Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  12/20/2012
Date Climbed:   12/15/2012
Author:  warnernc
 Quandary - East Ridge  

As two greenhorns from sea level, we weren't exactly sure what to expect from our first 14er. We left Denver around 415 and didn't get to Quandary in our economy rental car until around 730 due to the blizzard on 70, which may be just normal winter for a native Coloradan. Lets just say we realized why chains are useful. Temp was around 5-10 F and we were layered for an arctic expedition only to realize how much we would sweat below the tree line as we climbed.

After stopping to relayer 3-4 times, we were in good spirits, still bright eyed and bushy tailed. As we got above the treelike, the wind picked up and the wind chill dropped significantly. Snow was around 6" with some areas having more or less. We had microspikes that worked very well on the snow/rocky terrain.

As we climbed higher, the temp ranged from 0-5 with about 35mph winds and snow. We were dressed for the weather for the most part, but it certainly was cold. Make sure to drink lots of water as we brought plenty but certainly didn't drink enough. As you climb, you reach a false summit just above 13k feet. We stopped for water and a quick snack and when we looked up, a rather large mountain goat was watching us about 20 yards away. After taking a few pics, he meandered down the steep face as we were probably causing too much racket while we panted and hiked our way upwards.

After cresting the false summit, we continued on with the significant wind chill that we later looked up to be -27F. Unfortunately, due to one of us with wet boots likely from sweating in them earlier in the hike, we had to turn back before we reached the summit. We made it to the final ascent and learned a lot without losing any digits, so all in all, a great first time Colorado experience.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Glad you had a positive experience...
12/21/2012 00:43
Quandary can be difficult in very difficult conditions most definitely. Solid effort on your outing. We were on Quandary that same day but a few hours later, i.e. left the TH round 10:30am, summitted around 1:45pm and down by 4pm. It was definitely cold with wind chill. -27 sounds about right!


12/21/2012 23:16
Did the east face look skiable?


12/23/2012 03:30
Sounds like you got quite a way up there. Too bad about the cold, that can be no fun. Come back and get it next summer.

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