Last year my family hiked our first 14er together, Mt Bierstadt from Guanella Pass. Since then, we've had the fever to get back out and climb another 14er. Quandary was the first choice because we were staying just south of Breckenridge nearly at the base of Quandary in a condo. From the moment we arrived at the Skier's Edge, the mountain was beckoning us. Ambition led us to try Quandary our first full day in Colorado. That's right…Zero acclimation for these 9 Michiganders. We brought our friends, and their two daughters from Michigan as well. Here are our two clans together at the trailhead. We hit the TH at 9am. We got started late because the original plan was to just hike up to the tree line, taking it easy the first day with plans of coming back later in the week. Ambition took over however, as you shall see.
One of many pit stops along the way. With kids on the trail stopping is frequent… sometimes painfully frequent☺
This shot is back toward CO highway 9 but we are not that high yet so you can't see the road. Weather still looking great!
The trail here is gradual and well marked.
Our first glance at the peak since hitting the trail.
I took this picture just a few more steps ahead of the last picture but this time I zoomed in on the summit. Here we get the feeling we are not alone☺ If you look close enough you can see dozens of people hours ahead of us. A local told me that this was the first nice weekend that they had since spring broke.
I love this picture of my daughter on the right and her friend on the left. It speaks volumes.
At this point I take 3 pictures, one south at the tiny deltas formed from the weathered rockslide… and the second shot of Blue Lakes reservoir zoomed in a bunch. And the third shot of the reservoir not zoomed in. It is interesting to note a couple of things about the reservoir. First, I am slightly higher than the water, but not by much. That will change. Secondly, I am on the east side of the reservoir. That will change too☺
My wife and Jim… taking in the view as I snap the preceding 3 photos.
Who doesn't stop to look at the beauty in the Mountains? Pretty yellow flower, not sure what it is.
Now it is easy to see where CO highway 9 and 850 intersect. We have finally put the trees behind us, which is always a delight to me because from here on out, the view grows exponentially.
It is worth mentioning here that the two youngest hikers in our party are leading the way. my daughter Rachael 10yrs, and her good friend Sydney 9yrs.
Another look at my trusty landmark Blue Lakes reservoir.
The kids made snowballs. Spirits are high at this point, most because nobody in our party thinks we are here to summit today. I think it was said several times, "We are just on a little hike☺"
We were pleasantly greeted with the presence of several goats! I took way too many pictures and won't bore you with all of them so here is just one that I snapped on the way up. I must say that as we passed the goats, we had to abandon the trail and yield to these white fury friends because I didn't think there was enough room on the trail for all of us. Wow! Double Wow! I have heard stories about getting this close to the goats and that you needed to beware of aggressive behavior. We didn't see any aggressive behavior, however, but weren't going to take any chances☺
By this time many of the members of our group are getting fatigued and want to head back down. Remember… that was actually the original plan. It is at this point that 4 of us decide we have enough reserves to summit and continue upward while the rest begin their decent downward. This was a good choice because the climbing got considerably more difficult on this final push. My buddy Jim and I credit Rachael with inspiring us up the rest of the way because she led from here on out. You go girl!
We make it to the top at 2pm whipped, but elated that we have arrived. We stay on top for an hour or so. I am just in heaven here because although this is my third 14er, I have never spent more than 15 minutes on top because of the quickly changing weather. Last year we were greeted with rain, sleet, snow, hail, and lighting on Bierstadt. Here are some of our summit shots. This is a wonderful moment that I'll never forget.
On the way down we run across some more wild life. It must be our lucky day… the weather is absolutely great without the least bit of hint of rain and we are seeing more wild life than I ever thought we would. Thank you Lord. Total trip time 9 hours. Congratulations Jim on your first 14er.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):