Quandary Peak Ski

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Date: December 29, 2009
Partner: Brian B.
Route: Ascent of East Ridge, Summit ski descent of East Face to East Ridge

Climbing and skiing the East Ridge on Quandary has been documented many times before, there`s really not much to say about this route that hasn`t been said previously.  However for my own documentation purposes and for anyone out there seeking beta I thought I`d add yet another East Ridge TR to the interwebs.

I met up with Brian (14ers.com user “rolo tomassi”) Tuesday morning at the Quandary TH,  we set off under blue skies for a short winter outing up the East Ridge.  Brian was looking to snowshoe it for fitness purposes, I was looking to finally ski this peak following a November attempt that abruptly ended due to insufficient snow cover high up.  Now however there`s a decent amount of snow both below and above treeline, I was able to ski from summit to car with just one small ski carry.

Grays and Torreys across the valley.

The skin through the woods went quickly; within an hour Brian and I were above the “first step”.  The upper East Face looked to be filled in nicely with that typical sastrugi, wind-compacted winter snow.  There were a few other hikers on the ridge, and a few skiers who elected to leave their skis at the base of the East Face.  We continued on up and enjoyed a complete absence of wind, atypical for a late December day on Quandary.  I realized early on that I forgot to charge my camera battery, thankfully Brian had his camera along and managed to snap a few shots along the way.  All photos were taken by Brian.

East Face looks good to go.

Silverheels looking windswept.

A ski paraglider launched off the summit when Brian and I were 15 minutes from the top, that would have been cool to see up close.

Nearing the summit.

Brian and I summited in 3 hours, not great but decent for winter.  A few minutes later a group of 2 showed up and logged their first 14er summits.  Congrats guys!

Tenmile Range Centennials.

…and a few more.

Brain took off down the ridge and I got ready to ski.  I set off from the register and skied down the summit ridge, a few turns later and I was on the East Face.

Looking down the east face.

I took my time, working through rock bands and avoiding sastrugi features when possible.  Within 15 minuted of leaving the summit I was back on the East Ridge with Brian, from there the only option was to ski a ribbon of snow down the south side of the ridge line.

Skiing along the ridge.

I did make a point to avoid the lower East Bowl as it`s usually slide prone this time of year, and the route can be skied cleanly on a lower angle south of the bowl anyway.  A few shortcuts through the trees and Brian and I capped off the day in just under 5.5 hours.  Conditions for skiing up there are just about as good as can be expected for calendar winter.  Cheers!

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