Ascent of Quandary Peak, Jan 30, 1999
I'd been saving Quandary Peak for the winter. Its east ridge is a classic novice ski descent and I thought I'd try out my new tele skis on its slopes.

From Colorado Springs I first headed west on US 24, turning right on highway 9 at Hartsel, continuing north through Fairplay, then up and over Hoosier Pass, descending a couple of miles before turning left on county road 850.  In the summer you can continue on 851 for a short distance to the Quandary trailhead, but  in Winter it is closed. 

With my pack loaded up with skis and snowshoes, Sam the Wolfdog and I trudged up the road. There were several spurs where skiiers and hikers had angled up to the ridge, but I continued on the road until reaching the clearly marked trailhead.

East Ridge of Quandary Peak
View towards Lincoln, Democrat, Bross from Quandary
On this brilliantly blue sky day, we weren't the only ones climbing Quandary. We passed four groups of climbers, including one group of six who snowboarded off the summit. About half an hour before we reached the summit someone came running past heading down the slope in snowshoes. 

The six guys on snowboards each broke out a Foster Lager on the summit to celebrate the ascent. A couple of them had really been dragging over the last couple hundred yards on the way up.

Skiing directly from the summit looked pretty scary, so I dropped a couple hundred feet before donning the skis. That was hard enough. The snow was pretty crusty and difficult to get an edge on. My inexperience with tele skis also led me to fall my way down the mountain as much as ski. Back to the car by 2 P.M. we were home in the Springs before dark. Quandary Summit

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