14er Ski Descents – Quandary Peak – April 14, 2005
Route: Cristo Couloir
Team: Ted, Sean Shean
Spring is here. The lifts just closed and without any big, far away adventure planned, I was hoping to get a short list of 14ers skied before the snow melted. If it’s anything like last spring (14 peaks skied) then I’d be psyched.
Let’s start out with a Quandary East Ridge/Cristo Couloir warm-up. Technically dull and with great road access it’s a classic ski for many, and an easy day trip from Aspen. I have more Quandary ski days than any other peak except for our local Castle Peak, and Sean has never done it.
The route is a well traveled trail all through the winter and with parking around 11,000 feet it’s more-or-less like a skin up Aspen Mountain (vertical wise). For you dog lovers out there, you’ll be pleased to know that often included on a trip here is a dog who will volunteer to be your companion for the whole day. He’ll even follow you down the steep couloir and then happily leave you to be looked after by someone else. His name is Horton, some call him “Quandary Dog” and he lives near the trailhead, or so I’m told.
Horton has joined me on several trips here. Part nuisance, part cute yellow lab, I’ve heard he has well in excess of 100 summits of Quandary Peak. Impressive as that’s more summits than most people will ever reach. Skiing with him can be a challenge though, when he wasn’t stepping on the tails of Sean’s skis he was trying his best to do so. Eventually the three of us made it down the south facing Cristo Couloir, and all the way back to the truck.
It was an awesome day— we said goodbye to Horton who I would see again next year upon returning with Chris Davenport, and Sean and I headed home. Later in the spring we would team up for some more cool ski descents but for now I was gearing up for some solo days, starting with Yale later this week.