Hi all, this is my first post. I am a relatively inexperienced hiker, I've always hiked but living in Illinois our hiking is more walking through trees. Anyways in September I climbed quandary and that was my first real summit. It was hard but I made it just fine. I'm planning another trip out to colorado in June and I'm wondering how pacific peak compares as far as difficulty goes. I know it's lower but is the terrain more difficult? Like I said, quandary is pretty much my only comparison. Any input on what to expect out of it would be great, thanks guys!
Pacific will require more route=finding than Quandary (which only requires following a herd-path to the summit via the standard route). Otherwise, the route you select on Pacific will determine your difficulty level. I ascended the peak via the Northeast Slopes route in "dry" conditions (actually full of ice and self-releasing rock projectiles) and found it relatively hellish (loose and steep), but this same route would likely be a dream in May snow conditions.
Visit the Pacific Peak page here on SP and leaf through the routes. This should provide you a good taste of what you'll experience on-mountain.
Definitely a step up from the trail on Quandary! All the ridgelines are quite interesting alpine terrain. N. Face has some fun snow lines in the spring/early summer. Even some decent alpine rock lines on the N-side buttresses of the E. Ridge (~5.6-7, 7-8 pitches). This section of the Mosquito Range has some great truly alpine peaks.
Note that "lower" does not equal "easier". Quandary has that easy broad E. Ridge (practically a face) while Pacific has no such analogue, unless you can get up from the SE where the E. Ridge hits the plateau where Pacific Tarn is - it's been too long, I can't quite remember what it looks like there. I climbed the E. Face of Fletcher Mtn via some really fun couloirs and then traversed the connecting ridge to Atlantic Pk, all quite interesting. Since I descended somewhere along the E. side of Atlantic with no rappels, I imagine this would be an easier route up...