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Got to the trailhead just before 7pm Thurs night with my buddy and hiked up to treeline. Used headlamps until we found a good spot to camp, and hit the hay by 10pm. We got up later than we had planned around 5:45am, and made our way to the summit. This was my 10th 14er, and the mileage was no joke. The hike from this route seemingly goes on forever after you get above treeline. Enjoy the walk thru the woods early on, because the hike doesn't really start till 11,800. Stay to the left as you ascend the ridge to avoid going too low, and making for a more difficult climb. Amazing views from the summit. Made it back down to camp around noon, and then made the endless descent thru the woods to the car. All in all I imagine this route was more scenic than others, but much, much, longer. We were glad we camped the night before, as this would have been a lot of mileage for a top to bottom trip.

Pretty crowded but the vastness of Quandary makes it okay. Up in 2 hours down in 1.5. Love this 14er.

hiking
7 hours ago

it was a great 14'er to do by myself. nice class 1 at the beginning and then very rocky.

hiking
13 hours ago

Disclaimer: i regularly hike long trails with high elevation like this.

This is a really beautiful hike. The first 2 miles aren’t too brutal but there are definitely some steep climbing sections. The last mile is brutal as you climb over 1,000 feet of elevation, poles were really nice for thIs part! By the time we got to the top there was a cloud all around us so no great view but still rewarding for me. Going down was hard on my knees as it’s all shale.

Details: took us 3 up, 1 1/2 up. Drank 3L of water, and definitely needed a raincoat. We started at 5 am and got a nice parking spot and views of the sunrise.

FYI: we did see mountain goats on this trail which can get aggressive especially towards dogs, and if it does start to rain/thunderstorm shale, the rock the mountain is made of conducts electricity so highly recommend getting off the mountain as quickly as possible.

hiking
1 day ago

My phone showed 8.8 miles in total instead of 6 miles. Fairly easy 14er. Make sure you layer up and waterproof wears. There was a sleet shower and high wind at 10am for 30 mins while I was still ascending. It was freezing at the summit and even with decent gloves, my finger tips got numb. Packing a hand warmer would be a wise idea. Sun shined back on around 1pm though. Decent took less than 2 hours.

This was my first 14er and I did it on 8/17 with my husband. Weather was perfect for us and we made sure to leave the summit by 11:00 to be safe in case of afternoon thunderstorms. We are reasonably fit middle aged people and this was very difficult for us but we finished it! The altitude was hard for my husband but I don't think it bothered me much. My heart and lungs were pounding from all the climbing (it gets hard above the tree line) so I couldn't tell if it was my fitness level or the altitude! We weren't prepared for all the rocks you have to maneuver. It was great to reach the summit and I'm glad I didn't know at the time how hard the descent would be. I recommend the hike but definitely know that it is difficult for those without experience. I recommend 2-3 liters of water. We each brought 3L and used all ours, probably because it took us quite a bit of time.

Great day hiking Quandary Peak. Lots of people on trail; clouds rolled by 10am with sleet/snow at the top. I think it is longer than 6 miles as my phone recorded that I walked 9 miles!

Made it to the top in 2:50, back down in 1:40. We started around 7- there was a crowd but nothing unbearable, and we didn’t hit any storms. My boyfriend and I are both pretty fit, but we still found this hike really challenging! However, the struggle was worth it for the views at the top, and the trail was in good condition. Though it was definitely more than 6 miles, my watch measured ~8. Definitely a good choice for our first 14er, since it was out of our comfort zone but still manageable- we never felt like we weren’t going to make it to the peak.

Great hike. Victory is not just about getting to summit but also getting back down safely. Did this with my wife and 9 yr old daughter. It took us 5 hrs to the top, 30 mins at summit, and 3.5 hrs down. Seen a few flakes of snow on way down with some cold rain and wind. A group of mountain goats crossed our path on the way down which was a highlight. The hike took us longer than we anticipated but we were prepared.

Remember to pack in and pack out! Brother who hiked it same day went to urinate behind the first bunch of trees coming from summit and said it was a mine field of poop and toilet paper, what a shame. Hiking Etiquette - bury it, mark it, pack out the paper.

Left at 7am from Halfmoon trailhead aiming at ascent via SE ridge as described in Roach book. Did not find the side trail at 10,600’ mentioned in other posts but ascent through the sparse pine forest was straightforward. Reached tree line at 11,800’, great views from there, ridge line easy to follow. Did not meet a single hiker until rejoining the main trail below the summit.

