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Castle Peak
Elevation: 14,265 feet
Climbed: Jul 7, 2007; Jun 15, 2010; Jun 26, 2010
Mountain Range: Elk Range
Colorado Rank: 12th
Class Rating: 2
Latitude: 39.009636
Longitude: -106.861324

Trip Report

Jun 26, 2010
This climb started by climbing the Conundrum Couloir. You can read about that portion of the climb at the Conundrum/North Conundrum Trip Report.

After climbing Conundrum, I descended to the northwest ridge of Castle Peak, which is the connecting ridge between the peaks.

The climb up the northwest ridge to the summit of Castle Peak was a slow grind, but nothing out of the ordinary. I took a few photos on top, performed a coordination test on myself, applied some suncreen and then headed down the northwest ridge to the saddle.

From the low point on the saddle, I put on a helmet cam and jumped onto the snow for a fun glissade into the snowy bowl of Montezuma Basin.

After the first glissade, I traversed to the top of the moderately steep slope that exits the upper basin. A second glissade took me almost to the parking area, devoid of vehicles due to the early season conditions.

A warm hike down the road lead me back to my vehicle, waiting below the first stream crossing.

The weather was nice, the snow perfect and Conundrum Couloir a confidence-building success in the realm of steeper couloir snow-climbing.

Jun 15, 2010
Wild Mike joined me for this outing to Montezuma Basin, which is situated below Castle and Conundrum Peaks.

The snow on the highest part of the road resulted in a lot of post-holing, the deepest up to my knee. The upper crust would almost support my weight and then it would break through as I stepped forward. I broke trail until we stopped just past the end of the road.

As the sun rose, we tried to warm our frosted feet. Wild Mike's feet weren't responding very well, so we decided to descend. The climb was aborted just past the end of the road.

From our highest vantage point, we had a great view of the connecting saddle between Castle and Conundrum Peaks. The snow was continuous all the way from the upper basin to the top of the saddle.

During our descent of the road, we did see one guy heading up. He was thinking about climbing Conundrum Couloir to Conundrum Peak, then traversing the saddle to Castle Peak.

Later I found this same guy's 14ers.com Trip Report, which describes the conditions he encountered on his successful summits of Conundrum and Castle Peaks. Wild Mike and I are the two guys he met just below the four-wheel-drive parking lot. I took his photo with his disposable camera.


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