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Quandary Peak
Tenmile-Mosquito Range, Colorado
August 30, 2006

Although Dinah and I wished to ascend a few fourteeners, we like climbing in solitude and wanted to avoid the crowds that come with popular mountains with popular ascent routes. Quandary Peak isn't popular and it offers a fast, quiet route. Most people hike the long east ridge, but we scrambled up the south slope, a short but steep route. We didn't encounter a soul on our ascent.

The trail starts at Blue Lake and follows a gully. Although it's possible to hike up either side of the gully, we took the gully and were able to take in some scrambling. Mindful of the debilitating high-altitude headaches we had two days earlier on Mount Audubon, we took our time.

On reaching the top we met people relaxing in the windbreak. They, like others coming up, hiked up the east ridge.

On the descent, we followed a trail. A park ranger had warned us that people had been rescued on the descent using this route when they ran into cliff bands, a fact that confounds me. We could see our car from the summit and on either side of the gully stretched broad scree slopes. I couldn't see how people could lose those way on this route.

KML Track


Quandary Peak seen after we turned onto the dirt road leading to the dam (left). Most people hike the gentle skyline ridge, but we ascended the steep slopes left of and below the summit.


Just before the dam at Blue Lake we startled some mountain goats (mouse over)


Starting up the lower south slopes of Quandary


At first I thought I came across some golf balls, but they were puffball mushrooms


What looked like a gully to me, was called a "couloir" in the book


There's some scrambling if one looks for it


Easier terrain can be found on either side of the gully


As interesting as it gets


Solid rock near the bottom gives way to loose rock higher up


Below, you can see the parking lot next to the dam


Dinah (lower right, mouse over) ascended the left side of the gully


I stayed in the gully (centre, mouse over)


Multicoloured rock


Mica in the rock glittered like silver everywhere


Looking back as we neared the summit


On the summit


The summit registers were made of PVC pipe and were attached to a rock by wire cable. Inside, instead of a booklet, were assorted pages, including printouts of the route.


Breckenridge 1:24,000 Topo (2.0 mi, 14,383 ft, 2,598 ft)

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