SE ridge is an awesome alternative for those who like hiking off the beaten path. The ascent requires more effort due to the lack of trail and some up and down along the ridge (about 1000’ extra vertical in all). There is no water along this route so bring plenty.

This hike certainly lives up to all the reviews I read before taking it on today (8/18/18). Elbert is a beast! I had read about the first false summit and thought I was mentally prepared since it wouldn’t be a surprise for me. Not the case. It is a Soul Crusher which I have officially named it. Our day started early at 3:45 AM. Plenty of parking at that time and you can easily reach the tree line to watch the sunrise. As we approached Soul Crusher the skies above Mt Elbert opened up with snow, hail, sleet and +30 mph winds for at least a couple of hours. Thankfully there was no lightning and my crazy stubborn self marched on. I summited by 9:30 (I am super slow-mo) amidst the blizzard conditions. The view atop the peak was non-existent but nonetheless the beast was conquered! Today would’ve been the perfect day to start ascending around 10:00 AM because the sun came out and the skies cleared as soon as the storm blew through. Who knew? Remember, this is the Colorado Rocky Mountains....be prepared for anything!

I did this hike on August 15 and the climate was absolutely wonderful. The reviews helped me make the decision to go on this hike and I really recommend taking a jacket for the cold and to travel light. It helped me a lot to drink Emergen-C before and after the hike to hydrate my body. I recommend doing that. It was my first 14ner and it was excellent!

on Mount Belford

2 days ago

Challenging hike, but so worth it! Three of us from Kansas City were able to make it to the top- it did, however, take us all day. Beautiful views the whole way. We hiked up the Belford standard route and came down through Elk Head Pass. Added about a mile, but saved our knees from the switchbacks.

Fucking awesome hike; this is just a phenomenal experience. Democrat would be a great beginner 14er. Lincoln was really haunting. It snowed a fair amount (8/16/18), so be prepared with layers, gloves, a buff, etc. poles would’ve been helpful for the descent.

Easily accessible trail. You start above treeline so there isn't a long trek before you start going up. Climb Bross first, there is a lot of loose rock and it is much easier to go up than down. Start early and bring some warmer clothes for up on top.

I started at 6:30 up bross. It was slippery rock going up so I couldnI’ll imagine it going down. I’m pretty happy with going that way. You get a nice “break” going to Lincoln and then Cameron. Then a buttkicker for Democrat. Buttkicker either way ! Amazing views. We even got some snow flurries up there. Finished the rocky trail at 1:30pm

Flew in from Vegas just to complete this Mountian. Me and my fiance have done many high elevation hikes, Boundary Peak (Nevada high point), Mt. Whitney, Charleston Peak, and many many more. I have never got elevation sickness. On Saturday we attempted this summit from black cloud trail and 3 miles in, I was throwing up, light headed, etc. Had to come back down to camp to sleep and hydrate. I was very upset as we had to head back to Vegas the following day. I said: I am not going home without doing Summiting this. The following morning we had woke at 330 am and hit the trail at 425-430 am. We made it to the summit at 7:45 am, took quick picks of the hazy horizon (smoke) and departed after 10 min on the summit (had a flight to catch). We were the second group to the summit that day. We made it back to the trail head at 10:12 am. Ran the last 500 yards to get to the trailhead before 10:15 for a great accomplishment. We brought a bottle of the oxygen that they sell everywhere you go, and it WORKS. You get your breath back immediately. Get an early start, wear warm clothing. The hike is really easy the first 1.5 miles. At the top of the tree line we had an average pack of 2.6 MPH, which slowed down after the tree line. That's when the climbing starts. We had a blast! The hike is a challenge, when you're in a hurry. The 3 false summits suck. Bring trekking poles and start early. When we were heading back down and made it back to the tree line, there was soooooo much traffic. Too many people underestimate this hike and start around 8 am. Get to the trailhead at 4 am and give yourself time. Happytrails.

