Quandary Peak

Photo of Quandary Peak
Photo uploaded by Trisha Conlon

Quandary Peak is tied with Castle Peak as the 12th highest peak in Colorado. It is the highest peak and only fourteener in the Ten Mile Range. It is just South of Breckenridge. The most popular and easiest route up is via its long and gentle East ridge. This peak is also a great winter climb and ski descent, due to its excellent access and gentle slopes.

Additional text submitted by Ted Eliason

The South 'Cristo' Couloir is a consistent 45 degree slope from base to summit. It can be climbed in roughly 2 to 5 hours depending on pace (I took me 4 hours, the fastest climbers on the mountain 5/27 completed the climb in two hours right behind me). The couloir itself is fairly sheltered from the wind and makes for good cramponing. The pitch is too steep to rely on skis with skins alone.

There was snow cover from the summit to the base on 5/20/00. By 5/27/00 a large rock band was exposed in the slope near the summit, preventing a ski decent starting from the summit. Sunhit in the couloir was around 7:30 am, with snow conditions becoming optimal for skiing around 10:30-11:00 am.

Climbers on the summit that took the East ridge claimed the slope was gradual enought that crampons were not required, even though there remained some snow cover.

Elevation (feet): 14,265
Elevation (meters): 4,348
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Central Colorado Ranges
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.3972
Longitude: -106.106
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Nearest major airport: Denver
Convenient Center: Breckenridge

Thanks to Kirk Mallory for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

There are 42 trip reports for Quandary Peak.

