DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3320 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

cross country skiing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

snow

hiking
16 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.