M and I decided that today was the day to make our first summit attempt on Summit County’s only 14er, Mt. Quandary. A friend had made the summit yesterday and today’s weather forecast looked promising with sunny skies for the morning.
We are fairly certain that M and I are the only remaining semi-athletic people in Summit County who have not summited Mt. Quandary. Since neither M or I have been training very hard the last month or so, we decided to make this a hike rather than a run. However any hill M sees causes her to speed up so the hike was not slow. The fastest known time from the parking lot to the peak is around 51 minutes by Colorado Springs based mountain runner Joe Gray. M and I would not be approaching his time today, or ever for that matter, but its an interesting thing to know ahead of time.
Despite our lack of serious training of late, we both felt physically prepared to make the summit. What we were not prepared for was the 100 m.p.h. winds. At the one mile to go mark we were both blown sideways by the wind. That part of the trail is on a wide ridge so there was not much danger of getting blown off the mountain. The next part of the trail however is a very steep and very narrow ridge that goes right up to the summit. Neither one of us wanted to risk dying simply to get to the top so we turned around and headed back down the trail.
We learned some things today that will benefit us during future attempts. We were both well prepared with adequate food and water. Our microspikes on our shoes were a huge help as the trail was very icy most of the way. I was not as prepared as I should have been for the winds as I had not brought a wind-proof jacket. I also wished for something to cover my face because the wind combined with the cold was starting to burn my cheeks a bit. Some slightly warmer mittens would also have been nice.
We considered today’s attempt quite the big adventure for us, and we both look forward to trying again soon.