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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  06/21/2010
 Date Climbed:   06/19/2010
 Posted By:  B[3]

 Bluebird Day   

I know there have been several of these recently, but the weather was so beautiful I couldn't resist...

Castle Peak: North Face Couloir
Conundrum Peak: Standard from Castle
Total mileage: about 11 miles

We drove up to the Castle Creek Trailhead on Friday, uncertain how far we could get on the road. We found a campsite just below the creek crossing and went to check out the crossing (sorry, I didn't get a photo). I was not willing to attempt the crossing in our Forester and thought the water level was pretty high at the end of the day.

I was expecting a snow climb and wanted to be down before the snow softened, so we got an early start on Saturday (leaving our campsite at 4:30am). The road was fairly snow-free, and we saw two jeeps parked a little below the intersection with Pearl Pass.

Some views from the road:



Upper Montezuma Basin was beautiful.



Given the snow conditions, we decided to deviate from the standard route. Our route is shown in red. Although the picture makes it look steeper than it is, we were happy to have ice axes and crampons.


The snow was pretty solid and made for a nice climb.

We made the summit around 9:30am.


The weather was beautiful, and the views were breathtaking.


The ridge between Castle and Conundrum was fairly snow-free, which was disappointing as the snow was more solid than the loose scree.



Summit of Conundrum


The glissade down from the saddle was alot of fun and made for a quick descent.

View of Conundrum Couloir taken on the way down:


Overall, it was a great day and probably the clearest skies I have experienced on a 14er.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Castle and Conundrum     2010-06-21 13:29:00
Congrats on your summit(s) on a perfect day. Is the glissade down from the saddle pretty mild? Last year I opted out of Conundrum because the glissade looked pretty hairy from my vantage below. I would like to bag Conundrum however without having to climb Castle again.


Glissade     2010-06-22 16:09:03
I thought the glissade was pretty mild, although I was glad to have my ice axe. The snow was a bit hard, making for a bumpy ride, but it sure made for a fun, fast descent.


Question on route     2010-06-22 22:18:52
You said that given the snow conditions you decided to deviate from the standard route. By that do you mean that because there was still enough snow you wanted to do the snow climb as a more direct route? I am thinking of doing the standard Northeast Ridge route this weekend. Do you think spikes would be useful given the conditions you observed? Did you experience any post-holing on the way out?


Campsites     2010-06-22 22:35:23
Were there quite a few campsites available? Surprised there is still so much snow?



re: Question     2010-06-25 11:56:32
Yes, we thought the snow climb would be a fun alternative to the standard Northeast Ridge. I don‘t think you would need spikes if you were to do the standard route. No, we didn‘t post-hole on the way out (we were pleasantly surprised--we didn‘t take snowshoes and wouldn‘t have needed them, as the snow stayed firm). Have fun!


re: Campsites     2010-06-25 11:58:44
Yes, there were alot of campsites available (only one was taken when we arrived on Friday afternoon). Given the number of cars we saw on the road, we were surprised so many campsites were still open on our drive out early Sunday morning.

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