Mt. Quandary- The Cristo Couloir
I had the great fortune of climbing Mt. Quandry via the Cristo Couloir this past weekend, and wanted to make a few notes on my experience.
In the book “Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs” by Gerry Roach, the Cristo Couloir is said to have a round trip distance of 2 miles. That is not the case. The roundtrip distance is at best 4 miles, so if you are trying to make the trip in a certain amount of time, plan for a steep 4 mile climb with loose rocks in the summer, and steep snow in the winter.
When climbing the mountain, make sure that you stay to the left side of the couloir. It is tempting to cross to the other side in hopes of finding a cairn to steer you in the right direction. You will cross a small stream to get to the left side of the couloir at which point you will not see a cairn for a small period of time. after climbing up the sketchy loose rocks that make up Mt. Quandary, it is tempting to take the main trail down to the McCullough Gulch parking lot. Don’t forget that after that decent you will need to hike another 6 miles to get back to the Blue Lake parking lot.
As a novice mountaineer, I found this particular route to be perfect for a quick way to knock another 14er off of my list, and face something a little more challenging than what I am used to.