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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-07-09||Route: From Castle
Info: Also refer to Castle condition report. Snow on the trail up to Castle from the 4WD trailhead up to the top of the first hill. You can see it all from the lot. On the descent I found the most stable route to be going up the rock that splits the snowfield. Micropsikes would make this easier, but not strictly necessary. Once you get around the corner at the top it is dry to the summit. For those who like a little class 3 action, I went around the southwest ridge on the way up and it was totally dry and pretty reasonable climbing. Stick to the boulder stuff and avoid the loose scree. The trail is in good shape down Castle all the way to Conundrum. The snow you can see on the south side of Conundrum is only sticking to the wall and not impeding the trail. For those who want to run up the couloirs my personal opinion is not to bother. The snow is still mostly their from the lot up to the saddle, but it is slushy and loose by 10. Better for glissading and not really worth the skiing. An axe will hold in most it, but anything near the top and you'll be punching in to rock.
|2016-04-24||Route: Castle Creek Rd
Info: Gate still closed, 1.7 miles from the lower Castle Creek trailhead.
|2016-03-05||Route: from Castle
Info: Stable, springlike conditions in the lower basin and some unconsolidated snow above 13k. Ascended partially filled North gully on Castle (styrofoam snow and talus) and traversed to Conundrum. Descended from the saddle - stable, but still unconsolidated snow. Skied down from ~13.4k, made for a quick descent. Estimated 5.5k vertical, 16 miles.
|2015-10-11||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: The Conundrum ridge is entirely snow free on the way up. The final moves where you have to drop and regain 50 feet to reach the true summit has a small amount of snow and ice, but if you‘re careful and move slowly it can be done without traction. The descent through the coulier is snow free and slippery gravel as always. If you‘re doing the combo with Castle, traction is advised since much of the Castle ridge is in the shade and holding enough snow and ice in the steep, critical sections to make progress more dangerous without microspikes.
|2015-09-27||Route: Passing through the area
Info: PEAK fall colors at Castle Creek Trailhead!
|2015-07-26||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: The couloir is in good climbing shape as of Sunday, July 26. Snow coverage is continuous top to bottom, with only minimal rock debris, mostly on the fan near the base. Remnants of the big cornice (now more of a vertical snow wall) still guard most of the top, but there is a reasonable exit (~50 degrees) on climber‘s right. We used crampons, an alpine axe, and a second tool, and found all to be very useful. Snow conditions were definitely on the firm side, with some places accepting only front points and pick placement, and others allowing for the occasional shaft plant and shallow (couple inches) step-kick (for reference, we were in the couloir from about 8:30-9:45). There were several deep runnels in which one could stem if desired for a little relief from the otherwise rather steep and sustained climb (>40 degrees for the entire length of the couloir, and >45 for a good bit of it as well). Other notes: -We saw numerous hikers without any snow gear. Their way to get past the lower headwall was to cross it as low as possible and get onto the talus slope between the two lobes of the snowfield. From that talus "island", they then still had to cross a bit of snow near the top to get onto the standard (NE ridge) Castle trail. That crossing is short, tracked out, and not very steep, but if one were to slip on it in the firm morning snow, they‘d be looking at a ~500 foot ride all the way back down to the base of the snowfield. Just FYI. -The snow slope below the C/C saddle was melted out about 150‘ below the ridge (see second photo). We didn‘t go this way, opting instead to just descend the standard trail after summitting Castle from Conundrum, but it looked loose and unpleasant. We did see a few people go both up and down that way throughout the day, and also some some good-sized rocks dislodged from the scree slope. Needless to say, folks without an ice axe did not go down this way, but went back over Castle instead. -Thanks to LiquidShadow and others for providing the info that encouraged us to attempt this route so late in the season! It was a great climb.
|2015-07-12||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: I hit the Conundrum Couloir at 7 AM and it was in fantastic shape. Snow was nice and firm at that time with no slipping. I was able to scurry up the entire col in 25 minutes. Fairly large cornice is still at the top of the col, go right. Looking across the basin the Castle Couloir was looking much thinner.
|2015-07-05||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Snow was super solid. Not much sun exposure so the couloir may be around another week. Get it while it‘s good. The crux is probably close to 50 degrees. It‘s a fun one.
|2015-06-20||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: The cornice came down today! We debated doing the Conundrum Couloir but decided it was too risky, so we did Castle’s North Face Couloir. Good thing we did. Sitting on top of Castle, we saw the cornice break lose around 9 am. It was awesome, huge, and fast! The slide encompassed the entire Couloir. Thankfully nobody was there, otherwise death was a very good possibility. There is still a cornice on top, but nothing like the overhang that was there before.