This was an amazing hike and the view was incredible! It helped to have the weather cooperate for 100 percent of the day.
I was hiking with a group of 12, ages from 14 to 58, and physical fitness levels ranging from sedentary to extremely fit. The fit people didn’t have a problem completing the hike, 2 sedentary people made it past tree level but ended up turning around, and a few people (me included) who hadn’t been very active in the months previous but had some physical fitness before, made it up but it took a long time and it was hard to say the least. It was definitely worth the effort! The elation of everyone at the top was thrilling to be a part of and it maxed out all my happy endorphins.
I was pretty sore for many days after the hike but so glad I was able to complete it.

Wonderful hike! We started in the dark at 5:03am, and summited right at 9 am. We were down and in our car just before noon. So, approximately 7 hrs round trip at a slow and steady pace.

Oh, also...
Those false summits are soul crushing by the second one. I knew going into the hike that there were 3-4. I was still disheartened, but ultimately pushed through that mental barrier.

Completed this hike on Sunday the 12th. It was one of the most strenuous hikes I have done but it paid off at the top. Got to the trail head at about 5:15am and the outer ring of the lot was already full. Found a spot off the "road" and was on the trail around 5:30am. The first 1.5-2 miles is a steady incline which isnt too bad. At the 2-2.5 mile mark, the incline sets in. The worst of all is at about 3.5-4.5 miles in which is the steepest part. About 1k feet per mile in gain. I reached the summit around 8:30am after 3 or 4 false summits(great resting points). Incredible views of Twin Lakes, Mt Massive, and the entire Collegiate Peaks range. There were times it was a bit windy but once the sun came up, the win was very refreshing and welcomed.

Start as early as you are comfortable. The lot will get full quick on the weekends so be mindful of parking. Speaking of, I saw a few cars boxed in that could not leave. Not sure if they were part of a group but I had just enough room to get my vehicle out of the area it was in due to double and triple parking. Please do not do this as the last thing you want to do when youre done with this is wait for someone else to complete it and get back to their car.

Camped for free along the road leading up to the trailhead. Got my car to the parking lot at 5:30am and set off at 6. I wore leggings, a long sleeve, trail runners, and a dollar jacket I got from a goodwill. Took a 2L camelback and that was plenty. There are some parts above the tree line that are steep with lots of loose rocks, I took quite a few short breaks. So worth the effort once at the top!! Made it down by 11:00am. I do wish I would have brought gloves with me. Also, don’t carry a bunch of stuff you don’t need. The hike was easier because I carried light.

hiking
5 days ago

A challenging but truly epic hike & summit. The dirt road up to the trailhead was barely passable at 5-7 mph in a Honda Civic – by comparison, it was much better than the Grays/Torreys road from hell – but you’d be tempting fate in anything less than a high-clearance 4WD. Parking spots were still available at the trailhead (North Cottonwood Creek) at 7 AM on a Monday in August. Only encountered four or five other hikers all day.

This trail has basically four parts: in the forest, in the valley, ascending to the shoulder, and the final ascent to the summit. Each section is shorter but steeper and more challenging than the last; the last two sections have probably 2000-2500 feet of elevation gain across <2 miles. Beware of the two unmarked forks along this trail – at the first, it’s left to Harvard and right to Columbia, and at the second, keep right for the Harvard trail and go left for Bear Lake. Lots of marmots and pikas towards the end, and we saw some mountain goats from the summit. Goats aside, the summit views were absolutely spectacular – with minimal wind and clear skies, we spent 40 minutes up there.

Bottom line: definitely harder than some other 14ers but, with proper planning and expectations, totally worth it.

it was an amazing hike. lots of people are suggesting to srart going up from bross. I personnally wouldnot reccomend. I am beginner hiker and this was my 5th fourtener. Starting from bross you will loose all the energy you got an you may not be able to do all 4. Yes going down on bross is tough due to steep slope and loose rocks all the way down.

I loved this hike! Started with Democrat around 6:45am, then went to Cameron, Lincoln, and finished with Bross, back to the car about 6 hours later. My dad and I were worried after reading reviews about the descent down Bross, and made a game time decision to go ahead and go for it. In my opinion, it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people describe- definitely lots of loose rocks and prepare to slide a lot- but it wasn’t dangerous or life-threatening in terms of sending you off the mountain. I had my heart set on bagging all 4 peaks so for me doing Bross was worth the tough descent. My dad thinks maybe he would have just skipped Bross altogether. The rest of it we absolutely loved. Definitely the toughest hike up Democrat so I’m glad we got that out of the way first. My favorite view was on top of Lincoln.

