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The Secret Stash – Hiking Quandary Peak, A Colorado 14er

Posted by Breckenridge Associates Real Estate on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 12:30pm.

For many Colorado hikers it becomes a goal each summer to summit at least one of Colorado’s 54 “14ers”. (A 14er is defined as a mountain peak exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation.) A past time that’s grown in popularity over the past few years among locals, hiking 14ers can be intimidating and challenging, but the sense of accomplishment and beauty are worth it every time.

If you’re considering attempting a 14er this summer, why not give Quandary Peak a try? Not only is it practically in our backyard just six miles southwest of Breckenridge on Highway 9, but it’s ranked as a Class 1 14er. (Classification based on a ranking system of Class 1 – 5: 1 being the easiest usually on a good trail, and 5 requiring technical skills such as rock climbing.) It’s an easy drive from Breckenridge to Quandary and from the trailhead a fairly steady hike to the summit along a well-marked trail.

Expect to start the hike early in the day to avoid the largest crowds and potential afternoon storms. Quandary is a 6.2 mile round-trip hike and on average takes approximately 5 hours and 15 minutes of walking time. The trailhead begins at 10,850 feet and has an elevation gain of approximately 3,400 feet to end at the summit, a 14,265 foot peak. Pick up a copy of Mary Ellen Gilliland’s The New Summit Hiker, a must have companion for every Summit County hiker and a great source of information on this trek. The New Summit Hiker can be found in any bookstore in the county.

As always when recreating in the mountains, make sure to have plenty of water, energy snacks, sunscreen and appropriate gear for changing weather. Remember the air becomes thinner with gains in elevation and expect lungs to get a workout too. Hiking a 14er requires proper physical conditioning. No 14er hike is “easy”.

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