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Castle Peak  
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2014-09-24  Northeast Ridge  Blue bird day in the Elks. Cold night on Tuesday caused most of the loose dirt to freeze and stay frozen early in the day. Made for good traction on the ascent until the sun warmed the basin enough to loosen it up. However, that same freeze made for some slick rocks in the morning and loose conditions as things warmed up. The snow fields are very hard packed. While descending around 12:00, they were 1" of slippery slush over solid ice. Lots of rockfall echoing all day long. Descent off the saddle was loose and muddy until you hit the bigger talus. Blue6String   2014-09-26  0     Edit Delete 
2014-09-16  Northeast Ridge  Perfect conditions on Castle and Conundrum. No snow at all the entire way (see exception below). I dared not take my Suby Forester across the first creek crossing, which meant a longer approach. Had both the summits to myself for as long as I wanted. There‘s a couple of snowfields on the way up to Castle (remnants of last winter), and I couldn‘t find an easy way to avoid them. Since I had carried my micro spikes, I ended up crossing the fields with the spikes (just a few hundred feet). LoveThisSite   2014-09-16  0     Edit Delete 
2014-09-15  Castle and Conundrum  Beautiful. Ridges dry. Snowfields are mostly avoidable, very compacted (therefore slippery). Descent between Castle and Conundrum is sliding dirt...not even gravel-sized pieces. Very loose. Least fun part. Consider re-ascending Castle and coming down the ridge. zinj   2014-09-17  0     Edit Delete 
2014-09-12  Castle and Conundrum  There is some snow above 13,600 on the standard route up to Castle, but it is easily dealt with. Route to Conundrum is snow free. Picture of Castle was taken from Conundrum. Roald   2014-09-14 1     Edit Delete 
2014-08-29  Northeast Ridge  Entire upper basin is covered in snow. Microspikes definitely helps. AdDoBe   2014-08-30  0     Edit Delete 
2014-08-24  Northeast Ridge  An upper level disturbance and moisture from tropical system in the eastern pacific gave western colorado below average temperatures Saturday going into today (Sunday). On Saturday, Grand Junction received quite a bit of rain, but most importantly the Elk Range accumulated some new snow starting at 12800 ft. On Castle Peak, the snow in the Montezuma drainage ranged from 1" to 4" the closer you got to the summit, though from the approach, it looked less. In addition the area received some warming sunshine in the early hours of daylight followed by cloudy and very cold conditions. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: above 13,200 ft. conditions became icy and fairly dangerous as the ice gave already loose rocks a false sense that it was more solid than it is. If you are going up in the next couple days, you must be prepared for mid fall like conditions. Only one individual made it to the summit today as far as I know and they had microspikes and warm clothing. On tuesday we are expecting the same pattern to form again with another tropical hurricane and upper level disturbance which could bring more snow. Then a return to warm and dry conditions for the remainder of the week going past the weekend that could bring summer climbing conditions back to castle. Be safe all. Rcizzle   2014-08-24  0  1    Edit Delete 
2014-08-18  Castle and Conundrum  Small snowfields amongst the boulder field heading up the Northeast slopes. I was planning on traversing to Conundrum, but after looking at the suggested down climb into the basin from the saddle I chickened out. It did not look safe at all. The picture attached indicates the suggested descent. In my eyes, most certainly not "difficult class 2". addrock528   2014-08-19 1     Edit Delete 
2014-07-11  Northeast Ridge  Path up first basin is still holding snow, but the path up to the high basin is pretty obvious to the left. Folks have taken a variety of routes up to the summer trail above, which is also very prominent once the higher basin is gained. The northeast ridge is totally clear and open, as well as the traverse over to Conundrum. Many folks chose to glut-glissade down from the Cast./Con. saddle which looked terrifying and fun at the same time. HOWEVER, I was really awed and frightened by the rockfall I witnessed from Conundrum‘s ridges which, as it turns out, is right where the descent route takes you back to the main trail. I saw a car-sized boulder tumble down furiously from up high almost all the way to the lake below! Audible rockfall was also a common thing throughout the hike, so just be wary of projectile rocks and those loosened by people hiking above you. This is a common thing in the Elks, I hear, but I thought I would let y‘all know  swampthing   2014-07-11  0     Edit Delete 
2014-07-06  Northeast Ridge  Climbed Castle Peak 07/06/14. River crossing is in great shape and any 4x4 vehicle should have little problem crossing. Road is passable until 12,500 where snow drifts are still prevalent. Lots of snow in the basin, but it is easily ascended. We took snow shoes and microspikes and never needed either. Excellent glissade off the saddle, but the snow is melting fast and the glissade opportunities will vanish quickly. lakecityrat   2014-07-06  0  1    Edit Delete 
2014-07-05  Northeast Ridge  climbed northeast ridge route July 5. Road is passable to about 11,000 where it is washed out. Plenty of snow left in montezuma basin. Some ice lingering on the ridge. ice axe necessary for glissades, microspikes helpful in some places. maxmark7   2014-07-07  0     Edit Delete 
