts: Peak Challenge is in its sixth year. Over that time, we have taken hundreds of men and young men to experience hiking 14,000’ peaks and have helped develop the spiritual journey with Jesus Christ for men all across the country and the world. Check out for more information. You can also check out and "like" Band of Brothers Network on Facebook, where there are more stories and photos.
Climb Times, for Reference: Our faster hikers – trailhead to summit to trailhead – 3 hours 30 minutes. Team Alex that took Alex to the top – trailhead to summit to trailhead – 7 hours and 30 minutes
The Team: Band of Brothers Network. We had 125 men hike from all across the country and two men off the missionary field in Taiwan and China. 14er member Bandofbrothersomaha is the leader of Band of Brothers Network –


One day Jesus was teaching the people. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there too. They had come from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. The Lord (God) was giving Jesus the power to heal people. There was a man that was paralyzed (crippled). Some friends carried him on a mat. The men tried to bring him and put him down before Jesus. But there were so many people that the men could not find a way to Jesus. So the men went up on the roof and lowered the crippled man down through a hole in the ceiling. They lowered the mat {into the room} so that the crippled man was lying before Jesus. Jesus saw that these men believed. Jesus said to the sick man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Jewish teachers of the law and the Pharisees thought to themselves, "Who is this man (Jesus)? He is saying things that are against God! Only God can forgive sins." But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said, "Why do you have these questions in your minds? The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. But how can I prove this to you? Maybe you are thinking it was easy for me to say, 'Your sins are forgiven.' {No one could see if it really happened.} But what if I say to the man, 'Stand up and walk'? Then you will be able to see that I really have this power." So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, stand up! Take your mat and go home!" Then the man stood up before the people there. He picked up his mat and walked home, praising God. All the people were fully amazed. They began to praise God. The people were filled with much respect {for God's power}. They said, "Today we saw amazing things!" Luke 5:17-26

Windy Point Campground Pavilion

A long caravan of cars, trucks and SUVs left the Windy Point campground on the SE side of Lake Dillon at 5:30 am on Sunday, July 25th, 2011. More than 120 men and young men from all across the country and two from China were here as a part of Peak Challenge (see above description). The weekend was to culminate in a hike of Quandary Peak. Almost 40 of these 120 men had already taken on and summited Mount Massive the day before. Getting all of these cars through the lights in Breckenridge and finding space for them at the trailhead was a challenge in and of itself!

Quandary Trailhead

East Ridge Trailhead

With this many guys, we had drilled into their minds about how important it was to take care of each other and to take care of others on the trail. They knew the importance of “Leave No Trace” and were very mindful of staying on the trail and packing everything out. Everyone had trained and prepared for this and safety on the mountain was our number one priority. We were well aware of weather risks and although the forecast for that day showed less than a 10% chance of afternoon storms, we were moving early to get off the summit early. Many of these guys have hiked 10+ 14ers over the course of 5 years and were well prepared.

Trailhead Prayer

At the trailhead, we had a time of prayer and then released our faster hikers and others that would not be helping with our special project. If any of you were on Quandary that day, you may have seen color coded prayer flags at certain parts of the trail. We used these prayer stations and packed out the flags at the end of the day. These guys left the trailhead at approximately 6:30 am.

Most of Team Alex (some not pictured)

Alex and one of his brothers

Almost 30 men however desired to be a part of something special and stayed at the trailhead. These were young and strong hikers that would do something extraordinary that day. One of our men had three sons out there. One of the sons is a 14 year old young man that has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. Many weeks ago, he approached us and desired to bring his sons out to Peak Challenge and to find a way to get Alex to the top. Over the course of those weeks, one of our men helped design and build the litter/stretcher device that we practiced with and tested with Alex before the hike. It had great features to displace the weight on the front carrier’s shoulders and the back carrier’s waist. We had planned for almost any problem and had medical and support systems in place. One of our hikers was a vascular surgeon and others with the group had formal medical training. Alex was not affected by the high altitude and his CP did not put him at risk for it. The picture you see is most of the “A Team” or “Team Alex” at the trailhead. Before anyone flames this post, please realize that this was not done for publicity and was not a stunt. This was a monumental task that was well planned, thought out and executed. It was an overwhelming show of love from men that wanted a 14 year old young man to experience what other 14 year olds can experience.

