Did a quick training hike on 14,265′ Quandary outside Breckenridge Colorado on Monday March 26 2012. Started about 7:30 and took approximately 2:08 (two hours eight minutes) to hit the summit in spite of wind gusts between 30 and 60 mph on the ridgeline. Made for really tough going. It was pretty warm at about 25 degrees (F) so I was dressed in Golite baggy tights (is that an oxymoron?), a Nike baselayer, Mountain Hardwear Super Hero hoodie, a Melenzana thin fleece hoodie, and my The North Face Better Than Naked windshirt.
I was testing my Salomon Men’s Spikecross 3 CS Trail Running Shoe, and they worked out pretty good overall, the spikes providing excellent traction on the way up, and mildly less on the way down. I wore Montbell softshell gaitors to keep the snow/slush out.
I was also experimenting with Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles (Pair) and golly, were they great. They were very light and totally blew around like sails in the heavy winds. Pretty funny, actually. Loved them a lot. I had to use them carefully in the softer/deeper snow, since they have very small baskets.
There was fairly deep but mostly firm snow from about 11,400′ to 12,400′ and a lot of postholing. If I walked carefully in pre-packed footsteps I didn’t punch through, so it wasn’t too bad going. Above that there was very little snow at all. On the way down I managed to get lost and wandered too close behind the houses on the road to the South, but ran into a nice local walking his dog who directed me to a shortcut back to the trail. It was quite well trod btw so apparently I’m not the only one doing this.
Here’s my Garmin Track from this hike so you can see the map and stats.
Took me about 2:48 to return to the car, parked at the plowed pulloff. Last time I was here you could get all the way to the trailhead marker, so that string of storms a month ago added up to no plowing anyway. From the parking area Cristo Couloir looked totally doable, and the snow was pretty good early and high, so I figured it would be something fun to try in a couple days.