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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
33 minutes 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.

hiking
5 hours ago

As with many others, this was my first "fourteener" and it was a blast. Couldn't of asked for better weather. Stayed in Georgetown, and got to the Guanella pass parking lot at approximately 0600. Yes, it was already full, however the summit overlook parking lot still had spaces left.I'm a flatlander from northeast Ks. but went prepared. Took my time, with frequent breaks, especially the higher I got. The scramble to the top was probably the toughest part, but by that point you've gone to far to not do it. While many folks, myself included, do Mount Bierstadt because their research reports it as being the easiest fourteener. Be forewarned - if you are a flatlander, even one who is in decent shape, there is nothing easy about trying to breathe at altitude.However do not let that dissuade you from doing this hike, as I can assure you that you will not be alone. Start to finish approximately 6 hours, half hour to 45 minutes on the summit.

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.

My dad and I set out for an ‘easier 14er.’ Headed out around 6:45am and got back to the car around 12:45. We started at Summit Lake and did Spalding to Evans, and then back down Evans and Spalding again (so basically out and back). The hardest part we thought was the return over Spalding after already having climbed across some tricky rocky scrambling to Evans. Did see goats which was the highlight for me, and the view on top of Evans was really beautiful. Would recommend maybe going down the road after summitting Evans to make the trip a little more pleasant.

Gorgeous views and well maintained trail. Super popular too and pretty easy for a fourteener. You need a high clearance 4wd vehicle to get to the trailhead unless you want to add about 6 miles to the hike.

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
23 hours 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
1 day 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.

Great 14er for first timers and out of staters.

Beautiful views the whole way up. There’s some scrambling near the summit. We saw lots of mountain goats and big-horned sheep.

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.

Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf getting eaten?
Don't try to take your 2wd low clearance rental car up this one, you may have to back up 50ft straight.
Class 3 scrambling? It actually exists and you can learn what it is on this trail. Some very exposed maneuvers, try to stay on the shale going up and don't trust any rock regardless of size.
Remember the dirt roads you took up to the actual trailhead sign, you'll see many options going downward.

As for my hike, it took me 3.5 hours to summit from where I parked, 6 miles down. Coming down was a lot faster, but I spent a lot of time enjoying the area so no accurate time. Somehow the waterfalls were ignored by everyone but me. They made the area way more than just a crowded 14er for me.
It was an unending stairclimber until it became a climb instead of a hike.
Start early to avoid the crowds renting Jeeps. 8:30am summit, a few other people. 9am, a dozen with more on their way up.

Side rant: A jerk on a dirtbike thought he had the right of way going up on my side of the road because his side had jagged rocks. He saw me from plenty far enough away to stop, instead he sped up and yelled "get out of the way." If only I had a rock to fill that small piece of road... Keep in mind, I was getting off to the side of the road for Jeeps going down.
Don't be a duche, vehicles and exhausted hikers going down have the right of way, especially on their side of the road!

Awesome! Incredible views. We camped in the Boulder fields. We booked months in advance, heads up! Morning hikers will wake you (we had some bozos playing music at 4AM hiking through camp, LNT is more than picking up garbage). Watch out for slick rocks if it rains. There were multiple water sources available. It is a popular trail. Be careful and follow the trail markers.

Rocked out this hike yesterday 8/11. Awesome hike! Highly recommend camping at trailhead the night before. Actual parking lot was already full by 10pm! If you dont camp you still will want to get there as early as possible, Getting stuck parking down the road will just add miles to your already tough hike! Took our jetta almost all the way to the trailhead but theres one large bump that our car could not clear so we stopped and camped there. only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot. Hit the trail at 445am done at 1215p with breaks and summit stops. I believe doing Democrat first is by far the way to go. Not only do I think going up bross in the dark would be terrible. Having to go up Democrat last would be a tough climb after bagging the other 3. Also another reason would be that by the time u would get to the democrat climb it will be packed. By 10am there looked like there was a line all the way up democrat. Going down bross was def tough and took a lot of concentration watching where you step and keeping balance. Poles for sure a must. Not sure what my fav was. Being almost to the top of democrat for sunrise was amazing, but being atop bross and being able to see all of what you just did was awesome too! Bross' summit is huge but lincoln and democrat's a lot smaller. Took our dog whose used to hiking and is a larger dog. She was very tired at the end and I got a little worried about her paws coming down bross as it is very lose rock but she made it down without any cuts and passed out the whole way home.
Overall amazing hike. Very fulfilling finishing all 4.

