Summit of Quandary
The sky was the bluest blue and the brightness of the snow was blinding. In every direction there were more stunning Rocky Mountain peaks than I could possibly identify. But it wasn't a view I could sit down and enjoy. Quandary Peak is a 14,265' mountain just south of Breckenridge, Colorado. Climbing it was one of the most challenging hikes I've ever done. The entire climb was straight on into the wind. On the summit I measured gusts of 60 mph with a wind chill of -25°F, but it was likely worse at times. Covering every inch of skin was the only way to avoid frostbite. It was all I could do just to remain upright and not have any of my gear blow away. Changing lenses or using a tripod was not an option. Quandary Peak is considered one of Colorado's easier 14'ers and the safest in the winter since the route avoids avalanche terrain. But on days like this, it should not be underestimated.