Submitted By: adrenalated on April 29, 2010
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Cristo is a fairly wide snow gully, and is not particularly technical to ski. That said, it is steep enough to demand advanced ski abilities.
Cristo is rated D8 or D9 depending on snow conditions. For information on the D rating system, see here: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/ratings/ski-board-d-rating-system.html
In good snow conditions, Cristo can be skied right off the summit. Depending on snowpack, there may or may not be a few rocky patches to navigate. The gully has a few rollovers, the steepest reaching 40-45 degrees. The slope has a double fall-line, and is generally a bit mellower if you stay towards the skier's right side. While not a true no-fall zone, the double fall-line nature also means that a sliding fall in the couloir could be dangerous.
Cristo Couloir is a very large avalanche path and has claimed it's share of victims. As such, this route is recommended as a spring descent in times of good stability only. Also, whether you're driving or skinning up Blue Lakes Road, be aware that several major avalanche paths threaten the road near the dam.[more]
Quandary Peak is one of Colorado's most popular 14ers. It is the 13th highest peak in Colorado, but as 14ers go, it is relatively easy to climb. With it's good access, it is many people's first 14 ski descent. There are two major ski descents on Quandary. The first is the East Ridge & Bowls, which is the more moderate route of the two. The second is the Cristo Couloir, which is a more challenging descent. There are other skiable lines on Quandary, but they are not commonly skied.
How to Get There
From Breckenridge, drive 8 miles south on CO Hwy 9. Turn right on Blue Lakes Road 850. Quandary is very visible from here.
If you are climbing the East Ridge route, you want McCullough Gulch Road 851, which branches to the right after just a few hundred yards. This road will most likely be snowcovered until at least mid-May, so just park at the pullout where the road junction meets. If the road is clear, drive 0.1mi to a parking lot on the right.
If you are climbing Cristo Couloir, continue straight on Blue Lakes Road. The road is not plowed for the last two miles to Blue Lake (where your climb starts), and will probably be snowcovered until mid-May. Drive as far as you can and find a place to park.