Quandary Peak (14,265 Feet)

Where: Tenmile Range, Colorado
When: June 2008
Partners: Andy McClure
Route: (Ascent) West Ridge - Class 3 / (Descent) Cristo Couloir - Class 2
Mileage/Gain: 5/2,600
Topo: Here

Andy Mac and I started out one morning for a climb of the Inwood Arete (5.4) on Quandary Peak. With rain the previous night and soft, melting snow above the route, we swung around to the other side of the peak for a run up the West Ridge. Gerry Roach suggested the class 3 route to be a classic, so let's do it!

High on Quandary Peak's west ridge

Heading up the beautiful snowy bowl below the Quandary-Fletcher ridge, we soon gained the saddle. Andy set off for a romp up Fletcher, one of the Centennial peaks, while I started up the West Ridge.
Andy approaching Fletcher's summit

With a touch of fun scrambling just above the saddle, a use trail leads most of the way up the ridge until...the ridge shapes up into a fine, serrated collection of gendarmes, crags and pure joy. And then the summit...
Heading down the Cristo Couloir

Shortly before Andy reached the summit of Quandary, I started down the Cristo Couloir, a very short (one mile) return to our vehicles at Blue Lake, a straight shot of 2,600 feet down the steep couloir.
Blue Lake, still mostly frozen

Nearing the well-iced Blue Lake near the bottom of the couloir, I looked over at the vehicles at the trailhead, where DB had elected to enjoy a sleep-in on her rest day, and saw that the vehicle was surrounded by a large group of perhaps 25 mountain goats. Licking the tires and undercarriage of the vehicle while DB trembled inside, it was only as I finally approached that the mosey'd off.
A family of mountain goats at the trailhead