Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.39700°N / 106.1°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Apr 9, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring
Quandary Peak (14,265 ft)

Class: 1
Distance: 7 miles
Gain: 3500 ft
Route: East Ridge

Woke up at 0400 and was on the road by 0425. I arrived at the Quandary TH at 0630 and there were already 5 other cars there. The sun had just come up and there was still a lot of shade. I got my pack ready, decided to pack the snowshoes and put them on later if I needed them. The snow was very hard, crampons would have been better than snowshoes. I reached the first "Trail" sign in 15 minutes, the second, in 21 minutes, and the third in 24 minutes. I didn't feel great, a bit dehydrated and tired since I only had 5 hours of sleep. About 20 minutes past the last "Trail" sign I had to make a pit stop. I felt better afterwards and I got to enjoy a great view. I met a couple snowshoeing on their way down. They said they went to 13,000ft and it was windy up there, not unusual for Quandary in the spring. At treeline there were 2 tents with skiis and a dog outside. The dog came over to say hi but the people weren't stirring yet. At this point the slope gets steep so I put my snowshoes on just so I could use the televator and get better traction on the icy snow. At the top of this slope I saw a bright white Ptarmigan and got quite a few pictures. The hike was rather uneventful until past 13,000ft. A guy passed my at this point and shortly after I saw a Pika dart between some rocks. I stopped and talked to another guy on his way down saying there was no wind on the summit. Up to this point there had only been a few occasional wind gusts of maybe 20-25 mph. About 13,800 or 13,900 I started to notice some signs of altitude sickness in addition to my legs being tired from a 12 mile run the day before. This being my 3rd attempt I wasn't about to give up being this close on a day with such great weather. The final push was much steeper than I thought and I was taking frequent breaks. It took 1:15 to go from the flat part of the ridge to the summit but I made it in a total time of 3:15. Great views, lots of snow and clear blue skies. Took pictures and was on the summit less than 10 minutes since I wasn't feeling well. The steepness going down was very hard on the legs and I took the opportunity to stop and talk with everyone coming up. I also stopped to watch a few people ski down the upper part of the mountain. Saw about 25 people and 2 dogs on the way down (1 was wearing sunglasses and carriyng a stick in his mouth). Once I hit treeline I didn't see anyone else and made good time back to the car. At this point the snow softened up significantly and I'm glad I had snowshoes. I arrived at the car rather quickly with my desent time being 1:45. I stopped at the Barnside Inn for some Sesame Chicken before heading back to COS.


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