Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  07/12/2009
Date Climbed:   07/05/2009
Author:  Chicalorado

 Family hike up Quandary‘s East Ridge  

Mt. Quandary
14,2465' (CO Rank 13th)
East Ridge from Quandary Trailhead
Party: Chicalorado (me), MtnMissy, Cubbie, Cubbie's sister Sage, and my parents

After spending two weeks in Summit County, we were able to convince my parents to attempt a 14er with us. We decided upon Quandary mostly because of it's proximity to Keystone, as well as it being a Class 1. We were also joined by Cubbie's sister, Sage, who were were watching for the long weekend. You'll see by the pictures they don't look much alike, but they are litter mates. We left the condo around 5:30am and were at the trailhead around 6:15. It was beginning to rain a bit, so we put on our appropriate layers and were on the trail by 6:30.

On the way over Swan Mountain road in the morning.

The weather really never did make up it's mind, as I feel we were constantly stopping to adjust layers. It'd be clear, sunny and warm, followed by cloudy and cold, then slightly rainy, and back to warm again. This trend continued the rest of the day.

The first third of the hike was easy and soft, which my parents really enjoyed. Once we got a little beyond treeline, the remainder of the route was over talus and rock, which they weren't big fans of, especially my mom who forgot her hiking boots and was wearing running shoes. However, everyone remained in good spirits as we continued on.

Past treeline with the majority of the route in view. My dad is on the trail.

We continued to pay close attention to the skies, but the clouds never got too dark, and the rain was minor at best. We eventually starting running into people already on their way down, and they informed us that nothing too bad was in the horizon and hadn't heard any thunder. We decided we should try to make better time regardless and continued the ascent.

A look over at the Monte Cristo Creek as well as a good representation of the clouds for the day.

Cubbie with Quandary behind him.

We made it to the ridge and it provided a short break since it was mostly flat for awhile. We refueled and prepared for the final push.

The remaining route to the summit.

Close to about 14,000', my mom's endurance ran out and decided she didn't want to go any further. She was disappointed to have come so close to the summit, but she knew she made the right decision to not push herself too hard if she wasn't feeling up to it. My dad told us to keep going and he would start heading down with mom. The summit looked so close, I was sure I could sprint up the remainder , so we agreed and figured we'd be catching up with them on the descent.

The turn around point.

Only about 150' feet later, Missy decided her legs were shot. The weather had also started to turn increasingly foul at this point, and she really didn't have that great of a desire to go to the summit in the rain. She told me she'd wait right there and told me to take Cubbie to the summit. We agreed to have Sage wait with Missy so she could have some company. I took Missy's camera and made my way to the summit.

Summit marker.

Now it was raining, snowing, sleeting and hailing all at the same time, so not only did I want to hurry to get back to Missy and catch up with my parents, but I wanted to get out of the weather!

Summit shot. #8 for me, #2 for Cubbie. Can't see it very well, but North Star Mountain (13,614') is behind me.

After staying on the top long enough to have my picture taken and return the favor, I was heading back down. There were probably only 4-6 other people on the summit at that time.

I didn't take any pictures nearing the approach to the summit, but there was still snow for the last 100' or so. It was nothing that would require snowshoes, crampons, or an ice axe. There were a few spots that were a bit icy, but nothing that taking your time couldn't cure.

Shortly after regrouping with Missy and Sage, a mountain goat began climbing up the mountain to where the trail was. He eventually got on the trail and was eyeing us for sure. I'm not sure if he was checking us out, or was more intrigued with the dogs. We let him get a little close, but tried to keep our distance as well. I don't even think the dogs saw him, or if they did, they cared.

Mountain goat below us.

Mountain goat above us.

Mountain goat checking us out.

The descent was largly uneventful. The weather continued it's indecisive tendencies, but again, nothing that was too bad.

Sage, me, Missy, Cubbie on the descent.

We got back to the trailhead at 2pm and met my parents, who had been back for about 10 minutes.

Dave, Cubbie, Sage and Missy back at the trailhead.

Overall, the weather wasn't ideal, but we made the best of it and had a great day.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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