Quandary Peak Standard Route Guide

The Quandary Peak Trailhead is among the most easily accessible of all 14ers. Its gentle, Class 1 route is an easy, good choice for a first 14er. However don’t let the ease trick you – many hikers are rescued every year from Quandary’s slopes. Here’s what you need to know, in my Quandary Peak Standard Route Guide.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Quandary Peak Fast Facts

  • Standard Route: East Ridge
  • Trailhead: Quandary Peak
  • Elevation Gain: 3,450 feet
  • Round-Trip Distance: 6.75 Miles
  • Difficulty Level: Class 1 Hike
  • Range: Ten-mile Range

Quandry Peak Standard Route Guide

The Quandary Peak Trailhead is among the most easily accessible of all 14ers. Its gentle, Class 1 route is an easy, good choice for a first 14er. However don’t let the ease trick you – many hikers are rescued every year from Quandary’s slopes. Here’s what you need to know, in my Quandary Peak Standard Route Guide.

RELATED READ: PREPARING FOR A 14ER CLIMB LIKE AN EAGLE SCOUT

The trail starts just past the main Quandary Parking lot – look for the sign marking the start. You begin below tree-line, working your way up a series of gentle switchbacks through the forest. You’ll pass several old mining roads as you go – be sure you follow the signs along the way to stay on route. Eventually you’ll pass above tree-line, and see this view of the route ahead.

Continue hiking until the trail leads to the south side of the East Ridge. In winter, you should skip this section, and head straight up the ridge to avoid avalanche risk. In summer, continue along the side of the slope until you return to the ridge proper through a series of switchbacks. You’ll now approach a flat section I like to call the Catwalk.

RELATED READ: BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HIKING 14ERS

This next section is flat, but often sees strong winds that can significantly move you around. Avoid the steep drop-offs to your left and cornices if you’re climbing early in the year. Once through the Catwalk you’ll start to climb the final crux to reach the summit ridge. Be wary of false summits – what appears to be the top is actually the beginning of a long summit ridge. Don’t be disapointed! 

Finish your hike by walking along the relatively flat summit ridge to the top, marked by a cairn of rocks. Take a few photos, have a snack, and enjoy your accomplishment! Be sure to watch for weather so you can descend quickly if lightning threatens you. If you need more information, check out the route guide on 14ers.com and summitpost.com. I hope you enjoyed my Quandary Peak Standard Route Guide!

RELATED READ: WE SCREWED UP SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO – 10 TIPS FROM 14ER VETERANS

Quandary Peak Standard Route Guide

BRECKENRIDGE Weather Forecast

Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

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MtBelford

About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.