  • Log #11711 - by Karen and Chris on Sep 21, 20043.00 stars
    Our first 14er! We vacation in Breckenridge every summer and have done most of the hikes in the area; finally ready to tackle Quandary. We did a couple of "warm-up" hikes earlier in the...
  • Log #11712 - by Shawn Voigts on Sep 05, 20043.00 stars
    Great views but alot of wind. My friend and I were joined by a yellow lab named "Quandry Dog" on the summit. He then followed us down and was turned over to the Breckenridge PD.
  • Log #11714 - by Shannon Henry on Aug 26, 20043.00 stars
    We live at the beach of NC and we made the climb witout altitude sickness. We did give ourselves 3 days to acclimate. We hiked slow -- 4 hours and 20 minutes to the summit, 2 hours on the return....
  • Log #11715 - by Denny Drees on Aug 20, 20043.00 stars
    One major goal of my Colorado trip was a climb up Quandary. It was my first 14er and it was everything I had anticipated. It was a sunny, mild day and the view from top was awesome. We could clearly...
  • Log #11716 - by Craig Powell on Aug 15, 20043.00 stars
    Parked at the Monte Cristo Trailhead, and went up via the standard route. It was a good route, very straightforward. It would be an excellent first fourteener route for someone. Gorgeous views from...
  • Log #11717 - by Dan Wiedrich on Aug 12, 20043.00 stars
    This is one of the easiest of the Colorado 14ers. I got back to my car by 10:30 am. I think a storm rolled in shortly thereafter.
  • Log #11718 - by Roxane Joens-Matre on Aug 01, 20043.00 stars
    I was diagnosed with cancer on August 4, 2003, and have had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation this past year. I promised myself I would climb a 14'er after all of that, and I did! Thanks to my...
  • Log #11719 - by Elaine on July 08, 20043.00 stars
    Absoluely an awesome climb. Climbed Quandry with 13 girls ranging from 12 - 14. We started the climb early 1:20 in the a.m. just because as a large group you need to go slower and take several breaks.
  • Log #11720 - by James Williams on July 07, 20043.00 stars
    This climb was special for me, not only because it was my first 14'er, but also because it was my 30th birthday. I started up the trail at about 6:20am. After raining the night before, I saw that...
  • Log #11721 - by David Watson on July 03, 20043.00 stars
    The views of Democrat and Bros are awesome. Bring More clothes than you think you need for the summit. Outstanding!
  • Log #11722 - by Karen on June 22, 20043.00 stars
    An absolutely gorgeous day to hike, followed by the most amazing site at the summit!! A well-versed "mountain" man at the summit gave us a verbal "tour" of our surroundings-...
  • Log #11723 - by Jerry Fultz on Apr 02, 20043.00 stars
    7 of the 8 in our party made the summit, with one having to drop out at 13,000' due to altitude sickness. Several large snowfields en route made for dificult waist-deep postholing. Lots of sunshine,...
  • Log #11724 - by Ross & Kyle Jendro on Apr 01, 20043.00 stars
    1st 14er!!! Only people to hike the summitt on a gorgeous spring day. It was difficult getting above the treeline as the snow had no consistency and could not even support snow shoes. It was well...
  • Log #11725 - by Amber Rene'e Martin (Bat) on Mar 13, 20043.00 stars
    My first 14er. The sky was clear; the air was warm; and it was only a little windy at the top. Couldn't have asked for a better day in terms of visability. The descent was a bit messy.
  • Log #11726 - by Jason Dunster on Jan 14, 20043.00 stars
    East ridge conditions are good. The trail through tree line is snow packed but fairly worn. Ridge to summit is a combination of exposed rock and snow. Minimal post-holing.
  • Log #11727 - by Erik Etheridge on Dec 25, 20033.00 stars
    My first ascent was in July, 2001, and my second was in May, 2003. While the May ascent was done in snowshoes and our group was able to ski the descent, I inquired worse weather on the summer ascent....
  • Log #11728 - by W. Moore on Dec 10, 20033.00 stars
    Visiting from the east coast, I had never even seen a mountain larger than 6,000 feet and Quandary was the first attempt at a climb. It was definitely a rewarding experience and the resulting...
  • Log #11729 - by Craig Waters on Nov 26, 20033.00 stars
    My first climbing experience. Had a good time and have continued with other adventures.
  • Log #11730 - by Dale Burns on Oct 01, 20033.00 stars
    After a few troubles finding the new trailhead, we had a great hike. Lots of fun.
  • Log #11731 - by Kara Diamond- Husmann on Sep 14, 20033.00 stars
    Sunny beautiful fall day!! We were going to get up early and drive to Quandary Peak, but instead we decided to sleep in till 10:00. at 11:00 we decided to leave Vail and drive to Breckenridge. Most...
  • Log #11732 - by Chris Curtis on Aug 29, 20033.00 stars
    Only my 5th 14er but the easiest and best maintained. Following the signs off Hwy 9 to the trailhead is easy and the trail is very well defined. The best part of the hike was seeing the mountain...
  • Log #11733 - by Peter & Ben Alexander on Aug 28, 20033.00 stars
    Peter, Linda and Ben (12) climbed Mt. Quandary on July 4, 2002. This was the most crowded 14er we have been on, with almost as many dogs as people -- probably because it was the 4th? Be sure and use...
  • Log #11734 - by Melissa Morrison on Aug 27, 20033.00 stars
    On the way up, I was asking why God decided to make this mountain so high. Then praised Him at the top because of the spectacular view! This was my first 14-er, and I really didn't think I would make...
  • Log #11735 - by Justin Sterger on Aug 15, 20033.00 stars
    Great hike. Sean tried to ascend on skiis, while I snowshoed. We dropped our respective gear once arriving at the ridge to the summit. Great view, and one of the coolest hikes I've ever done.
  • Log #11736 - by Jordan Clay on Aug 01, 20033.00 stars
    This was my choice for the first ascent of a 14er with my three oldest children ages 13, 10 and 8. It would have been a good choice if I had any sense and found the trailhead for the standard route...
  • Log #11737 - by Darryl Straker on July 24, 20033.00 stars
    First fourteener. It was a life statement. I wanted to ruen around a few times but I kept at it. It took me 4 hours 45 minutes to ascend.
  • Log #11738 - by Mark Wefler on July 23, 20033.00 stars
    This was our first ever fourteener. My wife, Suzanne, and I started at 7:00am on a Sunday. Beautiful clear day with not much breeze. Very physically challenging since having only been at altitude for...
  • Log #11739 - by Carl E. Helton on July 21, 20033.00 stars
    This was my 10th 14er and when I went to bed the night before, in my heart I wanted to climb this one for my Dad who told me last year on my cell phone while I was standing on Mt. Huron that he...
  • Log #11740 - by Doug Reilley on July 19, 20033.00 stars
    My buddies and I flew in from the east coast the day before for a sales meeting in Boulder and decided to do some hiking at altitude. Unfortunately we didn't have alot of time to acclimatize so we...
  • Log #11741 - by Jeffrey Donnelly on June 23, 20033.00 stars
    Great hike, easy, but worth it. Still spots of snow to cross near the summit, easily accomplished with just trail shoes. The views and the weather were incredible.
  • Log #11742 - by Matt Loscalzo on June 20, 20033.00 stars
    First 14'er of the season summiting & descending the East Ridge. Super mellow route with an equally mellow ski descent. Did as a preparation for climbing the Grand Teton the following week. My...
  • Log #11743 - by Chris Luczynski on May 29, 20033.00 stars
    From sea-level to summit with less than 48 hours acclimatization.....Probably made the hike a lot harder than it could have been.
  • Log #11744 - by John and Stacey Sype on May 04, 20033.00 stars
    Parked on the Blue Lakes Road at the snow closure about a half-a-mile in. Headed out on snowshoes to the dam at the base of the Cristo Couloir. We started up the couloir at about 6:30 AM. The couloir...
  • Log #11745 - by Jeff Skrocki on Mar 18, 20033.00 stars
    Started on the ascent around 6:30 with snow shoes and poles in tow. This happened to be my first fourteener and it was a winter ascent as well. It was a good hike thanks to the snow shoes and took...
  • Log #18742 - by David Phillips on Oct 01, 20053.00 stars
    Set out at 7 am on Tuesday, 9/27 and got to roughly the top of the first hump on Quandry. But wind was howling and looking up to the summit, nothing but nastly looking dark clouds moving fast. With...
  • Log #18856 - by STEVE LOYD on Feb 14, 20063.00 stars
  • Log #18887 - by John Radabaugh on Sep 03, 20053.00 stars
    I have Multiple Sclerosis and had quite a time climbing - used the East Ridge route - took 9.5 hours with my limited leg use it was tough - but my 2 sons, 1 daughter, 1 daughter-in-law and 1 son-in...
  • Log #20181 - by Joann on Sep 27, 20063.00 stars
    The weather was overcast, but comfortable. Climbed the East side, an easy hike with some step rocky grades. Total RT 6 hrs with a steady pace, including breaks and small lunch at the summit with my...
  • Log #20971 - by Patrick L. Lilly on Aug 23, 20073.00 stars
    Did a night climb to watch the Perseid meteors. Left the Monte Cristo TH at about 1 am (MDT) and reached the summit just before sunrise. Accompanied by daughter Trisha and her friend Jim. A repeat...
  • Log #21267 - by Alan Bishop on Apr 26, 20083.00 stars
    Its a fairly easy ascent, that is very short in terms of total distance to the top. I highly recomend it as a starter fourteener.
  • Log #21417 - by Darrell Commander on Sep 05, 20083.00 stars
    A cold front had blown through earlier in the week, so it was clear and very brisk when I started out around 7:40 AM. Encountered a trail runner and two other hikers on their way down as I was going...
  • Log #21615 - by Mike on Mar 08, 20093.00 stars
    My first 14er at age 11 Great view from the top cant remember much about the trip though