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Quandary Peak: Not Ski Related

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Not ski related, would like some input on Quandary Peak.

 

My friend and I are heading to Breckenridge late Feb and looking to possibly ascend Quandary. I've been reading reviews about it, but as always they all are different. We both are active and in pretty good shape, shoe, hike, etc. never climbed a mountain tho.

 

Questions are:

 

How long is the journey? I’ve read 4.5 hours & 8 hours, what would be the average winter travel time?

 

Is the trail traveled regularly & easily identifiable, or would we need a guide?

 

Any input would be helpful, and appreciated

post #2 of 9

Well, if you've "never climbed a mountain tho", a February ascent of Quandary Peak isn't a great idea.  Quandary is a simple day hike in the summer, on a clear, well-trodden path with lots of other people around.  Even then, it's a real 14er, and one wants to carry storm gear, in case the unexpected happens.  In winter, the unexpected happens often, and even the experienced could pay a very high price.  I've climbed and skied Quandary many, many times (see my trip report of skiing Cristo Couloir two years ago somewhere on this site). In winter, there is usually no clear trail.  In winter, high winds can come from nowhere and turn a sunny day into a snowy hurricane, just like that.  I've been on Quandary on winter days when you could see 100 miles, and on winter days when you couldn't see 100 feet. The difference between Quandary's easy east ridge and its cliffy south face is just a short wander off course.

 

Quandary  is perfectly reasonable as your first 14er.  Come back in August.

post #3 of 9

Agree with raspirz's comments above.

 

Not a good idea to do on your own in Feb, without someone with experience and knowledgable about conditions and the route.

Easy for rapidly changing conditions, wind, ice, no identifiable route above treeline, risk of not getting up and down by dark.

post #4 of 9
Exactly what ways said above. A winter 14er is not a great into into mountain climbing without someone experienced. If you really want to climb a mountain though I'd recomend posting over on 14ers.com. It's a great resource for everything about climbing 14ers and maybe someone over there with some experience is planning on an easy climb somewhere...
post #5 of 9
Quote:

no identifiable route above treeline, risk of not getting up and down by dark.

Oh, right. I forgot that. With no clear trail in winter, even when you've done it 20 times before, it's really easy to not trend far enough right as you descend through the woods and have a far more "interesting" afternoon than you'd planned. Wanna guess how I know that?

post #6 of 9

A better choice might be Mount Sniktau from Loveland Pass.  It's a straightforward ridge hike from an easily-accessible trailhead, and not as big a commitment as Quandary.

http://www.13ers.com/peaks/peak.php?peakkey=5040

post #7 of 9
Why would you be considering your first 14er in February?

This is an idea so bad it has the distinct possibility of being life threatening.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Think we'll pass on this for now & plan for it when more suitable conditions permit; not looking for a trip gone bad. When researching it appeared (under reviews) as challenging, yet doable for first-timers. Unclear to the true difficulty & conditions winter would pose, I posted the question. Thank you raspritz for painting the picture clear, and for all the other input & resources.

post #9 of 9

In the summer it is a good first-time 14er on a good weather day.   Any 14er is the winter is a no-go first-timers.

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