Ascent of Quandary Peak on 2017-02-05

Climber: Harvest Mondello

Date:Sunday, February 5, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Quandary Peak
    Elevation:14265 ft / 4347 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ascended the Sinclair Couloir Route (topping by switching onto Cristo Couloir Route): Moderate Snow (50 degree max) & Alpine Grade I. 3,382 net elevation gain & 6.0 miles RT from Blue Lake winter access trailhead (11,000) half a mile past the East Slope trailhead. Descended the East Slope Route for a loop. Party of two (Kristen, H TL).

To the annoyance of the CO day hikers that have "rules" about starting every climb at 2 am, being off the mountain by noon and only climbing on sunny July & August days. We started a night winter climb at sunset. Beautiful night for a short, straightforward, climb with great visibility, near full moon, mildly cool temps, moderate winds and very low avi conditions.

The Climb: Starts out as a 30 degree couloir (watch avi conditions).

We switched from the Sinclair Coulior to the Cristo Coulior below the ridge to stay on the snow the majority of the rest of the climb to the summit. The crux was soft steep snow on the upper portion of Cristo. Ice axe, crampons and helmet required. 2nd axe / tool optional. 5 hours on climb up & 3 hours down the standard East Ridge Route. 10 hours cumulative.

The Approach:

2 miles from Blue Lake winter access trailhead (11,000) to Blue Lake (11,700). 2 hours on approach.

Conditions & weather:

Great firm snow. Dug a snow pit to test avi conditions. Consistently firm layers. Near full moon with great visibility. Winds 5-25 mph from the NW. Cool temps in the upper 20's.

There was a snow storm two days later so be very wary of snow / avi conditions.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3265 ft / 995 m
    Grade/Class:AG I (50*)
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3265 ft / 995 m
    Route:Sinclair & Cristo Couloirs
    Start Trailhead:11000 ft / 3352 m
    Time:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Route:East Slope
    Time:3 Hours 

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