April 10-11, 2010: This weekend Phil and I took off Saturday afternoon and went down to the Quandary Peak trailhead, just south of Breckenridge, up a switchback or two. We parked, hiked in a little ways (maybe .10 mile past the trailhead sign) and camped for the night. We got up in the morning and skinned up the ridge 3.3 miles 100% uphill (which made for a fast descent). The last bit up to the summit was very firm snow and maxed out the angle for skinning. Most people (including myself) clicked out (sacrilege, I know!). Phil cut wide switchbacks instead. The weather was beautiful – sunny, blue skies, with gusts of wind. It took us 4 hours and 15 minutes from our camp to the summit of Quandary Peak.
From the summit, instead of skiing the icy hard-packed ridge, we descended a perfect bowl to skier’s left. A few other parties were dropping in to the Cristo coulior directly from the summit. Got back to the tent about 1 hour later.
Quandary Peak is a novice colorado 14er descent, but very worthwhile, especially for skiers new to the backcountry.