Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  06/17/2012
Modified:  09/20/2012
Date Climbed:   06/17/2012
Author:  Kiddo
 Quandary Peak - contact lens adventure  

My wife and 12-year-old son and I climbed Quandary Peak this past Sunday via the standard East Ridge Route. We got a late start due to equipment issues, but we were still able to hit the trail before 8am. We learned the hard way not to assume there is a latrine at the trailhead, even though this is a very popular hike. So, we got to practice our Leave-No-Trace skills right off the bat.

The trail was in very good condition -- well maintained, well drained, and easy to follow. There are a couple of intersecting jeep trails within the first couple of miles, and the little "Trail" signs pointed the correct way with no question. So, a big thanks to the trail crews!

In general this is definitely one of the easier 14er routes. However, this particular day, the wind made for quite the challenging ascent. We had blowing debris in our eyes and sometimes gusts were so high, we nearly lost our balance a few times.

We do have a very good stroke of luck to report on this trek. After getting yet another face full of dust from the wind, my wife needed to fix one of her hard contact lenses. She had it out, so she could rise it quickly, but dropped it. We searched for several minutes and I found it a couple of feet away. As I was handing it back to her, the wind picked up and it blew out from my fingers. Then our son helped look for it and finally found it about 5 feet away. Then as he was handing it back, another gust blew it from his grip. This time we watched it fly at least 10 feet away. We and another group of hikers were all bent over looking in the rocks this time. But after several minutes we decided to give up and proceed on. So my wife hiked nearly the entire top half of the trip with only one contact. On the way back down we stopped at the same site and thought we'd give it another look just for kicks and quickly gave up calling it a lost cause, especially since it was several hours later. As I took a few steps down the trail, a small circular shape caught my attention. It was the silly contact! So, I picked it up and immediately put it in my pocket. My wife didn't want to take a chance losing it again. When we got home, she inspected it and put it in her eye and there was no damage to the contact lens. How's that for good luck!

Anyway, aside from the wind and contact lens, the trek was pretty straight forward. We had lunch in one of the rock shelters at the summit and were back to our car by 2pm. There were lots of other hikers, but not so much to consider it crowded.

EDIT: added photos on 9/20/12.

Just below treeline. First veiw of the summit.
Smiles, right before the lost contact (Mt. Lincoln in the background).
Arts and crafts at the summit. "Ode to Bross, Lincoln, and Cameron."
The mandatory victory photo.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

06/19/2012 04:37
Yeah, that is a stroke of luck you found your contact lense. I think I would wear glacier glasses to keep the dust out, the wind is always blowing up there. Good story!


Fun with contacts!
01/05/2013 23:27
I enjoyed your report, particularly because I wore contacts for 10 yrs and know first hand how much fun it is to have one blow out of my eye and suddenly be on my hands and knees searching. Oh yes, fond memories indeed! But also I want to hike Quandary this summer 2013, so your TR was quite interesting. Thanks!

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