Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  03/30/2011
Modified:  03/31/2011
Date Climbed:   03/29/2011
Author:  Michael York
 Quandary Success  

Quandary Peak

After reading through big_red_pride's TR on Quandary, I decided I needed to give it a shot. Afterall, the snow didn't look that bad...

My mom decided Wednesday night that she was down to give it a shot (I agreed to carry everything to make it a tad bit easier on her), so we left Denver around 0530 Thursday morning. I chose to drive through South Park... good choice. According to the radio, there was a wreck around G-Town that had I-70 closed going westbound. We parked on the side of 850 and got to hiking right around 0825. I should mention that NOAA said it would be snowing all night, but there was only a 30% chance on Thursday, and the winds weren't predicted to be too terrible. Wind doesn't bother me too much, but my mom isn't a big fan, so I was hoping for the best, and there wasn't a breath of wind when we hit the trail. NOAA did get the snow report right, and we found about 10 inches of fresh snow at the TH... no worries, "we'll probably be able to ditch the snowshoes at the treeline"...

The scenery was beautiful, like something out of a postcard, with snow globs coating the pine trees... some much needed snow therapy after such a dry winter in town.

As we got up to about 12K, we realized that taking off the snowshoes wasn't going to be an option, and we trudged on through at least a foot of untouched powder. The weather cooperated, and we forged a trail up the ridge at an agonizingly slow pace. The snow was DEEP... even with snowshoes we were sinking in over a foot in places. I'm gonna use one of big_red_pride's pics (hope you don't mind) to show what a difference a big storm makes... BTW, big_red, what looks like the summit isn't really the summit, there is yet another hill and ridge to traverse before reaching the true summit, which really messes with the head. False peaks are the devil on an already tough trek.

big_red_pride's pic from about a week ago

about the same view of the deceptive "summit" yesterday, 03/29/2011

Long story short, with the weather so agreeable (thus far) and my choices of days to climb so limited, there was no way we were giving up. We traversed the final snow covered ridge ("Mom, just keep your head down and walk, don't look off the the sides and you're fine!"), and gained the summit at 1345... talk about a long 3 miles... wow. The wind kicked up and was pretty bone chilling at the summit, so we bypassed the beers and began our descent after about a 5 minute stay. I couldn't find the summit register... I suppose it was buried in snow, but I assure you we made it :-) Also, forgive me for misquoting the altitude in my video, not sure what I was thinking, but the GPS confirms, 14,265!! I know it's not technically winter, but I've never done a more winter-esque climb in my life.

Summit Shots

Mom and me, victorious!

We made our way down, still in those stupid snowshoes... it's insane looking down and realizing how steep the east ridge really is, and more impressive when you get down to about 12K and can see your whole line to the summit, untouched by anyone else on that day... can't even describe it, but I'm sure it's a familiar feeling to many of you who have had a 14er to yourself in the winter/early spring snow.

This one looking up almost does justice to what we had accomplished...

Enjoy the pics, and if you're gonna go anytime soon, don't plan on a short day or not using snowshoes... 8.25 hours RT.

Super stoked for our summit, and super proud of my mom. Awesome time in the high country!!

A victory beer back at the car!

I'm still figuring out my GPS, but it definitely came in handy, espcially once we got down the trees and saw that a ton of people had been up snowshoeing or skiing around making it impossible to recognize which tracks were ours... I've read about people getting lost in the trees on Quandary, and wasn't trying to make the same mistake. I'll try to get that GPX file up later. I also threw in a few more pics below of scenery and such...

Here's the video, again, not sure why I was thinking we were 20 feet lower, sounds kinda dumb for those who know, but oh well...


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice job!
03/30/2011 19:19
Great job on the hike. I'm sure it wasn't easy going through that fresh powder, but you did it! I hope in a week from Saturday I can get up there and make the summit this time!



Great Report!
03/30/2011 19:20
I'll be using this info with this weeks weather report to properly equip my party. Thanks for the writeup!


03/30/2011 19:43 both of you! Beautiful snow shots!


it's a Special Occasion
03/30/2011 20:21
to get Quandary to yourself. I'm glad you got to enjoy it with mom. I made a hut trip recently with one of my children and she said, ”I'll never forget this Dad!” Sounds like your ”postcard picture” day will give similar results.

Congratulations on a snowy, windy, wonderfulk summit1



Nice work
03/30/2011 20:30
Looks like a great time. Always awesome to do stuff with your parents!


Way to go!
03/30/2011 20:32
Woo HOO!!! Congrats to you--and especially MOM!! Thanks for the inspiration to do the same next week!! Lee


03/30/2011 21:57
I've always enjoyed taking my kids up 14ers...never thought about convincing my mom to give it a go. Too bad she hates cold, wind, and hills, she prefers the climate and terrain of south Texas. Congrats on a summit, I am hoping to be able to bag this one in Sept.


03/30/2011 23:21
I like you're insight to your mother ”just keep your head down and walk.” I tell myself that no less than 100 times every time I hike. Great Success!


Mom is playing it cool.
03/31/2011 16:21
Congrats. Thought it was neat at the end of the vid where you are all stoked up and then you pan over to Mom and she is like ”yeah, I'm here” with a token wave.

Scott Rogers

Hey, Nice!
04/13/2011 01:03
Looks like a fun day! Hope you're doing well man, take it easy!

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