Quandary Peak Trip Report
Trail: West Ridge 1, Class 3, 5.6 miles, 2600 ft elevation gain
I think I might do this trip report a bit differently from my others. Normally I post a report with accompanying pictures but given that the other Tenmile-Mosquito mountains are a stones throw away I thought more of the same pictures might be redundant. In light of this I will only post two pictures from the mountain and more of the scenery around it.
It was Sunday morning at 4:30 on September 28th 2003. I had set the alarm forward from the original 3:00 time and was seriously debating getting out of bed. It had been another fun filled week of graduate school and I just wanted to lay in bed. I came to my senses quickly enough and got up and set out packing things up. Jen and I hit the road around 5:00 and were at the Blue Lake Trailhead by 7:30. We hiked up and over the dam which separates the parking lot from the trail. There was a nice lake and view of the valley into which we would walk.
Jen and I had decided not to take a really long hike as the previous weeks trip had worn us down some (see my Holy Cross trip report) and I am planning on hitting at least four or five more 14'ers over my fall break. In light of this we headed for The West Ridge of Quandary which was supposedly allot of fun.
The hike was pretty straight forward until about a quarter mile or so from the peak where the route is blocked by several drops and towers. I have to say this may have been the most fun route I have hiked as far as climbing fun goes. I wish I had taken some pictures but I was so engrossed in the playground of rocks and cliffs that I totally forgot to. To get to the peak you have to climb up, over, down, and around a whole series of different towers. There is some pretty neat exposure adding a bit of thrill to your trip and some crumbly rock to keep you awake. In some places a misstep would be pretty bad, I would have to say as far as having to be cautious this one beats the rest of my trips hands down. What makes this route so great is the opportunity to pick your class. I would say you can easily go through and pick a class 3 through 5 route over to the ridge, I definitely did a bit of class 4 climbing and in one place some class 5 but my heart really wasn't ready for that yet so I dropped back to hard 3 and easy 4. In any event getting to the top was kind of anticlimactic after the rocks and we sat around for a bit and looked at clouds. I love the clouds here in Colorado, there is something about the great expanse of blue sky offset by towering pillars of white to bring a smile to my face every time.
After resting at the top we headed straight down the couloir for our car. Finding the trail down is a matter of mostly picking the safest approach and I would think going up would be a bit annoying. The trail drops the entire elevation in something under a mile. The plus side is that the boulder field has decent bits of scree through which you can make great progress rock-skiing.
I would heartily recommend this route to anyone past their fear of heights. If you don't like exposure skip it you definitely have some vertical climbing over HUGE drops. I think I loved it so much because I realized my fear of heights is totally gone. Whenever I started to get nervous I remembered a mantra a guy from Mt. Evans who had done all 54 taught me "RFC", chant that it works. It means real F**ing careful.
Anyways here are some pictures of water I found in this area.
Here is a picture of the fall foliage near Breckenridge.
Trail: East Ridge 1, Class 1, 6.75 miles, 3300 ft elevation gain
Winter ascent with Jen and Drew on January 10th, 2007
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