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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.

Gorgeous views of the San Juans! You can see Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre from both summits. Traverse from Redcloud to Sunshine was relatively easy with a well defined trail. Had to summit Redcloud again to return and there were a few false summits on the way back but the traverse was one of the easier ones I’ve done. Only took about half an hour each way to traverse. The entire trail was pretty gradual which made it one of the easier fourteeners I’ve done. Nice thing about this one is you can get two done in a day easily. Tracker logged 11.5 miles with both peaks.

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
2 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
2 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.

off road driving
3 days ago

We hiked both Castle and Conundrum on Saturday, August 11th and the conditions were perfect! I noted in the activity “off road driving” , because my review is trying to give what I think is a more accurate description of the road up to Montezuma Basin.

We rented a stock (bare-bones) Jeep Wrangler with street tires on it and drove all the way to the top of Montezuma Basin (around 12,800 ft). Many of the reviews we read stated the road was too difficult to drive. Our plan was to drive as far as we could and then park. I would agree four wheel drive is a must, but with careful wheel placement/driving it is actually not that difficult. My husband is an experienced 4x4 trail driver, so if that describes you, I would recommend driving up as far as you can go.

My only complaint of the trail is hiking on an old road is lame, so it was fun to drive up as far as we could. Doing this also cut out about 10 miles round trip, which on this particular trail was welcomed. Not the prettiest scenery along the trail we’ve seen, although the views from the summit are spectacular.

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.

Walked this on the way down from the Incline. A bit steep in spots with beautiful scenery.

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
3 days 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!

Be prepared to make three summits on this trip- shavanno, tabagueche, and then shag again. Bring plenty of snacks and water. No real good trail to the summit for Tab, but it’s easiest to just boulder straight up! My Apple Watch tracked this entire route at 14 miles from the parking lot.

Checked this one off 8/11/18. We left the trailhead at 5:20 and hit the summit at 9:20. The bike race up the Peak was today. I don’t know if they delayed opening the road to vehicle traffic because of that, but when we hit the top, the only folks there were the cyclists (including two unicyclists, you maniacs), and a couple other hikers who got there before us. But the tour busses started showing up while we were milling about the summit house (note: I ate a donut because I think you have to the first time, but it’s kind of a garbage donut). As others have said, you have to understand there are going to be a lot of people in the summit, but it was certainly a lot more pleasant before the Devil’s Playground parking lot filled up. So, I guess I’m saying that if you take off early enough, and move at a decent pace, you can avoid most or all of the crowds. The downshot there is you’ll be waking through a gorgeous pine forest in the dark when you first set out. But you’ll see it on the way back.

I made a mistake regarding the weather. I expected temps to stay steady in the mid-40s all the way up, which is what I dressed for (shorts and a pullover). I would have been fine, except I didn’t account for how long it would take the sun to get over the top of the mountain. We were well above tree line before the sun finally appeared, and I was freezing my ass off. But, I’m a pretty cool moment, the sun topped the mountain, the trail leveled out a little, and the summit came into view, all within seconds of each other. I should note, I had more layers in my bag, but I was being stubborn and didn’t want everyone to stop so I could put some pants on.

It’s an easy route to follow. We had (almost) no trouble with wayfinding. Right before treeline, we somehow started following a social path that switchbacked through some gravelly scree, but it led us right back to the main trail. Probably no more than 3 minutes off trail. We had no trouble with route finding coming down. The steepest sections below Devil’s Playground and above tree line was a bit loose in spots. Trekking poles would have probably come in handy, but it was fine.

All in all, a good hike. Good physical challenge, great views looking west, with the Sawatch at the far end of the horizon.

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.

Saturday Aug 4th. Great trail. Started at 4:30 am. Heard a mountain lion scream around 5 am...super scary but we pressed on. Made it to the summit at 10:30 am...the last section with scrambling was difficult but fun. enjoyed a donut at the top. We took the free shuttle to devils playground and then hiked the rest of the way down. Glad we took the shuttle because we got to the car just in time before it started storming! My tip for others is start early, bring headlamps, proper gear, cash for tips if you take the shuttle down and watch the skys.

I like to do the Peak at least once a year. It’s a nice challenge and worth it. The ascent took me 6 hours but I have done it in 4 1/2. Not my best time, obviously. I believe the average time for ascent is 8 hours. I did the ascent and descent for a total time of 11 hours. The last couple of miles are the hardest and my brain always says, “why am I doing this”! But, you just push through it and are happy to get to the top.

