Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  01/09/2009
Date Climbed:   01/09/2000
Author:  Easy Rider
 East Ridge  

At the start of the new year I had picked up a demo Voile Split decision snowboard, and had been doing some small tours up to the Zach Shack in Gothic. I was excited to get it out on a 14er as soon as possible. Too bad the rest of my equipment was locked up in the race dept for the night. I stayed at Halbakken's, and was waiting for the early patrollers to unlock. I was unable to motivate anyone, and had low expectations for my trip.
Hoosier Pass offered the preview of this simple ridge route.
Splitboards are more common now, but I got a few looks at the trailhead at that time. I was also experimenting with a cumbersome pair of long glissade axes retrofit with lower pole sections fastened with hose clamps. A pair of Burton bindings mounted on the board, and the whole rig weighed in just shy of twenty pounds! But I still wouldn't trade for snowshoes!
The sky was clear, and a steady wind drove from the North. The snow was still shallow, wind loaded, and slabby. At the last roll on the ridge to the summit I took care to avoid a sizable cornice on the south side, and the hollow snow of the East slopes as well. The exposure here is subtle, but true: a man was taken over the edge a couple weeks ago. I decided to forgo the summit snowboard descent, and left my ride anchored to the rocks. The Cristo Couloir is the real plumb. My progress up that last big ridge was slow, the off season had taken it's toll.
It was 4:00 at the summit with nasty wind. I descended to my board, and managed a few clumsy turns on the sasstruggi crust on the ridge. I had a couple falls, but no real crowd pleasers for the day's audience on this busy peak. The glades were variable as well, but as I drifted over the crest into the south facing aspens, the snow became more consistent: consistently rotten. Even in mid-winter, the sun cooks the thin snow on this aspect. Applesauce in January is bad news, especially with cold wax. The board was good for the abuse through the tightening ratiness, and I emerged from the woods in the trailhead parking lot. I really could not complain about that. Riding right to the car is the next best thing to riding from the summit.

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