Summer of Summits: Quandary Peak

This summer we’re attempting to summit as many 14,000+ ft mountains in CO as possible, and we’re reaching the trailheads by bike! Join us on our Summer of Summits.

Day 10 – 35 miles by bike / +3200 ft. elevation gain

We packed up camp from the Grays / Torreys trailhead and headed towards our next 14er, Quandary Peak. We decided to aim for Breckenridge for the night about 35 miles away.

The first ten miles was a slog through Loveland Ski Area then 2200 ft up and over Loveland Pass. At the top, crowds gathered on various hiking trails with stunning views in every direction. Then, we got to do the fun part: cruising down 2700 ft over 9 miles. Sean sped ahead of me as my comfort level is around 35 mph max on my bike.

Loveland Pass
Loveland Pass – 11,990 ft.

Once we hit Keystone Resort, we were able to get off the highway as Summit County is linked by bike paths! Breckenridge was just 17 miles away with another climb of about 1000 ft. We were stoked to do all of that on a safe bike path and not worry about cars rushing past us.

Breckenridge is a special town for us after getting engaged just outside of town a few years ago while thruhiking the Colorado Trail. First stop, one of our favorite restaurants in all the land, Piante Pizza. We splurged on the entirely plant based menu. Omnivore or vegan, I promise you’ll love their ‘za. We settled in for the night in a swanky room and got ready for a big day ahead.

Piante Pizza in Breckenridge, CO
Piante Pizza in Breckenridge, CO

Day 11 – 21 miles by bike / +3600 ft elevation gain; 7 miles hiking / +3300 ft elevation gain

We woke early and started our pre-workout to a 14er. We had 8 miles to ride with 1300 ft of elevation to gain. It took us just over an hour to get to Quandary Peak trailhead. It was a Friday at about 8:00 am when we arrived, and the lot was already packed with cars. We hit the trail at about 8:15.

Quandary Peak Trailhead
Quandary Peak Trailhead – We goin up der

The climb began immediately, first lots of steps winding through the forest. It didn’t take too long for us to get above treeline and to start passing groups of people. As we ascended, the views became more magnificent and the crowds more dense. I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but we just couldn’t believe how many people were out on the trail. 300+ is a good guess all stuffed between 3.5 miles of trail between trailhead and summit.

Hiking up Quandary Peak
Hiking up Quandary Peak
Mountain Goats on Quandary Peak
Mountain Goats on Quandary Peak

Still, up we went, about 3300 ft total before we hit the summit passing lots of people and a few mountain goats along the way. From the top, we could see Grays and Torreys north of us and many more peaks to the west and south that we will be standing on in the upcoming weeks.

Quandary Peak Summit
Quandary Peak Summit
Quandary Peak Summit
Summit #6

After a brief stop at the summit, we started our descent back down to the bikes. At about 12:30, we arrived back down in the still crowded parking area. We switched back into our biking outfits and began another short stretch of biking to our next Trailhead.

Mountain goat on Quandary Peak
Mountain goat on the way down Quandary Peak so close we could pet it (but didn’t of course).

First, we had 2.5 miles up 700 ft to get us to Hoosier Pass. After the obligatory photo, we cruised down 6 miles and nearly 1200 ft through the tiny town of Alma.

Hoosier Pass, Colorado
This Hoosier crossing Hoosier Pass

Once we got to town, the remaining 6 miles to our camp was on gravel with 1600 ft of climbing. It was a super slow go that took maybe 2 hours dodging potholes, large partially buried rocks, and washboard grooves.

When we got to Kite Lake Trailhead, we were joined by some very special friends who’d be joining us for our next set of 14ers!!

If you’re keeping track…

322 Miles by Bike / +32,600 ft elevation gain

44 Miles Hiking / +15,800 ft elevation gain

6 – 14,000+ ft Summits

We are Bekah and Sean, out on an adventure to summit as many CO 14ers as possible this summer and reaching them via bicycle! Follow along here or on Instagram as we complete our Summer of Summits.

18 Comments on “Summer of Summits: Quandary Peak

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