Team Alex beginning the hike

At approximately 7:00 am, Team Alex left the trailhead, venturing into the unknown as they made their way up the first ¼ mile of switchbacks. At this point, and at all points throughout the hike, men were rotating in and out of carrying Alex. We had a front man that had a shoulder harness on the poles. The back man had a carpenter belt like device that had large metal rings where the poles could go into so that the weight was displaced to the waist of the carrier and not all in his arms. On both sides of Alex were spotters to be sure that the litter device did not tip. The carriers rotated in and out every several hundred yards or so. In addition, we had a team leader that would be in front calling out foot positions and watching the condition of the carriers. Alex was able to sit up in the litter and he wore a helmet for his own protection.

Men hiking

Our 120 men and young men were making great time on the trail and many had pushed through treeline before 8:00 am.

Team Alex ascending

Team Alex broke through treeline not long after that and began to wind its way up the rocky backside of the mountain. The team was very cognizant of other hikers and pulled off and stopped to the side to let hikers going up and coming down pass them. It was truly amazing to watch our men (some in their late teens, early 20’s, 30’s and 40’s) working together and having fun. Alex is simply a normal 14 year old young man that just happens to have cerebral palsy. Other than that, he is a normal 14 year old and was dishing out barbs as much as he was taking them!

Team Alex making progress

As we moved higher along the backside of the mountain towards the saddle, more and more people we met began to ask what we were doing. One wondered if it was a SAR training exercise. As we told the story, it was truly spectacular to see the strong spirit in people to encourage and cheer Alex on. We did not encounter anyone that had anything negative to say about the experience. That is a huge compliment to all of the folks out on and others that were on the mountain that day.

Team Alex was moving strong… far stronger than I thought that we could do. There is no doubt in my mind that God was giving these men extraordinary strength, focus and determination to get their friend to the top. Just as in the opening verse of this report, they were going to do whatever it took, even going through the rooftop, to get their friend to where he needed to be.

Mountain goats that love to pose

The saddle was reached at approximately 9:20 am, less than 2 hours and 20 minutes from the time they launched from the trailhead. The team took a break and got to see and greet the ever present mountain goats on the saddle. I have hiked Quandary three times and have always seen goats on the saddle.

Men hiking

Some of our men on top

Most of our men were already near the top or on top of Quandary at this time. We brought in and packed out a large 2’ x 3’ peak poster to use for photo ops. I know that others that were hiking that day got a chance to get their pics with the poster as well. Glad you could use it!

Team Alex on the final stretch

Quandary Peak summit

With some rest, the last and toughest pitch would be the final push up the rocky trail to the summit. Some of the steeper sections in that last ½ mile or so required the pace to slow and for men to carefully pick their foot positions as they carried Alex up higher and higher.

What we saw that day in the last ¾ of a mile was extraordinary. Hikers were waiting for Team Alex and were encouraging them in the last stretch. Tears were being shed by people who did not know Alex but who connected to the powerful and inspirational story that was happening. It was a deeply connecting time for two of our men on Team Alex, as they were both fathers of sons who were confined in wheelchairs.

Quandary summit

At approximately 10:35 am, Team Alex was less than 200 yards from the summit. As they came onto the stretch that levels out right before the summit, a huge group of people that were on the summit stood, clapped and cheered for Alex as he rode onto the summit. What an amazing scene to see people from all walks of life, faith and condition participate in a story that was bigger than themselves. Alex had reached the summit.

