Peak(s):  Quandary Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  01/18/2013
Modified:  01/21/2013
Date Climbed:   01/16/2013
Author:  boudreaux
 Winter Quandary   

I'm just gonna post a few photos of the day, it was a very nice day. Started out with a little fog at the TH, but by the time we reached the krumholtz, we were above the clouds and the temps went from 15 degrees to 30 degrees. Not much snow on the mountain above the treeline. The packed trail was sometimes 8" higher than the adjacent slope, just shows how much the wind has scoured this peak.

All the snow is at or below the treeline

You can see in these two pictures how little snow there is. I was amazed that Brec or Copper was doing some avy control that day. The wind is always working, but geez!

I met Tockelstein2005 in Breckenridge and we drove up to the TH in the fog, we got a nice view of the summit as we passed The Skier's Edge. We had a little trouble on the 1st slope at the last signpost, the packed trail disappeared beneath the wind blown snow and it was searching for the trail with my poles, kinda like doing avy rescue training, but it worked and saved us from deep postholing. After that it was smooth sailing on the packed trail.

At about 12,400, my left foot got really cold and Tockelstein continued on without me. But after about 10 minutes I ran into a large group of guys from They encouraged me to try the warmers, and was glad I did. I think this added about 400' to my day and by the time I was approaching the summit I was almost crawling up, Tockelstein was coming back down, I guess I was about 45 minutes behind him or so. High above the clouds, I could see the clouds spilling over Hoosier Pass and the Continental Divide like water pouring out of a bowl. I just was glad the hard part was over, I think I need a little more fitness or something, that was a struggle. I'm just like a horse, point me toward the barn and I know the feed bag is in there waiting for me, so going down was no problem!

East slopes look loaded on Atlantic, Fletcher/Atlantic Ridge is my favorite!

Red Mountain/Hoosier Ridge west slopes look wind bown and sparse

He slowed down for me to catch up and I rejoined him at the flat part of the ridge just below the summit pyramid. It was a good day, Tockelstein got his 14er and we enjoyed some good company on the trail. The fog moved off to the south and the hike back down to the TH was no problem in the fading light of the late afternoon.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Comments or Questions

For the record
01/18/2013 20:41
There was not much wind blowing today. We hiked up in crampons with poles. I wore 2 pairs of socks, 3 layers on legs and 4 layers on upper body and sometimes up to 5 and 6 especially on the summit break and downclimb of summit pyramid. When I took off my gaitors, I noticed that some of my layers were bunched up about mid-calf, after straightening this out and removing one of two socks, I immediately felt my foot warm up, and added the warmer for insurance. Those guys told me to wait about 15 minutes for it to warm up in there, but hell, I was ready to go now, so off I went to catch Tockelstein. The hardest part is re-climbing something a second time, once I got past that mental torture, I was ok the rest of the way!


Socks - thanks for the report
01/18/2013 23:01
If your boots are sized for thick and or two pairs of socks, then they mean extra insulation - good. If your boots are sized for thin or just one pair of socks, then extra can hurt circulation - bad.


Thanks - RT Time?
01/19/2013 01:16
Probably hitting this one up this weekend since it looks like good conditions will hold, what was your round trip time by the way?


Boots & Socks
01/19/2013 15:39
I bought my Asolos at the REI Garage Sale a few years ago, they were actually a couple sizes too big, so I usually wear 2 pairs of socks to make them fit. I paid $11 for them, so I made it work. I wear REI expedition weight socks, so they are thick, but I never have any problems. I really think it was just the layers plus the socks bunching up inside my gaitors, which are OR mediums and may be a bit small with that much going on! But each foot is not the same size and maybe I should just wear one sock on the left foot or a different weight sock! Whatever the reason, that foot came back quickly and never bothered me again that day.

Griff, it took me a pedestrian 8 hours RT, not what you call fast, but I like to enjoy my hike and have a good day the next and not suffer so much. It was such a nice day out, there was really no need to hurry.

I wish I had taken a picture of the east basin below the SW face, it looks good for an attempt on the west ridge route, look at how North Star is almost bare except for the NE aspects. I would say the north face of Q looks the same.


awesome day!
01/19/2013 22:57
hi boudreaux I was out there that day, made it up top in between you and your friend, I think. Congrats on getting out in winter again!


Great day
01/21/2013 16:03
Thanks again for coming up to climb, and glad we both made the summit.


It was an Awesome Great Day!
01/21/2013 23:38
Yeah Tockelstein, it was nice meeting up with you for your 1st ascent of Quandary. We matched up well, same height, same stride. Too bad we didn't summit together, I missed your triumph at the top. Hopefully we can hook again in the future sometime.

Dearhouse, I remember you well, I could barely look up to you when you stopped coming off the summit. Winter is not so bad, but this is a mild one so far, maybe a March attempt is in the works! You and Mtngoat72 should join me if you can?


A little something
01/22/2013 03:18
I put this together for fun...hope you enjoy it!

A family vacation is in the works for July - possibly Vail so let's hit up Elbert or Massive!


01/22/2013 13:11
That was an outstanding video you put together, who is the giutar solo by? I really liked the vids of the clouds, the vanishing mists.

Yeah, you let me know your dates as soon as you know them, and I will plan something


01/22/2013 17:08
That's Joe Satriani. Glad you liked it! It was actually good that I waited for allowed time to capture those clouds. I have a lot of fun putting these together after my trips.

Tentatively, it looks like late July for the family vacation, but if that falls through I'll be back in Colorado for sure sometime this year!


QP in March sounds great to me!
01/22/2013 22:58
I'm gonna go out on a limb and speculate that MtnGoat72 may be up for it too, haha

tockelstein2005 - nice video, I took many of the same pics that day. I like the clouds ebbing and flowing around 2:00 and 4:00


I Love It When A Plan Comes Together!
01/23/2013 01:17
OK, I'll set something up for March on a w/e!

Late July sounds good, I'll be ready!


I'm In
01/23/2013 03:40
March sounds good. So count me in!

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