Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2010
Modified:  08/30/2010
Date Climbed:   08/23/2010
Author:  EZSide
 A Classic Western (Pt. 2) - Quandary East Ridge Std.  

Continued from A Classic Western (Pt. 1) Prelude .... Medicine Bow Peak
Medicine Bow Peak

Link to Quandary Route Details

On Sunday we headed for Colorado and set up on the Dillon Reservoir. This was not our first choice, but would prove to serve us well. I had hoped to disperse camp some on this trip, but being near the car was a definite plus. Image
Navigator Duck - Our Mascot - Enters CO

I would awake at midnight on Monday morning to a partly moony sky. I was so excited that there was no way I was resting any more, so off we headed for a coffee at the Frisco 7-11 and the trailhead. It was raining and 51 degrees at the trailhead at 1:00 AM, so we drove up to Hoosier Pass. The sky was partly moony out to the west, so we went back and by 2:00 AM it was a go in partly moony and windy conditions.Image
Quandary Pk Trailhead

The hike was beautiful with a mix of moon and clouds, headlamps on about the time. Not at all what I had envisioned for a moonlight hike up an easy 14'er! Image
In the trees on a partly moony early morning.
Nearing tree line.
The wind was brisk at times along the trail to the saddle, which we reached about 4:00 AM. We noted that the route in April was more direct and on the ridge proper. As we worked our way up, we got just a faint glow of pre-dawn in the east just prior to being closed in. Image
A glimpse of early dawn.
At 5:00 AM and 13,500 feet we were greeted with a windy sleet and rain mix. We pulled out all the gear we had, and hunkered down under our pack covers to wait it out. It passed after about 15 minutes, and we pressed onward, not to be denied a second time. We would continue to alternate betweeen breaks and faint pre-dawn and closed in the rest of the way up, reaching the summit at 6:15 AM.Image
Nearing the summit ridge
On the top.

We had our first 14'er summit to ourselves! It wasn't the best of weather, and in our besheveled state we failed to take good summit pictures. Image
As we pause for a picture, the race for the register is on!
Signing the register

A few breaks in the cloud cover and the sunrise below made for unbelieveable views.Image
A break - view down towards Blue Lake
The sunrise below us... (sunset setting on camera capured the real glow!)
It was that brilliant!
The weather made for extraordinary views

The weather continued to be widely variable. As we came down, we passed the front of the day's parade as we reached the saddle. ImageImageWe discovered it was great fun to respond to all the "how much further" questions, and my younger son's response always included the down distance, and he would remind people that its not over until you are back down!

Back at the trailhead, we enjoyed the Chairman's parking spot for another moment. Image
The Chairman's parking spot....
BTW, beware of the guard rock for the sign when backing in at 1:00 AM (sorry about the car, Dear)! Back to the Dillon camp, then off to The Mint. The steaks hit the grill! It was a fantastic experience to summit this day with you guys!! Thanks. Image
Back at camp
Steaks on the grill

The next few days were spent camping in the moonlight, fishing on the Colorado, and visiting with relatives who also passed through Colorado. Image
Fishing the Colorado at Pumphouse Rec. Area
Fishing the Colorado at Pumphouse Rec. Area

As we rested, we had to decide on the remainder of the trip. The choices were Challenger / Kit Carson from Willow Lake, Elbert, or a swing up to Pinedale, WY to lay the foundation for a future adventure to Gannett Peak. Kit Carson would be a stretch, but win, loose, or draw would be a good test. The Wind River Range would be a beautiful backcountry outing, but more travel. The trip had been perfect thus far and there would be only one choice to cap it off. Elbert.

Next - A Classic Western - Pt. 3 - Elbert

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Navigator Duck
05/06/2011 11:58
Bill -
Your post about when dreams become goals caused me to read your trip reports because of the spirit of Christian fatherhood that shines through in what you write. Just had to respond by letting you know that your words were a source of encouragement to me. Thanks.


05/07/2011 03:25
For the kind comment. It brought me to reflect on all the things I've had the opportunity to do with my sons. They started out bass fishing from a backpack in the streams of central WI - and last summer we stood on Mt. Elbert. Good stuff. I've been blessed.


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