Team Alex arriving at summit

Alex, Dad and sons

Fiming on summit

More men on top

14er member bandofbrothersomaha with Alex

After a short time of rest and a powerful time of prayer at the summit, Team Alex, now with some new and additional carriers, began to make their way back down the trail. Many of our 120 men that had summited had waited for Team Alex and began to accompany them down the mountain.

One person on top that I did not know commented to me that “I have been hiking peaks in Colorado for more than four decades and I have never seen anything as inspirational as that!” For most of us, simply getting to the top with our own sore legs and a Camelback is a challenge. To take on an additional 90-100 lbs is astonishing.

The saddle

The trip back down Quandary was safe, fun and exhilarating. So many people were still giving Alex a thumbs up, encouraging him on his journey. Our men were witnessing something very powerful that they will never ever forget. I suspect the same will be true for the hundreds of others that were on the East Ridge trail that day as well.

Team Alex (with his dad in green) finishing

At approximately 3:00 pm, Team Alex rounded the last switchback and made its way to the East Ridge trailhead. There waiting for them were more than 100 men and young men, cheering their return. We have a “No Man Left Behind” policy and every man stays at the trailhead until all of our guys are down. It was about 30 minutes later that the last of our men made their way to the trailhead.

Hanging at the trailhead after the hike

Alex and team celebrating

Prayer of thanksgiving at the trailhead

Food and drink were waiting for our guys and they enjoyed cheering others as they came down to the trailhead. We had a time at the trailhead to reflect back on what had happened and gave thanks to God for safety of the group and the ability of all men hiking that day to do well.

Our men from Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, California, Texas, Hawaii and many other states truly love the mountains. Just like in the story from Luke 5, Team Alex were men that truly loved their friend. We were all part of the larger story… the Epic Story of God. All glory be to God!

"As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17

Band of Brothers Network

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/28/2011 22:25
I think that is wonderful. Looks like you picked a good day too.

Doctor No

Great story
07/28/2011 22:37
Looks like a great adventure!


Absolutely Amazing!
07/28/2011 23:30
What an amazing feat of self sacrifice. I am in awe!


Great report!
07/28/2011 23:42
Congrats to Alex and the whole team.


Inspirational Story!
07/29/2011 01:41
What an excellent example of being a Band of Brothers!

Thanks for posting your story.


In addition . . .
07/29/2011 14:25
As one of the climbers in the group, I want to thank all the non-group members that were on the mountain that day. You were fantastically patient and encouraging to all of us who were trying to help Alex achieve his goal. God Bless You.


Wonderful story and report ...
07/29/2011 14:38
As others have said, thanks for taking the time to share this wonderful story. Quandary was my 2nd 14er a few days earlier, with my 19-yr old son. It would have been cool to be there the same day as you were. Thank God for safety and a chance to share the story.


Wonderful story and report ...
07/29/2011 14:47
Yes, I'm a Noob. Sorry for the duplicate post ...


07/29/2011 15:56
Thanks for the write up! Looks like a great organization bringing people together and a positive message underlying it all. Super that you all stayed safe and were such a good encouragement to each other. We should all be so lucky to have that kind of support in our wilderness endeavors.


Absolutely amazing!
07/30/2011 03:32
What an amazing act of selflessness and compassion! I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would even think of anything but inspiration from this trip report, let alone flame you for it. I bet Alex loved every minute of this adventure. Congrats to Team Alex for making the summit along with all the others!


God's amazing love through the brothers
08/01/2011 14:56
I am deeply touched by this act of love and sacrifice in Christ. Planning to summit Quandary soon, I shall count my steps along the trail remembering the amzing scenes I saw in this trip report, and the good spirit God is working in all the brothers involved as well as in bystanders and readers.


We were blessed to have been a witness to this
08/01/2011 15:52
My wife and I were truly blessed to have witnessed this awesome event. You guys truly are inspirational. Seeing the mass of people stand and applaud as you summited was AWESOME!! Job well done, good and faithful servants...

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