Quandary Peak Rock Climb (Inwood Arete), Colorado 14er
Author: Mike Sullivan
Participants: Mike Sullivan, Laurie Toeppen
This fun climb is described in Roach's 14ers book. It is an arete that
runs off of the north side of the peak's east ridge. We did about a 5.4
variation of the route (described as 5.0 - 5.2 in the guidebook) by
staying directly on the ridge over several towers. We free-soloed, so I
wasn't paying much attention to placements, but they seemed pretty good
as I recall. The rock was excellent in many places, with some loose
strata here and there. It was about a 2500 foot climb, out of which
maybe 500' were 5th class.
A little way below the 14,000' level, the route joins the standard E
Ridge route. We went from total solitude to being amongst a horde of
over 50 people in the span of a few minutes. The summit was a complete
zoo. I started mooing at people, and they looked at me with exhausted,
blank stares. We continued over the summit to the W ridge for a break,
and had complete solitude again after just a one-minute walk. It boggles
my mind. The W Ridge would also make for a fine and peaceful route.
Anyway, for our descent, we glissaded some snow off the E ridge, and
picked our way down some cliffy sections back to the car. If I did it
again, I'd bring an ice axe for a quick descent down a couloir which is
obvious on the hike in. This was a pretty heavy snow year, so I wouldn't
count on the couloir normally being "in" this late in the summer.
Car-to-car was a quick 5 hours or so.