Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  02/09/2013
Date Climbed:   02/08/2013
Author:  erickenney
 quandary peak west ridge in Winter  

Very nice day, blue sky's, and windy. I hit the Th at 7:15 right as it was getting light. 10 degrees at that time.
I parked a little ways up up the rd to get as close to the reservoir as possible. not far from the main rd there is a snow berm and a place to park.
took me about 45 min. to get to the dam. headed up the trail and it wasn't long before i realized i had worked my way to high. it was slow going over the rocks and snow but as i got up into the basin i was able to work my left to the trail.
stay parallel to the reservoir for some time. the rout will become clear when you are at the base you wont miss it.
after getting into the basin below the couloir i took a short break and decided to stay high and left. there was plenty snow here. i didn't see much danger of an avalanche but the couloir did have lots of snow and it was easy to avoid the middle of it. the snow was hard packed but i was still potholing some. I had my alpine ax and a pair of yak tracks. i was well prepared with these. no need for anything more.
continuing up the snow field was tough work. I forgot how tough hiking in the snow is!
I moved along the ridge pretty well until the last 2 crux sections.
I will say this. I have not done a lot of tech. climbing in recent years but i am very experienced. Rock, ice climbing and mountaineering all over the world. The west ridge is NOT class 3.
it is at least class 4 and very exposed. with a bit of snow and gusty winds it was quite scary for a few minutes.
i did find what seemed to be the best rout. the moves were not difficult but the exposure is serious.
after I changed my pants I made my to the summit which was not very windy which was nice change of pace. after a few pics and some food i headed down the south couloir. I checked this out on the way up. from what I could tell 0 avy danger. and even if the snow seemed a bit sketchy i looked like i could stay high and to the right (right if you are facing down the coulior) where there there was plenty of rock showing. but after heading down a bit i decided to go down the east ridge. again not worried about any avalanche. there is just not enough snow up there. is was a beautiful decent. snow and rock all hard packed. saw a few parties coming up. the trail down low in the woods was packed out well and easy to find. 5 hours up and 1.5 hr's to descend. not as fast as i thought but a great day in the hills
i'll post some pics soon.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

West Ridge rating
02/10/2013 03:18
Yes, the West Ridge route is Class 3 if you stay on-route.

Did you get any photos along the difficulties of the west ridge? If so, I'm sure some people would like to see the conditions, including me.


02/10/2013 15:29
i didn't. to concerned with not eating it.
it was mostly dry. with some snow pockets that were easy to walk through... carefully. its to steep to hold any snow on the ridge.


02/11/2013 03:15
”its to steep to hold any snow on the ridge.”

Not sure what you mean since I've seen that ridge with lots of snow and ice in the crux sections, including the dips between each pitch filled in with deep snow.

Thanks for the info


02/10/2013 21:21
yeah, there was snow in teh small saddles between crux sections.
but that wasn't an issue in terms of ascending the ride.


Awesome Eric!
02/15/2013 15:30
Nice job on the ridge Eric! You really hit it fast and hard, Congrats!

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