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Quandary Peak Oct 2010

Pictures from this trip

I had decided to go out to Colorado with the intent on taking my sister and brother-in-law out to a 14er and summit it with me so they could see the beauty of the mountains and the surrounding summits. The day started at 7 AM.

I had invited an old friend of mine, Logan, from the Purdue Outing Club. He was interested in 14ers also and I thought it would be fun to hike this mountain with him. We reached the trailhead around 8:15, met up with Logan, got everything ready and went on our way. The trail was very easy to find, having seen all the trip reports and pictures.

The first leg starts out really steep, but starting at around 10,850ft, the tree line was easily reachable within 35-45 minutes. At this time, my sister was feeling the effects of altitude sickness. It wasn't apparent until we pressed on and waited for them at the edge of the tree line. I made sure that she spent a day or two (~36 hours) in a mountain town to acclimate to the high altitude. The first day she did get a headache and had to take some medicine, but she wanted to try to mountain in hopes that the effects would ware off. But at the tree line (11,500ft) the effects were apparent. They ventured for about 45 more minutes before turning back to the car. She insisted that Logan and I press on for he summit.

From there on, we started for the summit, it was clear in the distance and seemed a lot closer than it was. As we cleared the tree line I had realized that Karen and Chris didn't have too much water, so I left one of mine on the trail so that they could pick it up if they made it that far. I had texted her that we left it for them. I figured if they didn't make the summit, it would be good to drink on the way down. At this point I was started to feel the effects of the elevation and Logan was well acclimated having spend the last 5 months in Colorado. I was slowing down but not stopping.. I was still good!!

We reached a level ridge that lasted about ½ mile, it provided a refreshing walk before starting on the final leg of the journey.

Since the mountain was well traveled and there were other hikers around, Logan went on ahead for some exercise where he would meet me at the summit.

The last leg started at about 13,000ft, I was slowing down even more, the air was getting thinner and thinner, even though I worked out every other day for the past two months, it was still hard to keep moving. It may not have seemed to help much but it left me with just enough energy to make the summit. I took 5 minutes to catch my breath and I was good. Logan only took about 30 seconds. I was jealous!!. Logan made it to the summit around 12:05 PM, I arrived at 12:25 PM.

The view was absolutely amazing, there were minimal clouds in the sky and I could see Greys and Torreys Peak, Mount Elbert, and Mount Massive. All those mountains were at least 30-40 miles away. I'm pretty sure there were others, but at the time I didn't identify them.

I have respect for Quandary Peak. Even though the route is listed as a Class I, it's not the trail that gets you, it's the elevation. Quandary Peak gains over 3,000ft in 3 miles, it's quite a hike and be sure to bring your trekking poles. I got a lot of wind and a bit of sunburn, make sure to always apply sun block, even if it's cold, you will still get burned.

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