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful hike!! A lot of the negative comments below can be overcome by good alpine practices. The peak is very obviously exposed, you can see this easily from 285. An early alpine start helps with sun too. We started at 5:30 and summited 2.5 hours later. The trail is wonderfully marked, just look for the next 2-3 cairns, not only the one ahead. The trail moves through a scree field, not sure what the references to “huge boulders” are. There are some but it is more scree than scramble. All in all, be ready for a beautiful and engaging hike. Definitely worth driving the Jeep road if you have the car.

- Did these four yesterday. great hike with amazing views from each summit. There is a lot of small rocks and loose slag, especially on Bross and Democrat. Like other climbers i would highly recommend starting with Bross. It is a pretty good climb up and around to the summit but it's a good warm-up for the other three and the descent of Bross is much harder on the knees of you do it last. Mt. Democrat is probably the steepest climb but its worth it when you get to the top. Do yourself and your knees a favor and please invest in poles. You won't regret it, especially the descent of Democrat.

First 14ner . What an awesome experience. I trained for six months, with cardio. Swim spin and cycling. The reality being from Ohio is there is no way to prepare for the altitude. Everyone is going to be affected differently. I would say having enough water can’t be understated. I consumed 3 liters and wished I had more. The key is the summit is taking your time. As previously stated very loose rock at the top. The reward is at the summit. Enjoy it! The trip down is / equally challenging. Poles are a plus for stability. Your knees will thank you. I hiked this on 7/20, with an awesome weather day. Hazy in the morning, but cleared on the way down and it got warm. A week later they experience snow and hail. Always be prepared for changing weather regardless of the forecast.
I did have full cell service at the summit. None at the trail head.

This was my husband and my first 14er. Granted we have nothing to compare it to and the views were awesome at the top, but I don’t think we will ever do this one again. It is 95% straight rock scramble with a very poorly marked trail. It took us 9 hours to do 7 miles, and we are not slow hikers. It just takes that much concentration that by the end you are not only physically exhausted, but mentally exhausted. Good time, but beware it’s all rocks.

Great hike yesterday. 4AM start. Two goats at the top. No clouds or wind. I think they should resurrect that pile of rocks on the top to make it higher than Elbert again!

1. This is longer than 8.3. More like 9.5. Consider that for time. We started at 5.20 am and we were in the car at 1pm. We hike a pretty average pace, but most people we going significantly slower.

2. DON'T MISS THE TRAIL TURNOFF! If you're walking in the dirt road for more than 10 minutes, you may have missed it. It's easy to do in the dark, even with headlamps, and one guy we met missed it by 40 mins. It's about 5 mins down the trail on the left.

My entire body feels like I got hit by a truck. Type 3 fun for sure. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before beginning your trek, though it’s really not as sketchy as others say it is, just be aware.

Maybe my new favorite 14er. Really gorgeous, especially for a 14er. Not as much traffic as a lot of popular peaks either. Highly recommend early start, if for no other reason so you can see the sun rise above the Mosquito Range to the East. Also recommend a camp at Elbert Creek Campground the night before. Top notch campsites and just around the corner. And folks, please: STOP starting 14er climbs too late in the morning. Lightning is a real threat with late starts so get on the trail early.

hiking
2 days ago

Great trail!

Went on a Saturday morning, arrived at 615 at trailhead and couldn't believe all the people there. But at least it was good company on the trail.

My wife and I made it up to 13,500 with a 2 and 5 year old. 2 yr old we had to carry the whole way, 5 yr old was able to do some hiking but we still had to carry a decent amount (she did great on the way down). This was very tough with the kids, I pride myself in my abilities to do bigger hikes with the kids. The kids had enough at this point, we stopped my wife and kids ate while I pushed as hard as possible up to the top.

At times on way up, it felt like torture carrying the kids but the views were amazing. Last section solo, pushing very hard and was getting headaches.

Views on top great. My first 14er.

Three stars for being a 14er and the boulder scramble to the summit which was a blast. Overall more of a moderate hike than hard... Lost two stars for the crowds (which are huge), exposure start to finish (no relief of making it to treeline and shade on the descent for this one), and the view (not fantastic-there are other 14ers and 13ers with better views). Do it to bag a 14er, but not really any other reason to go.

Excellent "first fourteener" hike. Trail is well-maintained and clear until the rocks; follow cairns to reach the top. parkling lot was nearly full by 4am, even on a day with forecasted storms. Really great trail with great views, very cool to see where you're going and then where you came from. Always keep an eye on the sky!

Nice work out with obviously great views from the top. Very popular trail, even on weekdays. Tons of great dispersed camping options on the way to the trailhead!

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