Quandary Peak 14,265 (winter)


This is the third time I’ve summited Quandary, and the second in winter, so I won’t give a full report. A full winter report can be found here.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

  • RT Length: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3435’
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Partner: Steffen

We arrived at the trailhead at 5am to a few other vehicles in the lot. This is pretty normal for Quandary Peak.  One of the vehicles had their dome light on, with no one in the car.  We tried to open the door to turn off the light but it was locked.  Hopefully their vehicle would start when they got back.

We carried our snowshoes the entire way but didn’t need them. Microspikes were very, very helpful.  The trail was well packed down from the trailhead all the way to treeline, but sugary and deep off trail.





We hiked at a steady pace, taking breaks as needed. This was Steffen’s first 14er (and a winter one at that!) so I didn’t want to push him too far.  He did great!  Here’s the path to the summit from treeline



Right about now the sun was beginning to rise. It stayed behind the clouds for most of the day but made for a nice sunrise photo



This is a simple ridge to summit hike. I was surprised at how little wind we encountered today!



Here’s the final push to the summit. This is where we came across the owner of the vehicle who’d left their lights on.  He was a bit sheepish when he realized what he’d done, and picked up his pace on the way down.  We offered to jump his vehicle when we made it down if it wouldn’t start for him.  I started picking up the pace a bit here as well, hopping as I went and hiking backwards to make talking easier and to keep me going when things slowed down.



Summit Views: I love the little American Flag at the top (and wonder how it stayed with all that wind?)





Summit Photo:



Time to head back down the ridge



We saw mountain goats on our way down, but had a hard time getting a good photo. Mountain goats are frequently seen here.  In fact, I’ve seen them every time I’ve hiked this peak.



We had a good view in the daylight of the recent avalanche area. The slope is only 31 degrees for a very short while, yet it slid yesterday.  Luckily it wasn’t near the trail, but skiers/snowboarders would want to be careful not to ski this area during high avy days



The snow off the trail was really soft so Steffen decided to make a snow angel.



We made it back down to the trailhead and the guy who’d left his lights on was no longer there, so I guess his battery worked. All in all a great day above treeline!  Congratulations Steffen on your first 14er!

The Quandary Peak Summit Sticker can be found here

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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