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Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby Fiemus » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:31 am

I can't comment on the skiing difficulty (having only ascended it)... but it's worth reading these articles to get a sense of the danger involved:

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20080625/NEWS/384835777&parentprofile=search
http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20080903/NEWS/809039939&parentprofile=search


Be careful up there.

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby Fiemus » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:03 am

I wasn't trying to scare you off - many people ski MCC safely and enjoyably (and you can probably dig up reports of bad accidents on any popular route)...I just wanted to make sure you had a healthy awareness of the potential risks (call it preventative SAR, as I'd be getting the page if you got into trouble!).

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby GravityPilot » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:00 am

The Cristo is a popular one for a lot of people as their "first". Depending on your skiing ability and backcountry experience I would maybe go ski the east face first. Less avy danger and less objective hazard. The E. face can be pretty epic if you hit it right. Skiing at 13,000-14,000 feet is a lot different up there especially after you've climbed up it. The big thing on the Cristo is the way the couloir is shaped. A fall will most like send you into the gut of the path and maybe some rocks on the skiers left side of the gut. It's south facing which doesn't necessarily mean it'll warm up if it had a hard freeze so expect it to be slick given the right weather conditions. So with the slope angle and terrain features alone I put the rating a little higher at D10. I think Lou Dawson rates it the same on his page, he might even add an R2 rating. But with all that being said, it's still a fantastic ski, just gotta be on your game. There's a ton of people up there every year and finding a competent partner that has been up there before won't be too hard, which you may or may not want but I recommend if you're unsure. Like I said though it's just my opinion. You may see us around up there, Blue Lakes area and McCullough are some of our more favorite stomping grounds. Happy skiing.

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby Carl » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:04 am

Unless you are very confident in your ability to assess snowpack stability I would wait until spring. Conditions might be reasonable in late November but depending on how the next month goes it could be a death trap.

As far as 14er skiing goes, I don't think Cristo is particularly difficult. And like GravityPiolot says, it's very popular. Although it's long the pitch isn't too steep (less then 40 degrees) and it's plenty wide. If you fall while skiing and don't stop you'll hit rocks at the bottom (or middle) at a high rate of speed, but that's not uncommon in 14er skiing. Quandary's east face likely isn't doable in November but it would be a much safer alternative for a January descent. That was the first 14er route I skied. It was enjoyable. I would do it again.

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby GravityPilot » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:47 am

Get some skiing in for sure. I got hosed on my first because although I was a good skier, my level of fitness for skiing wasn't up to linking a ton of turns at that elevation after climbing up. What I mean is train for it if it's important to you. Safe travels.

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby McClelland » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:15 am

Unless you are very savy when it comes to route finding, snow and avalanche decision making, ALL of the 14'ers should not be attempted until either training and experience in making sound choices is gained or wait until late spring, when the snowpack evaluation skills required are decreased a bit.

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Re: Quandary Pk Cristo Col.

Postby roozers42 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:18 pm

I'll second the comment about the east face of Quandary as an alternative. The slope angle is such that there is minimal avy danger and not as many of the hazards you will find in the Cristo Couloir. The east face is my only mountain descent so I can't compare it to anything, but I was able to do it after just learning to ski (3 seasons.)
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