Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  02/10/2007
Modified:  05/06/2014
Date Climbed:   02/10/2007
Author:  USAKeller
Additional Members:   sdkeil
 Quandary Peak (East Ridge)- Quandary Peak TH  

Quandary Peak Winter Ascent

Date: Saturday, February 10, 2007
Group: USAKeller and sdkeil
Route: East Slopes (East Ridge) from Quandary Peak TH

I met sdkeil at the I-70 junction in Golden at 5:15am. Quandary Peak was the first 14er I climbed when I was 12 and, like Mt. Sherman, I barely can remember the climb- I was excited to go back and snag this peak. Three weeks ago, Skasgaard, sdkeil, and I tried to climb Quandary, but the wind literally blew us off the mountain. So, sdkeil and I were determined to summit it today. We arrived at the parking area (Blue Lakes 850 Road), just a few hundred yards from the main trailhead at 6:50am (temperature: 26.4 deg.), began to get geared up, and met two other members- rlfenske and dennis ross. We started hiking at 7:15am, enjoyed a nice conversation and snowshoe with them up to treeline, where they offered sdkeil and I to pass. The winds were calm, the sun was hitting our backs, and faint, beautiful snow flurries were falling down on us. The snow has melted quite a bit since three weeks ago, but we still felt snowshoes were necessary.

Front to back: dennis ross, rlfenske, and USAKeller on the well-beaten
trail. North Star Mountain is seen, peeking through the trees.


The visibility got much worse- we couldn't even see the summit ridge from about 13,200ft. and up.

USAKeller (at 13,200ft.) with the remaining 1,000ft. of elevation to gain behind, but can't be seen!

As we gained more elevation, the east face became more windblown and we found ourselves walking on patches of rock. To avoid this, we stayed to the far left of the east ridge where there was a slim path of snow for us to follow.

Taken from 13,500ft., this photo shows the snow path we took up the ridge.

Again, a lot of the ridge is windblown, but we were able to stay on sufficient snow to avoid taking our snowshoes off. We agreed that an aggressive mountaineering snowshoe or crampons definitely afford additional traction on the wind blown snow and that snow snowshoes probably helped prevent the possibility of some minor post-holing.

Looking at the final push towards the summit (about 1/10 of a mile):

sdkeil approaching the snow-packed summit:

We summited in 2hrs. 45min. (moving time) at 11:00am (including stops) and grabbed a snack. We stayed on the summit for about 15 minutes (temperature: 16 deg.) and took a plethora of pictures- too bad we couldn't see farther than 50 feet! The winds picked up to 20mph or so, making the wind chill between 0 and -5. We were unable to locate the summit register due to the heavy snow pack.

USAKeller and sdkeil on the summit of Quandary Peak:

On our way back down, we passed around 15 people (some of which were more people from!) and 2 types of animals (slightly terrifying ); the snow was still lightly coming down and it was gorgeous! At this point in the day, the winds had mostly calmed down. We made it back to the car in a moving time of 1hr. 45min. at 1:30pm (temperature: 36 deg.), without ever taking the snowshoes off. Round-trip time out was 6hrs. 15min. We were so pleased with the weather today- a great winter climb for us!

And, for those who followed the thread on the Mt. Sherman climb with sdkeil and TalusMonkey, sdkeil did NOT bring a large beef stick with him on this trip . I was a little worried that in addition to a possible energy depletion, he would also experience a lack of protein... turns out that the beef stick isn't really a necessity on these climbs, right sdkeil?!! Please keep that wretched material away from me!!!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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