I probably have 30 or more climbs of this peak because of doing trail runs, or winter skis of the peak and Its less than an hour drive from my house. Quandary is a high and easily accessible peak near Breckenridge, so it was nice to get it done now, although in other times that I have skied the peak like last year for example, the conditions were much better so I was able to ski the north face of the peak.
This time we just did the east ridge descent, and I can’t say the conditions were great at all. Nevertheless, I can check this peak off and move on to the next peaks. It was an early start on a very windy morning in the 10-Mile Range.I met up with Chris Tomer who motivated me to push through and get it done.
In the first hour of darkness before the sunrise we crested the lower reaches of the ridge and then it got windy! For a Saturday there were up to 100 people coming up Quandary when we descended. For now the snow conditions for skiing are dreadful, but they will get better later this spring! Once piece of advice, in winter, make sure you have plenty of warm layers and prepare for strong winds!
See you on the next peak!
Peak #4: January 23, 2016
Ski Route: East Ridge
Skiable Vertical: 6 miles RT and 3500′
Ski Partners: Chris Tomer
Start Time: 6:00 AM
Reached Summit: 9:00 AM
End Time: 11:00 AM
Tomer making nicer turns near timberline
The morning at the Iowa Gulch Trailhead accessed from Leadville was one of the coldest mornings of the entire project .In the increasing morning light show my friend Roger and his friend Alex met me at the trailhead and we headed towards the peak. It was calm and gorgeous as we moved to timberline along the snowed in 4WD road in -12 temps.
A two mile slog up the road got us into the basin below the west face of Sherman. I had skied Sherman’s west face last May, but this time it was pretty bare. Fortunately for the fresh snow the day before, there was a nice ribbon of snow in the gully leading to the Saddle between the 13er Sheridan (to the south) and Sherman to the north. The two peaks named for former generals in the US army from the 1800s stood side by side as we ascended into the gully.
The fresh snow gave the peak a nice touch, and we were soon on the saddle between the two peaks heading up Sherman’s Southwest Ridge. The winds began to pick up above 13,500’ so I kicked it into high gear, cresting the summit ridge and reaching the summit.
Roger had turned back briefly to check on Alex, and once he had confirmed Alex had safely descended back in to the valley, Roger came up to the summit to meet me. I was able to wait on top for 45 minutes or some in the morning sunshine on the leeward side of the peak in relative comfort.
The new powder had made some huge drifts, so after some photos, Roger and I dropped into the southeast and south face of Sherman towards the 4-mile Drainage and the Hilltop Mine. The snow here was excellent powder and we skied almost 1000’ into the basin.
Then the hard part came, we had to reascend and mainly traverse back to the saddle Between Sherman and Sheridan. With winds up to 50mph in our face, it was tough, but we got it done.
Once on the saddle, we skied the west gully back down into Iowa Gulch and were soon back on our way to the trailhead. It felt awesome to get Sherman in the bag because without that new snow, it may not have been skiable.
20 peaks down and the adventure continues, what a spectacular Easter Sunday!
Peak#20: Easter Sunday, March 28, 2016.
Ski Route: West Gullies / Southwest Ridge / Descent of Southeast Face and west gullies.
Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 10mi / 3100′
Ski Partners: Roger Carter and his friend Alex
Start Time: 7am
Reached Summit: 10:30am
End Time: 1:30pm
Looking back up towards the peak and the gully we skied. Peak #20 in the bag
I actually don’t have a ton to say about this day out there. It felt great to get some reasonable weather with only a few wind gusts from the northwest, and I was able to efficiently climb and ski all four peaks, including Cameron, which isn’t really considered an official 14er.
This gave me a total of 28 14ers skied for 2016 and the halfway point for all the 14ers this season!
Nevertheless, I was efficient and even skied some off of Lincoln’s northeast face before climbing back up Lincoln and heading to Democrat. Photos of the day help tell the story.
The Adventure continues, thanks for reading!
Peaks #25-28: Thursday, April 7, 2016.
Elevation: 14,172′, 14,286, 14,238′, 14,148′.
Ski Route: Southwest couloir up from Kite Lake, Descent of West Ridge, traverse to Lincoln, south to Cameron, Cameron’s SE Face to Democrat, Democrat’s Southeast Couloir.
Roundtrip Mileage and Vertical: 12.5mi / 4,700′ (Bross, Lincoln, Cameron, and Lincoln together).
Ski Partners: Solo Mission (30 minutes on each summit except Cameron)
Start Time: 8am
Reached Summit of Bross: 10:15am
Summit of Lincoln: 11am
Summit of Cameron: 114:5am
Summit of Democrat: 12:45pm
Timer photo on summit of Democrat
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