register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Quandary Peak - East Ridge, CO

no permit
174 11 0
Guide 11 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > South Central
4.3 of 5 by 6
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.65 miles
Trailhead Elevation 10,850 feet
Elevation Gain 3,336 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,404 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 23.67
Interest Peak
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
31  2018-09-07 DixieFlyer
10  2016-07-06 friendofThunderg
10  2016-07-06 MtnBart01
18  2016-05-12
Pondering Quandary
13  2015-09-06 DallinW
7  2015-09-01 BobP
10  2015-09-01 fricknaley
4  2014-07-07 rvcarter
Page 1,  2
Author BobP
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 183
Photos 3,861
Trips 2,279 map ( 12,452 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → 6 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:48am - 6:08pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Push to the Summit
by BobP

Likely In-Season!
Hike: From the TH sign(10,850 ft) travel up the road a little ways and you'll see a small sign on the left. This marks the start of the trail. At this point, you are hiking through the forest. The trail from this route is Class 1 and easy to follow. The trail winds left and then south. When you see a large rock on the right side you will turn right and follow the trail signs and stay on the main trail. At around 11,300' you'll come cross a small clearing, this is where the trees start to become sparse. At this point, you'll probably stop and take a picture as I did. A little further ahead at about 11,700 ft you'll see a closed sign and trail going to the right. Stay on the main trail to the left, the one on the right is the old trail which is CLOSED. Follow this excellent trail as you continue on the East Ridge. Soon you will be leaving the trees,and you can now see the summit ahead.You will now go thru a section with rock stairs. Follow the trail to the top of the ridge, this is where I put on my winter hat and gloves(the wind was howling at this point). The last push to the summit is about a 1000' elevation gain. Summit elevation is 14,265 ft.

Summary: Quandary Peak will always be a hike remembered for a few reasons. First off it was my first 14er. Secondly, the people on the trail were great. Another reason was the rescue that happened the day before, and lastly meeting Horton the "Quandary Dog". Quandary is considered an "easy 14er", but descend down the wrong route and your easy hike can turn into a nightmare as it did for 3 people the day before I hiked this.

I hit the trail at about 6:30, and caught up with Travis and Chris who left the TH a little before me. Horton had chosen to hike with them. Horton lives nearby, and Summits Quandary often. He is an awesome well behaved, and "famous" dog. I hiked with them for quite a while and then continued my solo ascend. About 100 yards from the summit, the wind was really blowing and I stopped for a short time. I continued to the summit and stayed in a wind shelter for a while before heading down. Many people were ascending now as I was descending. Two people summited before me, and both of them ran the trail. One was a women who said "I wanted to get in a 14er before work". She was awesome!!! I summited in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. My descend took about 2 hours.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-09-04 BobP
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Quandary Peak - East Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Wow what a nice first 14er in Colorado! This was really a peak of convienence, as I am currently hiking the Colorado Trail and had decided to take a "zero" day in Breckenridge after covering the first 105 miles of the trail from Denver in five days. I had made contact with Joel (MtnBart01) when I arrived in Denver and had given him a flexible set of dates and by luck this morning was good for him.

    After backpacking 105 miles into Breckenridge, I felt pretty liberated throwing on the slack pack for a 6.5 mile round trip hike. The views were absolutely tremendous in every direction and the overall experience really had my adrenaline pumping. I rode that adrenaline to the summit and ended up making pretty good time. I was even lucky enough to get a little photo shoot with a pair of mountain goats on the way up. Just a great hike overall and I am very grateful to Joel for making the early morning trip up to Breck to pick me up and drop me off at my hostel. I am officially in love with 14ers and I think I can relate to the enthusiasm BobP shared in the description he wrote for this hike after he had made this his first 14er in Colorado.

    Back on the CT tomorrow. I am sure the zeal of the peak will wear off quickly, as I carry my freshly supplied pack up to the 12,800 pass guarding Breck to the southwest. Up next, Elbert.
    Quandary Peak - East Ridge
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    first 14er of the trip and one i was looking forward to. bob and i got to chatting about all kinds of stuff and we were more than halfway up before i realized it, with only the long final ridge ascent to go - which kicked my pumpkin.

    wonderful views all along and especially from the top. the Decalibron looms near. it was pumpkin cold up top but we hiked down in short sleeves and it was gorgeous.

    awesome encounter with mountain goat momma and her baby.

    this would be a great first 14er to do. loved it
    Quandary Peak - East Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    We setup a vacay at Breckenridge with our timeshare several months ago. The first thing that came to my mind was doing a 14'er; however, I have just been way too busy to research anything. I was bummed that I had nothing planned, but was wise enough to bring along my daypack and boots...just in case.

    From Flagstaff, we went north through Moab (did Delicate Arch) and then onto I70, through Grand Junction then south of Frisco to Breck. (Was my first time in Colorado and it was simply spectacular. I can't wait to return.)

