Climbing Quandary Peak, Breckenridge, Colorado
Elevation:  14,265'       Elevation Gain from TH: 3450'      RT Distance: 6.75M
July 16, 2015 - Quandary is a fourteener that I have passed on because it is easy
to reach and a fairly short Class 1 walk-up to summit.  It fit perfectly with my
plans this time, allowing me a good climb to stretch out after the long drive 
across the country.  I've always wanted to stand on top of it, but just never 
stopped before.  So I was happy to arrive after six on a sunny morning, my first
full day of my odyssey in the Rockies.  Temps the night before dropped to an
exhilarating 38 degrees by morning after a good rain the night before.  All was
set for a crisp climb into the high country that I love so much.


Starting after 0630, there were many people already ahead of me on the trail.  In
that the day was clear and the hike up short, I was in no hurry as I took my time
to eat a good breakfast before beginning.  Starting up the early switchbacks
through the pines and firs quickly worked out any kinks from travel.  I soon
got into clmbing mode and worked my way up steadily to treeline.  I could see
many hikers well above me on the ridge, working their way up tediously through
the scree-laced talus.  A boy scout troup of 30 were backpacking their way over
the peak, so it was easy to overtake them with the weight they were bearing. A
couple goats came close enough to take some pics; I always enjoy seeing them.


I probably passed 50 to 60 people who had started earlier before reaching the top
in about two hours.  The wind was quite chilly with gusts of perhaps 25 knots,
so I donned a windbreaker before climbing up and over a final snowfield to reach
the broad summit.  Most people were laboring between frequent breaks.  While I
was not fresh or altitude-prepared and generally don't take breaks, a steady
persistent pace lifted me to the top in fine shape.


People were quite friendly as I probably said "good morning" a couple hundred
times.  Taking advantage of gravity, I coasted down the trail at an easy canter,
jogging in my boots whenever I could.  It felt good to move comfortably down
the trail, ever dancing with the rocks.  The journey back to the car took but an
hour and a half, concluding my climb by 10 a.m.  I enjoyed the climb in the sun
and feel confident I can regain my climbing fitness in time for the coming 
weekend's climbing races.