|2015-06-19||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: After Castle, we glissaded from the saddle, and then engaged the Conundrum Couloir. Snow varied from nicely "kickable" to hard "front-pointable" during our 0723-0750 ascent. There is a monster cornice at the top of the couloir...easily bypassed to the right as you top out.
|2015-06-13||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Solid snow in the couloir with giant cornice overhanging. Largest I‘ve seen. Runnel forming in center, debris below. A decent ski once it warmed up a bit to get an edge in. Summit descent in for a short time more. TR up soon
|2015-05-02||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Climbed and skied Conundrum today. After 11:00 am the sun warmed up the constriction(which is about 3ish meters wide). Able to ski from the saddle to the creek crossing or about 6.5 miles and 3,900 vertical. My partner brought snowshoes but never used them. Trip report to follow soon. Snow starts about 200 meters from trailhead.
|2015-04-12||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Phone Photo of Conundrom Couloir from last week per requests. Looked like it ran but had a large cornice up top. Hope it helps
|2014-09-24||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Descent off Castle to the Saddle was filled with mixture of icy and wet rocks from overnight freezing. Made for somewhat treacherous descent in the loose rock. Climb up conundrum was hot and sunny w/ no real issues. Soil between false summit and true summit was muddy and slick, better to stick to the rock for good traction. Bluebird day.
|2014-07-06||Route: from Castle Peak
Info: Completely dry from Castle Peak. Trail is easy to follow. Snow still reaches the saddle but is beginning to melt quickly. Snowfields full from 12,800 parking area to the turnoff for the NE ridge to Castle. snow is completel avoidable from there to the summit of Castle. Bring an axe for a fun glissade! Conundrum Couloir is still in with a manageable cornice limited to the left side of the top of the couloir. No beta on snow in the couloir but was firm around dawn and slush by 10 AM on the sunny slopes.
|2014-06-07||Route: Conundrum Couloir
Info: Climbed and skied Conundrum couloir. With hard freeze cycle, couloir was in excellent climbing condition, even later in the day ~10ish. Saw some big postholes/caves on the right side next to the couloir wall. Cornice doesn‘t look like an issue (yet), bypassable/avoidable on the right side. Snow starts 20-30 ft below the summit block, rocky class 3ish section.
|2013-07-13||Route: From Castle Peak
Info: Trail from Castle to Conundrum is in great shape and easy to follow until you get close to the summit. The trail does disappear toward the second (official summit), but keep to the right (east) and you’ll get there. If you are planning to take the route down from the Conundrum-Castle saddle, be very careful; it is extremely loose and there are a few rock ledges to watch out for.
|2012-10-01||Route: Up the saddle between Castle and Conundrum
Info: Climbed Conundrum on Friday. There are 2 major Crevasses above the sunk in lake. They are probably 30 to 40 ft deep. They are easy to avoid now but if snow covers them I‘m afraid someone may walk over them before the snow consolidates.
|2012-08-10||Route: Descent between Castle & Conundrum
Info: Summited both Castle & Conundrum this weekend. The route is as described on the site. But we decided to descend from the saddle between the two summits. Big mistake! Maybe this route is reasonable with snow. But we found heavy screw over steep ice. It looked as if the ice was only to our right as you descend. But we could not avoid it. We found ourselves surfing down the ice on a surfboard of large scree. It was very difficult to to stop! Just to our right were rivers of liquid scree moving down in the gullies. Eventually the loose scree gave way to exposed ice with scattered rock here and there. Crampons would have been a huge help. So my strong advice is to descend from Conundrum back over Castle!
|2011-09-17||Route: upper Montezuma Glacier
Info: climbed Conundrum yesterday. Snowed all morning with just enough weather lift in the pm for a summit. The suncups on the upper and lower glacier are completely filled in with no sun cups visible. If you want some turns the glacier is in primo condition (for Septemeber), there is definietely some powder to be had. I climbed halfway up the Conundrum couloir and turned around because hard glacier snow was exposed in the choke and I did not feel like climbing through it. Then I downclimbed and contoured around the basin and climbed the upper Montezuma glacier on fresh new snow all the way to the Castle/Conundrum saddle and summited via the ridge from there. Fresh snow and no people made glacier and rockfall conditions more favorable then usual on this route. Snow fell all the way down to about 11,000‘ with multiple inches 4-10" (variable with windload and aspect above the upper parking lot) which I believe is around 12,800‘ or so. The Bells, Pyramid, and the rest of the Elk look to have similar snow coverage from the last few days. Sorry no pics, I forgot batteries for my camera.