    Once we got into our timeshare (Hilton Valdoro) I finally ahd time to Google the nearby area and was happy to find that Quandary Peak was only 6 miles from Breckenridge and very "accessible". (we had a Sentra as rental, so road accessibility was, ahem, less of an issue - hehe :D ) There was snow covering most of the lower-elevation, numbered peaks around Breckenridge Ski and this made me believe Quandary would be totally covered..I was not overly optimistic about climbing a 14'er w/o the proper gear.

    After asking around, most locals said it wouldn't be a problem and there should be much less snow find out for sure, we took a short drive out to the trail-head. It was quite obvious, but very odd...Quandary did have much less snow than the surrounding peaks. I suddenly became even more stoked about this opportunity.

    I was very ill-prepared for any cold hiking so back in Breck, I purchased baselayer tops/bottoms, a clava, and some lightweight gloves. Turns out I needed every bit of it.

    Wifey slept in the next morning, I left our hotel around 5am for a super early start. Got to the trailhead around 5:30 and which was still pretty dark (and only 33 degrees). I waited a few more minutes for dawn, then took off on the well-used, grooved trail. I brought a full 100oz Camelback and a liter of Powerade along. It was a fairly heavy pack since it included more layers of clothes as well, just in case.

    Several hundred, rocky feet above treeline, I arrived to the "flatter" middle section of Quandary. The wind started to really pick up and it was BITTER COLD. I dropped my pack and added my shell, gloves and clava and I felt MUCH better with this new gear (especially the clava). Soon after, I noticed dark clouds were brewing near the very top. (I heard no thunder so I marched onward.)

    During the final mile, I start to get very anxious about finishing. My mind was convincing me the weather was too bad and to turn around while I could. I pressed on, several minutes later, I was on the roof the peak; the last hundred yards being pretty flat. I had just arrived at my first Colorado 14'er summit, but it the peak was covered in clouds :? . I had very poor visibility in just about every direction. I was really looking forward to seeing miles and miles of endless mountain peaks, but that would have to wait for another day, another climb. I was however, overjoyed with my accomplishment and my decision to fight through wind and weather - I gave myself a huge mental pat-on-the-back. As I went for a drink, I discovered my Camelback had frozen (LOL)...I had no water for the descent which fortunately was VERY easy.

    Living in Flagstaff (7k) has it's peak-bagging benefits. I don't remember suffering any altitude problems when I did Whitney, and I didn't have any issues with Quandary - at least while on the mountain. I arrived back to the hotel around 11am, very glad I still had the afternoon to site-see with my wife. When I looked at my Camelback, I noticed I had hardly drank ANY water...maybe 6-8 ounces all through the hike. Needless to say, an hour later, I suffered terribly with a SCREAMING headache which lasted all the way through dinner...:(

    Overall this was a great experience...I'm REALLY looking forward to getting up some more 14'ers come next summer/ well as just seeing beautiful Colorado.
    Quandary Peak - East Ridge
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Quandary was the last of this year's September Colorado hikes. It capped an annual gathering of a large group from another forum, quite a few of whom joined me (and woke me up very, very early :tt: ) for an "easy" 14er. Its accessibility and relative ease and safety make this an extremely popular trail, and the good weather brought out amazing crowds. The ascent recalled descriptions I've heard of Mt. Fuji, where I'm told hikers form an almost continuous line.

    Despite the lack of solitude, it was fun to be with some people enjoying a big mountain for the first time and the views were fantastic. I also saw my first mountain goat in the wild, and at very close range.

    My rant for this trip has to do with a few very young children who were part of a large group that eventually broke up and spread way out. They were mostly going along with us and an older guy seemed to be watching them. A girl about eight years old already had blisters less than halfway up, but the guy didn't seem to care and was really pushing her. We saw him and some others on the summit, but not her. He said she was part of his group, but not his responsibility. While he was still up there, we found her and two younger children alone about 500 feet below the summit, without water, food, extra clothes, suffering from not only blisters, thirst, and cold, but also vomiting from altitude. We stopped to take care of them, and about 20 minutes later, the rest of their group caught up from below (including their parents). A few of the parents from our group gave them some firm advice, telling them about 15 times that they had to get her down right away. They were so beat themselves that they were unable to move right away.

    We continued on, hoping they would finally comply, which I think they did about half an hour later. I'd still like to have another word with the older guy from that group, who seemed to be running the show. His whole party was short on water and food.

    That encounter saddened me, although I was very impressed by the childrens' toughness and good spirits despite the severity of their plight. They would have tried to summit if we hadn't stopped them, no matter how bad they felt.

    The night finished with a big meal in camp, stories around the fire, and sad farewells.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Denver I-70 West to Breckenridge then about 8-10 miles south on Colorado 9. Turn right on Blue Lakes 850 Road. A couple hundred yards turn right to McCullough Gulch 851. Drive straight to parking lot on right.
    page created by BobP on Sep 04 2008 9:24 pm
    2+ mi range whistle
    blow it hard
    help comment issue

    end of page marker