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Quandary Peak - East Ridge
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mini location map2012-09-30
18 by photographer avatarsquatpuke
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Quandary Peak - East RidgeSouth Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2012
squatpuke
Hiking6.75 Miles 3,450 AEG
Hiking6.75 Miles   4 Hrs      1.69 mph
3,450 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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 there...to 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/fall...as well as just seeing beautiful Colorado.
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129 Photosets

  2012-10-06
  2012-10-01
  2012-10-01
  2012-10-01
  2012-09-30
  2012-09-28
  2012-09-22
  2012-09-21
  2012-09-16
  2012-09-08
  2012-08-25
  2012-06-26
  2012-06-17
  2012-06-03
  2012-05-13
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  2012-05-12
  2012-05-11
  2012-05-06
  2012-05-06
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