We found a bit of a warmer place, and sat again. We could tell the frost conditions had improved greatly as we descended. As the sun started hitting the west ridge of Quandary, we moved on to check things out, with the option of turning back if too icy.
As we agreed later, though cold, sitting and waiting for a bit was the right call. In the end we experienced very little frost on Quandary, and only in shaded areas and in the upper 13's of elevation.
This was a fun hike for sure, though I remain unaccustomed to seeing tons of people on my normal outings. Quandary would be a good easy 14er for those less experienced by the standard route, and a good intro to third class when done by the west ridge for those of you looking to move up to more difficult terrain and route finding. Doing the combo is the way to go for something a little bit longer and more difficult. Drift Peak can be added in for a bit more length and more third class terrain if desired.
Fletcher Mountain and Quandary Peak via Blue Lakes dam:
Fletcher Mountain, 13951 feet: se ridge- 2.13 miles each way, 2250 foot gain. Second class. Moderate+.
Quandary Peak, 14265 feet: west ridge- 2 miles each way, 2650 foot gain. Third class. Strenuous-.
Quandary Peak: east ridge- 3.4 miles each way, 3450 foot gain. Moderate+.
Hike total: 8.7 miles, 4015 foot gain. Strenuous-.