Amazing and rewarding hike completed 08/12 with the wife. Steep most of the way especially after treeline, about 3 false summits but easy stretch to summit. Great weather.

My tenth 14er and goes down as my favorite because the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little deceiving because you’re surrounded by a forest and creek for about half the climb and you can’t see the exposed tree line area at all, but it’s nice this trail spoils you a little bit before the hard work starts. The trail was nice until the very top of the summit where there were big boulders. We had a Boston Terrier who struggled on this part a bit, definitely more class 3 terrain at the top. We only saw 4 other people and had the summit to ourselves, a first for me! The descent was nice and easy since it’s not too steep and you also end in a beautiful forest to reward yourself from the tough climb! Highly recommend.

hiking
6 days ago

Absolutely AMAZING time hiking up Quandary on Sunday. After camping near Blue Lake just down the road, my girlfriend and I got started up the trail at about 6:20am. The trail had lots of friendly folks on it, but i never felt that it was overcrowded. I can honestly say, this wasn't easy. However we didn't feel it was extremely hard either. It was the perfect balance. Total roundtrip was just about 6 hours from the lower lot and that was with spending about 20-30 minutes at the summit. The Summit experience was very rewarding! So many people up top smiling, taking photos, and sharing stories. The hike down was extremely hard on my knees, but trekking poles made it a bit better.

As a side note, I believe I accidentally left my light blue Camelback backpack in the lower lot so if anyone happened to find it, please contact me at jasondlyman@gmail.com.

hiking
6 days ago

I tackled Quandary for the second time on Saturday. I’m a moderately active 38-year-old from Kansas City. We arrived in Summit County on Thursday, hiked Shrine Pass in Vail on Friday to warm up our legs and lungs, and then hit Quandary trailhead on Saturday morning at 5:45 am. Had no trouble parking in the lower lot, but cars were arriving regularly. It was a perfectly clear day - my husband and I reached the summit in about 4 hours. Last year it took me nearly 6 as I had no idea what I was getting into and almost quit several times. This year I prepared mentally and trained starting with using the stairclimber at least once a week since April, weightlifting once or twice a week, hill sprints, hiking mild hills with a weighted pack, lunges and box step-ups, and pushing and pulling a weighted sled. Additionally I used trekking poles this year which I did not have last year, and we brought a little can of oxygen we found at the grocery store. It was a much more positive experience for this flatlander and though it was still very difficult, I couldn’t stop smiling! The trail is intense and nearly straight up from the beginning with only a couple short flats. I think the ascent from 12k-13k ft (as well as the descent of this part) is mentally the worst as it takes a lot longer than you think this part will. But getting up to that 13k ft ridge provides amazing views and a nice rest before hitting the final steep ascent. We also got to see a mountain goat here, both on the way up and when we were headed back down, which was a highlight for me. The trail was very busy, as I expected from last year, but it was fun meeting people along the way as everyone was friendly and supportive. The last ascent to the summit is grueling and steep, rocks on rocks on rocks, and it’s difficult to see the summit most of the way so it feels like you are going nowhere for a long time. But reaching the summit was so exhilarating, especially after shaving a couple hours off my time from last year! Attitude is everything but proper training helps too, especially if you aren’t conditioned to the mountains! Even with trekking poles, I do think the descent was more difficult this year and took longer, but last year we got caught in a snow squall until we reached the tree line so that may have sped us up a bit! Also, both years I did this, my iPhone clocked over 10 miles, as opposed to the 6 on the description.

Awesome hike today. I am kind of a rookie in hiking 14er (my 4th). My friend and I started 7:00 and we had a parking spot in the parking area. Hiking through the tree line was fairly moderate. Took a 20 mins at tree line. From tree line to nearly 14000 ft is steep and gravelly. There are couple false summits, however the summit stretch is very easy and rewarding. We summited a little before 11:00am. Enjoyed our top view for 45min. Going down was not easy, but took us shy 2 hour to get back to the trailhead (back in the car a little before 2:00 pm). Total hike 6 hours.
My recommendation:
1. One step at time (from a rookie prospective) and avoid sitting down, but try to slow pace yourself.
2. I recommend ibuprofen before/during hike. I am NOT a doctor nor a nurse but it helps me with altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor.
3. Good hiking shoes will be beneficial going down. It can get windy, so a windbreaker jacket will be great to carry.

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