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16 days ago

Today, 4/08/18, I needed something to do. After doing some homework. Bierstadt it was. Being from Minnesota, hiking ...lets just say the mountains are a different beast. After reading numerous reviews here: my 4 year old had his first summit to the dogs and 100's...and 100's of people to contend with..well, didnt sound too challenging. But, I did read a few well written reviews to go prepared.
Not nearly for what I was about to face.
left late...really late from F.Collins (2:30pm) arrived at what was apparently the Silver Dollar parking lot as the road to the Guanella pass summit was still closed for the season...my homework skills need honing. talked to a guy there that was going to do some skiing and he thought the trailhead to Bierstadt would be a couple of miles. lucky I brought my winter gear including Sorrels, ski mask and micro spikes. headed up the hill at about 4pm. didnt need the spikes but postholed more than a few times but not bad. An hour later I was at the trailhead. Id say the wind was 40+ and the temp around 0. I knew a front was coming in but looking off to the west it seemed to be coming a good couple of hours early. I was alone and the only soul I had seen was a couple skiing down right as I set off...I really wished I had that idea..I need to think this over, if only I could get in the outhouse - frozen halfway shut and buried in snow. I get it open and have a seat. I decide to at least go a bit before turning back. I see what appears to be the start of the trail by the marker and another marker some 30 yards out. Off I go...postholing it every step. Wow..where are the snowshoes... (even those didnt seem to help one reviewer and his friends) Anyways, I realize Im out of my league here and want to see another day so after 20 or so yards of this I turn back down the mountain thinking of those skiers. Once back to my car the Blizzard hits with full force and Im out of there. I have to say..the whole experience - including the solitude and the views walking back down were soooo worth it!!!

hiking
17 days ago

I'm a novice, so this is for those of you who are planning on trying Quandary because it's considered easy: This hike is still a grind, particularly in the snow.

We ascended on April 1, beginning a little late (around 8:30 am). The trail was mostly packed and easy to follow, particularly below the tree line. It was close to 50 degrees at the trailhead but dropped to around 14 degrees at the summit (not accounting for 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts).

Between 13,000 and 14,000 feet, as someone with very little high-altitude experience, there were times where it felt like I needed to stop and catch my breath every minute. Those already acclimated to high altitudes will have an easier go but if you're a first timer, prepare for the fatigue (and don't be afraid to turn around if you begin to feel strong symptoms of altitude sickness). Also, prepare for the wind gusts. There were times where I had to plant my feet and just withstand the weather for a moment until it passed.

If hiking in the snow, I'd recommend the use of spikes, poles, and snow shoes. On our way back down, back within the treeline, we spied what appeared to be a well-traveled cut-across leading downward. This was a mistake on our part, as it led to 20-30 minutes of postholing up to our waists when our bodies were already weak and exhausted. So... stay on the trail.

If you're an advanced and/or experienced hiker at altitude, I'm relatively certain you'll knock this one out of the park. I was passed by numerous skiers who were skinning up Quandary and skiing down (I was quite envious of their speedy descent).

It took me over six hours to complete this hike. As a small addendum, make sure your slather any exposed skin in sunscreen, even your lips. With the snow's reflection, the sun is not going to be kind to your face up there.

I've done these peaks numerous times over the last 45 yrs. I've taken a number of beginners. They are possibly the easiest 14ers, but they have beautiful views. I've read that some consider the southwest descent off Bross to be one of the most difficult descents off any 14er. As others have recommended, stay off the summit of Bross but you can get close enough to legitimately tick it off the list. Great way to get 4 in one day. An 8 am start is late.

Beautiful hike this past weekend! Incredibly snowy, a few feet on and right next to the trail. Everyone else was skiing so I stayed in their ski tracks on the way up. Trail was packed due to the early time of day (and ski tracks), but as I got higher and the sun got more intense I started postholing a lot. I made it above treeline with only spikes. I would say trekking poles and snow shoes are a must. Wish I had made it to the summit but I'll be back to bag it this summer! This is definitely very strenuous so be ready to work up a sweat.

Happy hiking!

Lot of snow. Had to hike in from County Hwy 8 about 2 miles due to snow on the road/ someone getting their Tahoe stuck right in the middle of the road. From Kite Lake there was between 6 inches and 3 feet of snow to walk through to get up Democrat. Was a challenging hike with the snow but the views and the weather was great.

hiking
1 month ago

Went last Saturday. The weather was perfect! No wind at the summit. Many other people were on the trail that day so by mid afternoon, a lot of the snow was sloshy. It was breath taking seeing the 360 view of snowy mountains

hiking
1 month ago

Really scenic trail. I didn’t use spikes or snowshoes though spikes would have been helpful. The trail is pretty packed down and easy to follow, but if you get off the trail you’ll know right away when you end up in waist deep snow.

hiking
1 month ago

Summited on 3-9 and the trail was good with micro spikes. There was an area at the timberline where people go off trail and post hole up. If they just kept going straight instead of turning up hill, the trail continues packed

on Ute Pass Trail

hiking
1 month ago

There are two potential Ute pass trails. The trailhead at the top is clearly marked with parking at the top of Ute Pass, about 5 miles up from hwy 9. That is the trail I took with stunning views of Gore range. Just used yak tracks and poles. Up, up, up for the first part. Windy at view point.
The directions for the other trail does have parking and a cattle guard a little lower than this one but we missed that part. Next time!

