This past weekend was cold and grey down here in Colorado Springs, but ten intrepid Colorado College hikers found a haven from the storm atop Quandary Peak.
Mt. Quandary is a gently sloping 14er with a summit elevation of 14,348 feet. It lies just south of Breckenridge and is the highest peak in the Tenmile Range. In other words, as the trip is described on the sign-up page, “What comes after thirteen and before fifteen? The number of thousands of feet high Quandry Peak is!”
The Outdoor Recreation Club trip arrived at the trailhead around 8 p.m. to camp for the night.
Erica Jamieson, first-year, got stuck with the one broken tent during the only rain of the trip, “so while everyone else was toasty and happy through the night [my tent mates and I] got rained on profusely. I woke up with my hoodie and tracksuit bottoms soaked through two sleeping bags. Not fun.”
But as Madeline Travis, also a first-year, said, “We woke up cold and wet, but then there was even more motivation to start hiking at 6 a.m.!”
The trail was 3.5 miles each way and gained about 3,500 feet in elevation. Round trip, it took the group eight hours.
“Overall the hike was not that difficult. It started with a steep section bellow the tree line, but once we where above the tree line and on top of the first false summit it was a straight shot along the saddle to the summit,” Gabe Rodriguez, first-year, said.
The group found a multitude of quirky and interesting sights during the hike, from wildlife sightings to running into a CC graduate from the class of ‘89.
“Two guys were booking it up the mountain, and it turned out this was the first of four fourteeners they were doing that day,” said senior trip leader Colter Fatt. He continues, “The coolest thing that I saw on the trip was a weasel running around the rocks with a dead pika in its mouth.”
Patricia Williamson, first-year, got to meet “a four-year-old Chihuahua who was summiting his 10th 14er!”
The summit was a highlight for all members of the adventure.
“There was a lot of weather moving in, and we ended up getting hailed on, but it was incredible to be standing at 13,000 above the clouds and weather looking down into a rainstorm,“ Rodriguez said.
Above all, the trip participants all felt an appreciation for the land around them.
“There was a really cool moment when we were identifying all of the [surrounding] peaks,” said first-year Madelene Travis. “It really makes you feel connected to the Earth to make that tangible connection to the things you see on a map, and [to see] the majesty of those labels come to life.”
“Overall, it was the perfect one-night-off-campus get away to help us all recharge and hike one of Colorado’s beautiful 14er!” said Erika Versalovic, a trip leader and a junior.