East Ridge and Bowls
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East Ridge and Bowls
Submitted By: adrenalated on May 03, 2010
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|- Skin Track:||Moderate|
|Starting Elevation:||10,850 ft.|
|Elevation Gain:||3,415 ft.|
|High Point:||14,265 ft.|
|Max Slope Angle:||30-35 degrees°|
Start at the Quandary Peak trailhead. When McCullough Gulch Road 851 is snowcovered, you will need to skin or hike 0.1mi from the junction of 851 and 850 (Blue Lakes Rd) to reach the trailhead. From the parking lot, follow the road uphill for a hundred yards or so. The trail branches off to the left (west). The trail is well traveled year round and should be easy to follow. The trail trends to the northwest and reaches treeline on the ridge crest around 11,600'. From here the rest of the route is visible. Climb directly along the broad ridge crest to the summit.
Skins or snowshoes required. Ski crampons or boot crampons may be useful on the final pitch to the summit if the snow is hard.
There are two major east facing bowls to descend along the north side of the ridge. They are pretty obvious to find. One drops from very near the summit down to 13,100'. The second begins just past the flat section of the ridge and drops to treeline at 11,600. You can avoid the lower bowl if desired and ski right down the ridge crest, but the bowl has better skiing. Just make sure you don't drop too low at the bottom, or you'll have to climb back to the trail.
From treeline, follow the trail back to your car. Do not ski to the south directly down the fall line to Blue Lakes Road, though this is tempting... you will be trespassing on private property.
The East Bowls are moderate in difficulty - about D3-D4. For more info on the D-system for rating ski descents, see here: http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/ratings/ski-board-d-rating-system.html. They are steep enough to slide, but are one of the safer spring ski descents. This route is not recommended in winter because it will most likely be wind scoured most of the time.
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