View Full Version : How to Hike Quandary Peak near Breckenridge with a Synapse 19

01-08-2014, 10:24 AM
I find myself in totally uncharted waters. This next summer our family is traveling to Breckenridge to enjoy the cooler and dryer weather. In the past we have focused on short day hikes (mostly of the geo-caching flavor). This year, though, I have decided to hike my first 14er. I've been on Quandary many years ago (so long ago I really don't remember much about it at all), but never did the full hike.

I am in good health (I run 2-3 miles 3+ times a week, and I'm working on core strengthening), although I'm not a workout guru by any stretch of the imagination. Also, the fact that I live at elevation 12' has me slightly concerned about how my muscles and stamina will perform in the thinner air. I'm in my mid-40's, so while I'm not "old," I'm certainly not a 20-something either.

From what I gather, the 14's are heavily hiked, so I'm not concerned necessarily with getting lost. I will be bringing my Garmin along. Also, I will be doing this with my husband, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law. My GPS is an older Garmin GPSmap handheld variety that takes AA batteries. My questions are as follows:

1. Can I do this adequately with a Synapse 19?

2. If so, what should I carry along the way?

While I do have a Camel-Bak, it is one that is of the minimalist variety. It would just carry the bladder, a trail bar, and lip balm. That's it. I greatly prefer to use my Synapse, because I imagine I will need a little more than that for a full day hike up a mountain.

3. Any other pointers? Training tips? Preferred hiking boots? I just gave my Vasque hiking boots to my daughter, as my feet weren't fitting in them properly any more. Oh, and I do suffer occasionally from Plantar Fasciitis, although it seems to be under good control at the moment.

Thanks for the pointers. I know there are many much more serious hikers out there than I'll ever be, and I'm looking forward to learning from you all. I'm very excited about my bucket list being tackled in this way.:cool:

01-08-2014, 11:22 AM
1 and 2. Everyone does things their own way, but this would be my list:

long pants (thin if just for bug and sun protection, warmer if needed for temperature)
wicking long-sleeved shirt
lightweight fleece
hat (type depends on temperature)
socks - I like my wool socks; YMMV

1 litre Nalgene water bottle (because my water filter screws onto it)
water filter (the entire group only needs one; some people prefer purification tablets, or maybe drinking water is available?)
folding saw (also only one needed for the group)
small survival kit - matches, dryer lint for fire starter, compass, energy bars, one fishhook and a bit of line, first aid kit
paper map
headlamp with new batteries
food - crackers and cheese, pepperoni sticks, GORP, chocolate or other morale booster, dried fruit
extra fleece and wool hat (if not wearing)
extra pair of socks
small notebook and pencil

You should be able to get this into the Synapse 19.

3. Sounds like you're in pretty decent shape already, but maybe try adding some hills into your runs, if you aren't already. I'd also take a day somewhere along the line to walk about 8-10 miles, which will give you an idea of where you're at physically. As far as boots go, they need to fit well, which means that there's no right boot for everyone. Get them as soon as you can from a place with a good return policy and wear them indoors for a few days. If they seem to fit well and don't rub (for me that tends to be in the arches and heels), then start wearing them as much as possible to break them in before you go. Nothing sucks on the trail more than finding out your boots don't fit.

From a plantar fasciitis point of view, I'd make sure to wear the shoes that work best (for me, that's Chacos) for a good couple of weeks before the trip, and to try different arch supports I my boots while I'm breaking them in.

ETA: Oh, and a camera! One for the group is enough.

01-08-2014, 11:38 AM
Just carry a light pack, water, food, hat, extra clothing. ..

I've climbed and hiked all the Colorado 14ers and many other peaks over forty years and you need to leave early to beat potential storms.

You'll also need to be in reasonably good condition.

In the summer, the trails on the popular 14ers are crowded. .. unfortunately. Times have changed.

Enjoy your hike, be prepared, hydrated ahead of time, pace yourself... and leave early... 05:00 at trailhead!

01-08-2014, 11:43 AM
I'm not a hiker any more, but it's good to think about sun and hydration in the Colorado mountains. You will want plenty of water for everyone (I don't know about available water sources, but we always carry at least a bottle per person). You will need sun protection (hat, sunscreen, perhaps long sleeves). The layers are a good idea. A Synapse 19 might work well if it fits your layers. You always want to be prepared for rain or unexpected chill. You will want sunglasses, hat, and chapstick.

Altitude is a definite consideration. We recommend our friends "acclimate" for a couple days before going up to higher altitude. One friend came from sea level, and went up PIkes Peak (14k feet) the afternoon she arrived. She got the altitude headache pretty quickly. If you get a headache, drink a lot of water!

Breck is such a fun town. And referencing another thread from today, it has a terrific shop called The Joy of Sox.

01-08-2014, 11:43 AM
So you would carry a water bottle instead of a bladder? Or would a bladder work as well? I was thinking of bringing along the tablets for water purification, but I'm not educated enough to know the advantages or disadvantages.

Great idea about doing the walk. My neighborhood clocks in at just under 10 miles if I go around the entire thing. I'll do that before I head out. Hills are a challenge in this part of the state. I would need to drive to an area that has bridges to run. That's an excellent idea, though. Thanks for the help!

01-08-2014, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the warning about early! I was checking some websites out, and they all agree with you. I even read that 13ers are possibly a better way to go if you want to avoid the crowds. Times have indeed changed!

01-08-2014, 11:46 AM
I will definitely check the shop out. I am a sock knitter, and love socks!

The hike will happen towards the end of the trip. I do feel drained the first day or so that I'm in that elevation.

01-08-2014, 11:48 AM
My sister lives near the Air Force Academy/Garden of the Gods. I love getting out there to visit her and see Pike's Peak! When she comes to see me, we inevitably turn up at the beach.

01-08-2014, 12:51 PM
So you would carry a water bottle instead of a bladder? Or would a bladder work as well? I was thinking of bringing along the tablets for water purification, but I'm not educated enough to know the advantages or disadvantages.

I use a bottle because, as I said, it works with the filter I have, and it's what I've got and am used to. I think a bladder would be fine, although I suppose it might be more prone to punctures. I prefer a filter to tablets because (a) the tablets need to sit in the water for a while to work, and filtering a litre of water only takes a few minutes, and I kind of like doing it, (b) the tablets usually leave a taste behind, and (c) again, it's what I'm used to. This is assuming there are water sources along the trail, of course. Some people might just carry a day's supply of water with them, but that's pretty heavy.

While I'm not an advocate of bringing lots of stuff "just in case," if something does happen and you are stuck out there overnight (unlikely, of course), you need water, warmth and shelter until someone finds you. Make sure you know how to build a fire. Make sure someone knows where you're going and when (and who) to call for help if you don't get back.

I forgot to add: a pocket knife, and duct tape! I take a few feet of it along wrapped around my hiking poles. I also forgot to mention that I like hiking poles.