Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  07/03/2006
Date Climbed:   07/02/2006
Author:  Ghigs
 Quandary - East Ridge  

I've been training my son for a fourteener climb ever since we moved to Colorado three years ago. Now he is six and I figured he was ready. I chose the Quandary East Ridge for its Class 1 rating and relatively short distance. This route is pretty straightforward and much has already been said about it, so I'll limit my comments to things I haven't seen elsewhere:

- We spent the night of July 1 at the Fairplay Hotel. The place is old but in pretty good shape. What I couldn't believe was the amount of people in Fairplay. I know it was Fourth of July weekend but I didn't realize Fairplay was such a travel destination.
- I don't agree with the Class 1 rating for this route. The trail up to about 13,500 ft. is good, but after that it's various trail segments and rock scrambling. I would definitely call it Class 2.
- From about the treeline to 13,500 ft, the trail is all rocks and the CFI guys have done an incredible job maintaining it. They have made a series of steps with flat rocks that I guess they found in the area. They've done a lot of work and it shows.
- There was some snow still on the north face of the mountain, but none on the route we took. There are a couple patches right next to the trail so my son got to throw a snowball in July. He was pretty impressed.
- My son made it but he had a pretty difficult day. I think there were a couple reasons for this:
1. He and I both need to eat better on the trail. I have been reading the trail food thread on the forum and have found some good ideas.
2. The rocks really took it out of him. What was a step for me was a climb for him. Something to keep in mind next time.
3. The thin air above 13,000 ft. We had been above the treeline a couple times, and had done some hikes longer than this one and steep, but he had a tough time near the summit. Maybe later in the summer I'll try to get him up to 13,000 ft with shorter hikes.

So overall it was a pretty good day and definitely a learning experience. I think my son forgot his difficulties when he was able to sign the summit register and then tell everyone he saw on the way down that he had been to the top. We'll continue to train and next year maybe do Grays or Bierstadt.

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