June 15, 2002
The Monte Cristo trailhead is located about ten miles outside of Breckenridge just off of Colorado highway 9. The turn isn't marked well but at a sharp corner there will be a street sign for Blue Lake Road. The trailhead is only a mile or so down the dirt road and is easily passable for passenger cars. The photo below is a picture of Quandry Peak from the turnout off Colorado highway 9.
The trail starts out gently through the trees for the first 30 minutes but you quickly exit the trees and start a series of swithbacks up to a high ridge. The photo below is almost at the end of treeline looking up at Quandry Peak.
Gaining elevation of the switchbacks up to the ridge, you can look west and see Blue Lake coming into view in the photo below.
Already passing several groups in the trees I got a glimpse of how popular Quandry Peak is once I got near the high ridge. There was probably 30 people resting on the ridge and more heading up for the summit.
From the high ridge you get some nice views of Grays and Torreys Peak as well as the Breckenridge/Frisco area as shown in the photo below. Grays and Torreys are the twin peaks in the center of the photo.
From the ridge the trail heads straight up the ridgeline in the photo below towards the summit. The trails is steeper from this point on and will definitely slow you down a little bit.
I made the summit at 10:30 exactly 2 hours after I had started. It was a little breezy on the summit but not too bad. Mount Elbert, Mount Massive and La Plata Peak can easily be spotted looking west from Quandry's summit but are a little small in the picture below.
The summit register is attached to some skis that form an X with the name of a skier that got killed on Quandry. For some reason there are 2 USGS benchmarks on the summit not far apart from each other.
Descending the trail of broken rocks and boulders will beat you down a little bit but I made it down in about an hour passing people the whole way down. There must have been at least 70 people on the mountain but what can you expect on a beautiful Saturday in Colorado.