Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  03/25/2010
Date Climbed:   03/25/2010
Author:  Markwise
 Chicagoans on Snowy Quandary  

Four of us headed up Quandary today. The weather was perfect. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Visibility went on for over a hundred miles (We could make out the Maroon Bells in the distance). There was fresh snow on Quandary over the past two days. From the looks of the trail I'd say it must have been around 8 inches. There was no issue at all route-finding as we had a nice gentleman trekking up ahead of us in his snowshoes marking the trail.

We snowshoed from top to bottom. With all the fresh snow below treeline it was a necessity. We noticed at least one person from another group today post-holing in the trees. Once on the ridge the snow was harder in sporadic areas mixed with other sections that were still 1+ feet deep.

Once above 13000 feet the snow is mostly wind-hardened and packed down. The snowshoes for us up there became basically our over-sized crampons. The trail is just steep enough and the snow just hard enough that we were happy to have some "teeth" to grip the trail. We didn't bring ice axes and did okay with this, but in retrospect we would have felt more comfy on the descent with them.

On our descent things we warming up. We were shedding layers every half mile or so. Once in the trees the trail got more and more slushy as we went. Near the TH there were two small parts of trail that had already melted out.

Thick snow in the upper trees.

Definitely thankful for the snowshoes.

First views of the summit and the snow is still thick

Snow starting to thin out at points. Still using the snowshoes.

It was truly a heavenly day.

Approaching the final ridge to the summit. Winds were very heavy today blowing snow around.

Above 13300 now. Winds very heavy. Snow was hardened up this far. Snowshoes now useful for traction.

On the summit ridge. A small path keeps you on the safe and narrow here on top.

The views were just incredible. This was our first winter ascent and we were just blown away.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

My First 14er
03/30/2010 00:47
I was part of this foursome and it was my first 14er!

Thanks Markwise, LTWitte, and DennyWitte for an awesome trip!


Great Day!
03/26/2010 14:45
It sure felt like ”winter” first thing in the morning.

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