First 14er. The gain in elevation was harder than expected for my friend and I, which meant the hike took longer than we had planned. Best views I've ever had and the experience was exhilarating! Make sure you have plenty of water, protein and healthy fats snacks(nuts, bars, etc.). Went in October 2016, temp went back and forth between just a hoodie and needing a wind resistant, thermal coat.

hiking
2 months ago

Summited on 1/24/2018.
Could have used snow shoes at the base, but I was able to push through with just Microspikes. I only saw two other people and was the only one at the top when I summited. Awesome views and defiantly worth the effort.

hiking
2 months ago

Feb 19 2018 hike. Started at 4am. Super windy. Had a ton of struggles with the crampons that I was using. Saw a Snow White ptarmigan! It was awesome!

Made it to false summit around 7am. Was freezing cold and getting blown down. The wind was fierce. Decided to head back. Made it back around 8:45am.

The snow was pretty crunchy.

2 months ago

Great hike. Very steep but well worth it.

Can you backpack on this trail?

Hiked 9/21/17.

Definitely doable in a day, but I skipped Bross. It is on private property and they patrol it pretty frequently. I didn't feel like I missed out in any way by not doing it, though. Went up to Democrat, then to Cameron and Lincoln. The summit of Lincoln was my favorite - beautiful 360 degree view. Most of the trail isn't very exposed, but that meant we were caught a little off-guard when the winds got strong up high. Get an early start, 8:00am at the latest. We started late and were rushing to get down before nightfall. This wasn't too difficult of a hike for my first 14ers, just expect it to take awhile. And be sure to acclimate to the altitude as much as possible in advance, and it will go much more smoothly! :)

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views and feeling. We made the summit by 2:05pm 01-09-18 (start time 8:53am). Lucked out with beautiful blue skies. The terrifying brownish grey clouds scattered away as we ascended out of the willow area. I'm not the fastest so took about 9 hours total. Winter trek is 11+ miles (my GPS said 12) due to having to park at Silver Dollar Lake TH as Guenella Pass is closed from there. Walked down Guenella Pass in the dark on the way back to the car, but as long as I was of the actual trail before dark I was felling comfortable and our eyes adjusted to the dark. Micro-spikes were perfect, there was no need for snowshoes. I agree with the review before me do not look over that snow bank down to frozen lake too much as its sketchy and snow is slightly deep there.

hiking
3 months ago

I hike this 14er a lot because it is accessible year round to a 2WD vehicle, with the trailhead just off the road from Hoosier Pass. As others say, it gets very busy in the summer and fall.

I hiked up yesterday morning (Jan. 9) and was amazed by the lack of snow. But the trail, which follows the ridge, was almost 95 percent in snow, so I definitely recommend microspikes. A few areas of deep drifts where I was post-holing.

Great climb for the middle of winter. Just wish there was more snow.

Just heard that it is snowing in nearby Breckenridge! Fingers crossed!

Started from the winter parking lot ~2 miles below the actual trail head (roads well plowed to this point). Round trip is about 11 miles over a mixture of packed snow, gravel, and patchy ice. Leave your snow shoes and crampons in the car, microspikes are more than sufficient. I hike pretty quickly and it took me ~7 hours (4 up, 3 down). No ave danger except at the final quarter mile up the ridge to the summit; there’s a sketch snow bank overhanging the eastern slope. Don’t get curious to peak over the edge and this is easily avoidable.

Hiked this two days ago and managed to get about 300 feet away from the summit. The snow was very deep and after a point it became hard to see the trail and even with snow shoes i was going about 2 1/2 feet down into the snow. Still if you keep going it’s very worth the views at the top. Only thing that kept me from reaching the top was the extremely high winds.

easy too many tourists better to do kelso ridge. even an easy winter way up to bag a super awesome couloir

super easy made it up and down in a few hours. too many tourists.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked yesterday. Snow pack made it pretty easy to hike in regular winter boots most of the way to the top. After the Mill, there were some spots to my ankles. A few post holes but pretty nice condition. Some cross country skiers were out, plenty of coverage for them on the lower part, still some twigs and stumps further up towards tree line, but some skiers braved the hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Difficult to hike in the snow. Very steep the higher up you go and twisty. The views were beautiful but we were also told there was a cabin at the peak...yea, we couldn’t make it to the peak bc of how steep it was and there was no sight of any cabin anywhere. There were 2 other people that had snow shoes and got up a bit higher than we did and they found no cabin either.

Beautiful views!

snowshoeing
3 months ago

12/28/17. Steep but short trail, snow was packed in some spots but snowshoes helped a ton. Amazing views!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing trail with excellent views 100% of the time.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful hike. A huge snowpack on the upper ridge when hiking it in June made it difficult.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike on 12/11 and it was beautiful! We saw Rocky Mountain goats, pikas and marmots which was exciting! We were unfortunately unable to summit because we lost a shoe clamp without either snow shoes or clamps this hike is impossible. A little more difficult than I had expected but easy in 14er standards and really gorgeous. Can't wait to try this hike again!

Summited 12/19. Snow was patchy throughout, very hard packed. No need for snowshoes, but microspikes and poles were a must. Otherwise perfect early winter conditions!

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