Getting ThereWe were staying with some friends at a condo in Breckenridge, and thought it would be a great day to attempt Quandary. I had never done it before, but I heard it was good 14er to do in the winter/spring.
We got a pretty late start (which is usual for me), leaving Breck towards the Quandary trailhead at about 9:30am.
From Breck, continue on Hwy 9 South for about 8 miles. Turn right on Blue Lakes 850 road. Look for McCullough Gulch Rd 851 road just a short distance down on the right. During the winter, you must park either on 850 or in a small plowed area next to the 851 turnoff. Fortunately it's a short hike up 851 to the Quandary trailhead.
AscentWe got moving at about 10:15am. The trail starts ascending pretty quickly from the trailhead, heading up towards the West / Northwest through the forest. There are now a few trail markers at key points on the early part of the trail, where some people have traditionally had problems finding the way.
The trail snakes a bit through the forest and then quickly (within say 45 minutes?) breaks treeline and heads west up the ridge all the way to the summit. From here it's a very direct route along the ridge. There are basically 2 long steep sections of the ridge, with a flat area separating them. This year there is still quite a bit of snow all the way up the trail, so we used our snowshoes most of the way. However, there were a couple of people that hiked straight up in boots.
We reached the summit by about 2pm. The weather was just amazing this day. Not a cloud in the sky, and very little wind!
DescentAfter a few minutes on the summit, we headed back down. It was steep enough to warrant some minor switchbacking, but other than that it was very straightforward.
We ran across a beautiful mountain goat on the flat part of the ridge.
..And some curious birds when we were taking a short break back down at treeline
We reached the car by about 4pm