2014-07-03  Northeast Ridge  Crossed the creeek in a Nissan Frontier pickup but the water was still about two and a half feet deep and running strong. The road into Montezuma Basin is clear to well above timberline but still blocked by snow higher up. Pearl Pass road still snow covered higher up past the turn to Pearl Pass. Snow fields were solid early in the day, getting slushy by mid-morning. Andy_Lyon   2014-07-05  0     Edit Delete 
2014-06-29  Northeast Ridge  Snow just before the summit was probably the most challenging part of the day, but is melting out fast and may be gone by next weekend. The glissade at the saddle is very bumpy and I highly recommend an ice ax until it smoothes out better. Great glissade and there is snow all the way up to the saddle. Lower creek crossing is passable by normal 4x4 vehicles, but is still running fast. Can drive just above timberline before snow. Grant   2014-06-30 4  6    Edit Delete 
2014-06-27  Northeast Ridge  We had a failed attempt on Castle Peak yesterday. I think it is still a little early to climb this one without spikes, and I think everyone in the area knew that but us, as we didn‘t see another soul on the trail. That should have been our first clue. The climb itself wouldn‘t have been difficult but for the snow and ice, and I see why everyone says it is the easiest climb in the Elk range. We made it to about 12,600, crossing about three pretty slick icy patches along the way. Very little traction. There‘s also some pretty deep water you‘ve got to cross due to heavy runoff, so if you attempt, be prepared for that. We decided to turn around after falling knee-deep into the snow and realizing a majority of the ridges we needed to cross to get out of the basin were covered in ice and had no footprints to use for balance. If you attempt this one before the rest of the snow melts, I suggest bringing your spikes and ax. aimeehous   2014-06-28 5  2    Edit Delete 
2014-06-24  Northeast Ridge  Still plenty of snow in the area. If you are planning an early start, I suggest bringing microspikes to aid in crossing frozen snow fields covering the road. They were pretty firm and icy this morning, which made for some sketchy crossing with no traction. Once on the NE Ridge, snow free until just before summit. Some postholing on the last 50 ft to summit of Castle Peak. Bring gaitors to keep snow out of your boots. Postholed a bit on the descent as well. Traverse to Conundrum completely dry. Glissade from the saddle is amazing! aliciaf   2014-06-24  0  4 1  Edit Delete 
2014-06-21  Castle and Conundrum  Climbed Castle and Conundrum today, via Castle‘s NE ridge. There is LOTS of snow in Montezuma Basin still, but we were fine in just boots. We occasionally postholed on the way out around noon today. The NE ridge is free of snow until just below Castle‘s summit. On Conundrum, there is more snow, but nothing that can‘t be easily bypassed. If you‘re looking for an epic glissade, go down the saddle between Castle and Conundrum. You won‘t be disappointed. mlayman09   2014-06-21  0  8 4  Edit Delete 
2014-06-15  Castle and Conundrum  Today I climbed Conundrum couloir, followed the ridge to Castle, and descended Castle‘s northeast ridge. Snow was well consolidated, firm and supportive, to the point of being icy. When I was in the Conundrum couloir, between 8:20 and 9:50, I began chopping rather than kicking steps half way up, and continued to do so until I reached the saddle between the summits. By the time I descended Montezuma Basin in the early afternoon, the snow had softened substantially, but was still quite supportive. Conundrum Couloir retains plenty of snow, while Conundrum‘s ridge to Castle has only a few, easily negotiated patches of snow. (Photo 1) Castle‘s northwest ridge is almost completely devoid of snow. (Photo 2) Castle‘s north face couloir contains climbable snow, but it is mostly on the western edge of the couloir. The couloir cannot be said to be full of snow as it sometimes is. (Photo 3) Castle‘s northeast ridge is mostly dry, but has occasional patches of snow that must be negotiated, and crampons are advisable for the final pitch from the top of the north face couloir to the summit. (Photo 4) RWSchaffer   2014-06-15 4     Edit Delete 
2014-06-11  East Face  Skied from summit down east face. pretty good snow for first thousand feet, then crappy and s--tty dust infused garbage mixed with some runnels. Getting narrow in spots. goreskier   2014-06-13  0       
2014-06-07  North Face Couloir  Climbed and skied Castle via NF couloir. Great conditions, but it‘s getting just a tad rocky/thin. Plenty of snow on the summit. Continued on to Conundrum. TH access: made it to the 1st river crossing in a Subaru. Very large snow drift/avy debris field soon thereafter. nkan02   2014-06-09 6     Edit Delete 
2014-06-07  Castle and Conundrum  Summited Castle via the NE ridge, went on to Conundrum, and descended via the saddle. Lots of snow up there, but mostly firm, even on the way back (quite surprising!). We used snowshoes on the way back and descended the drainage almost to treeline to avoid traversing back to the road. It was a beautiful snow climb in a gorgeous setting! esagas   2014-06-08  0  2    Edit Delete 
2014-05-17  Castle and Conundrum  Skied some lines on Pearl pass today. Castle and Conundrum looked amazing!! Original plan was to ski Conundrum, but we slept in. Hoping to head back up in the next couple of weekends, pending weather. One note, saw 3 wet slab avalanches and heard at least 2 more up in Montezuma basin. Pic is view of Castle and Conundrum from 12,000 up pearl pass. Hypersnow   2014-05-17 1  2    Edit Delete 

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