As I prepare for some of our trips to Nepal, Peru and Kilimanjaro I like to test my physical conditioning on Quandary Peak. I am a big fan of Quandary peak 14,265 feet or 4,388 meters in Colorado, although it can be very busy in the summer months. There is great hiking, climbing and skiing routes on this mountain. We love the easy access to all routes on this mountain.
A Busy Mountain
Quandary Peak is the most commonly climbed fourteener in Colorado but there are ways to avoid the crowds. The standard route starts just off Blue Lakes road. There is a car park right off the road. This drive is approximately 8 miles from the town of Breckenridge below Hoosier pass. We are lucky enough to have a friend who has a hot tub and home at the base of the mountain.
In April, May there can be some great skiing off Quandry and always look forward to skiing off a 14,000 foot peak at least once a year. While an easy 14er, Quandary Peak is still an undertaking for the average person. Bring sun protection and plenty of water! You should always check the conditions before skiing and always bring safety equipment. Never ski on your own. Expect 2 to 3 hours for a fast ascen and 4-6 hours for the average hiker.
A Climbing Route
If you are looking for a more adventurous ascent why not climb on the northern side of Quandary peak. You could consider the Inwood Arete, it is graded as a 5.4 climb. When you turn off route 9, follow CR851 and drive for about 2 miles and park. As you look ahead you will see Quandary on your left. You hike for an hour out past a small lake and then move directly towards the face. You will have to make your way over a small stream and then rope up for the ascent.
Scrambling and steep hiking
After about 7 pitches you will move onto steep but walkable terrain. From here you can but back on your hiking boots and walk the final 600 feet to the summit of Quandary. You will pop out on the ridge and see hikers off in the distance on the normal route up the peak.
Once you reach the summit you will see Atlantic peak and wheeler peak. You can see the peaks along Breckenridge ski resort and over to a range of other 14,000 foot peaks. The normal route is steep in places and mixed rocky terrain. You need to take your time on the descent on the normal trail. From 14,265 feet it is a rocky trail all the way down to 11,700 feet where you move back onto forest trail.
Flora and Fauna
Look out for the famous mountain goats on Quandary they can be seen just above tree line all the way up to the final steep ridge to the summit. You will be above tree line for the majority of this hike. You don’t come to Quandary for wildflowers or vast amounts of Alpine flowers. Hike quandary for the physical challenge. Follow us on Instagram.
We can be found on Quandary Peak at least once a year so why not join us and test yourself on this stunning 14er. Hiking in Colorado is a great way to prepare for any of our International Trekking or mountaineering trips. Get in touch for further information.