October 13, 2016

Quandary Peak via South Gully

By Sjboatwright In 53-14 Colorado, On the Trail

Height/Round Trip: 14,265  feet (4,348 meters) / 2 miles via the South Gully
Map
Class 2 

Quandary Peak is often considered an entry-level mountain for many first-time mountaineers.  Truth is, Quandary, the tallest mountain of the Tenmile range, is what you make it.  If you’d like, you can take the class one route to the summit in a 6.75 mile round-trip.  If you’re looking for a bigger challenge though, there’s three alternative routes to scramble up.  Me and the crew choose South Gully, basically a leg busting, mile-long scramble up a Coulior that leads directly to the summit.  You’ll gain 2,575 feet in the climb, which is the steepest mile I’ve found in Colorado.

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When we started our day the goal was the roof of Colorado, Mount Evans.  Our plans changed abruptly when a massive pile up on the highway set us back for hours.  It made for a great photo shoot though (Due to mysteriously breaking my phone on a drunken Friday night, all the pictures belong to the ever talented Kate Francher).

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The trail head begins at the reservoir that feeds neighboring Breckenridge.  Look closely or you may end up shooting clear past it and start the class three scramble up the West Ridge.

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The climb is exactly what you would expect, long scrambles followed by longer bouts of catching your breath.  On our breaks we watched snow bands turn the area in a Himalaya-esk landscape, while some mountain goats watched our struggle.

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There are a few markers up the route, but for the most part, you carve your own path through the rocks.  Near the summit, I knew I was not going to be able to stand up there for too long, as my hands started to lose all feeling.  That didn’t stop me from posing for a few photos at the top of the massif though, marking our 10th 14er.  We make it look good.

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Cheers!

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