Make sure to dress in layers. The weather can change quickly. I like to take a camelback and I don’t bring much food. I’m just not real hungry.

The change in the terrain is always interesting It’s beautiful country. Thankful to have it as my backyard.

Total miles my app recorded was 23.85 miles.

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.

Great hike! The middle third of this hike is really easy meadow walking which allows your legs time to recharge while you enjoy the basin views. The last 1/2 mile or so is all ridge line with a moderate amount of exposure and scrambling in some parts, which is really fun! Seemingly not as popular as Belford/oxford, so I had the summit to myself for a while on a Tuesday morning. Fair amount of dispersed camping possibilities in the area- plenty on the road to the trailhead, and some in the basin/gulch area near the stream!

We hiked this se trail on our descent after hiking up the steeper sw trail.
This trail was a dream.

hiking
4 days ago

Awesome first 14er. Wife and I made it up with relative ease. Summit views of the adjacent peaks are gorgeous!

Did this 14er today. It was my first 14er alone so I wanted a heavy trafficked trail. I am an in shape 27 year old and well acclimated to 14ers and altitude and it took me 5 hours start to finish. I would say this is a moderately hard 14er. If you are in shape and used to altitude you will not have any problems. :) It hailed on and off pretty much my whole decent even though the weather forecast did not say that was coming. I ended up running down hill almost a mile in the storm to make it to my car before it really downpoured. As with all 14ers its a good idea to bring a rain jacket of sorts so your not soaked while hiking if a storm does come your way. If you are hiking alone and nervous this is a great trail as you are constantly surrounded by people. If you want solitude I would not recommend this trail. There was barely even room to sit at the peak!

hiking
5 days ago

We did it! By we, I mean two 48 yr olds and 3 teenagers: Nina, Casey and Reagan. We've been here for 6 days & have done a few hikes already. Hit the trail at 9:30 on a Friday. Parking was easy as the early hikers were coming off. Prior to the hike read all these reviews and then some. Definitely helped to prepare. First time doing a 14er and so glad we did it! We are not seasoned hikers and found this challenging especially walking on all the loose rocks. Steep incline most of the entire hike so was dreading the hike down. Hit the summit in 3 hours. Then the storm rolled in. Hail in August! Snow on neighboring mountains. The forecast was for a clear day...got to love Colorado! Then the thunder...thankfully the rain held off for awhile. We made it down in only 1 hr 15 mins! Views were amazing! Overall a tough hike but take your time and enjoy the views!

This trail was amazing. I went two nights 8/6-7. I suggest going two nights. Spending a whole day just relaxing is worth it.

I went up solo. It took Me quite a while to make it up. Start early and take breaks as needed. It’s not a race. The altitude was pretty rough for me. The trail is pretty rocky so bring solid foot wear. Also many parts of the trail are through thick brush. Long sleeves will save some scratches. On the way back down by the ponds past the creek ford I encountered moose. But I came up on the with no coverage or protection. The bull was chill enough that I could back off slowly and not spook it, but easily could have been bad. Be mindful out there.

The people up there were all great. Just a group of strangers all there to relax and enjoy the hot springs. Everyone was there for a great time. Don’t be uptight cause there will be drinking, probably nudity and a few were smoking pot.

I would suggest bringing foot wear you can wear in the spring. It’s great but the bottom and edges are super rocky. It’s very painful getting in and out. Sunscreen and bug spray cause flys and mosquitoes were all over me. Also don’t skimp on cold weather stuff. The days were very nice, but even early August as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains it got VERY cold.

This was definitely a tough hike! If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle be prepared to hike about 7-8 miles in & out. Once you finally get to the actual trail, there’s a deceiving sign that says 1.2 miles to the summit—it’s pretty much a straight incline up the full 1.2 miles and there are rocks/boulders that fall while you’re hiking up. Since the hike is so steep, the rocks slip constantly so we recommend a helmet, like some people had, and possibly hiking poles for the trip back down. Heading back down was honestly the hardest part because it puts a lot of stress on your knees. There are several false summits so be prepared! When you finally reach the top & are close to the summit, you’ll have to scramble through a tight notch to reach the actual summit. Get someone to help you because that part can be tricky—especially if you’re hiking alone. All in all, it’s a beautiful mountain & I promise you’ll remember the hike forever.

Loved it. First fourteener and I liked the long approach, seemed a steady incline. With beautiful alpine meadow views. Brought the dogs and they did great, water on the ct section. Only at the scramble portion at the very top did I feel the need to keep them out of people’s way for safety.

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