"Castleabra" is officially Colorado's 105th highest peak and is often climbed in unison with Castle Peak. "Castleabra" as its unofficially known (UN13,803) lies deep within the sheltering crags and peaks of the Elk Mountain Range. It is not visible from any road and one must hike substantially to even gleem it. Just missing the centennial mark of a few feet (Dallas Peak is the lowest), it ranks as one of the highest bi-centennials alongside Niagra Peak, Trinity and Arrow Peak.
"Castleabra" doesn't see too many people throughout the year. The Fourteeners just east (Castle- 0.8 miles) and northeast (Conundrum- 0.9 miles) tend to herd people to their summits. Which, in a way is great. Because solitude is pretty much guaranteed on this summit.
Though it may be considered 'easy' to climb or scramble, keep in mind, easy is a relative term especially for the Elk Mountain Range. The rock is still loose, rotten and untrustworthy. Third class scrambling routes in the Elks are far different from most similar routes in the Sawatch or Sangre de Cristo's. The views from the summit are wholly unique as the vantage offers alternative views of Castle Peak and Conundrum and the Ragged Range to the south. Views in other words, that aren't seen too often.
The peak lies inside the confines of the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area. Because of this, most development and commercialization, motorized travel and pets are prohibited. Fact, there is even a fledgling movement in Aspen to have this peak renamed in honour of a lifelong 'Aspenite' who died of altitude sickness while climbing in Nepal. Because of the 'Wilderness' status, this probably won't ever happen.
Parent Mountain: Castle Peak
Distance from neighbour: 0.8 mile
Quadrangle: Maroon Bells
There are several approaches and varying directions in reaching "Castleabra". However, on this page, I'll only go into details about three of the approaches/getting there: Montezuma Basin from the east, Conundrum Creek from the north which also access Conundrum Hot Springs and Cumberland Basin from the south. Each approach has its' advantages and disadvantages and each is very different from the other. Sometimes in getting to the mountain of choice, the approach alone is worthy of a trip! And anything in the Elks is hard to argue against.
From the town of Aspen, drive west on Co. 82 to the roundabout marking Ashcroft and Castle Creek Road. Follow Castle Creek Road (paved) south to the ghost town of Ashcroft. This is about 11-12 miles. Drive past Ashcroft and after ~2 miles, turn west onto a dirt road, Forest Road #102 (This is also marked as Pearl Pass Road I believe). There are camping sites and pull-outs for passanger cars along the first half mile. After this, the road will get noticeably rougher and steeper.
Four wheel drive vehicles can continue further. After 2.6 miles, an unmarked junction comes into play around 11,130ft. Last timne I checked, there was a decripit, wooden sign marking this junction with "Pearl Pass" and "Montezuma Mine" scripted on the sign. Chances are good the sign is no longer there. There is additional albeit limited parking at this junction. Stay right, cross the bridge over the falls and turn onto Montezuma Mine Road and follow this rough Jeep road to its terminus to a flat but equally rough area just past the mine at 12,840ft! This is the trailhead (upper).
The left hand road at this junction leads up and over the infamously rough Pearl Pass (FR #129).
In winter, Castle Creek Road is plowed and open to Ashcroft.
In winter, this approach is rife with avalanche paths and the Montezuma Mine area can be a 'terrain trap'. Be advised.
Again from the town of Aspen, head northeast onto CO. 82 to the large roundabout and proceed south onto Castle Creek Road (Cty Rd 15). Drive south for about 5 miles then turn right onto a paved road. Descend and cross over Castle Creek then take the first left after .3 miles (FR 128) at a 'T' junction. Drive southwest along this road for about 6 miles.
There is a ton of private property in the area. So be advised.
In winter, this road is open to within .5 mile of the actual trailhead. On occasion, the plows will continue all the way to the trailhead but don't expect it. This trailhead is at 8,800ft.
Even in summer, this is a LONG approach hike. In winter, the canyon is rife with avalanche paths. Be advised.
Cumberland Basin even when done as a simple day hike is extremly beautiful. Come summer, the wildflowers are everywhere.
Under Construction. Thank You!!
Miscellaneous...Trip Report coming from Cumberland Basin (Tim Briese)
Lists of John -great statistical beta!
Trip Report by SarahT -Primo beta!
USFS- White River National Forest, Gunnison National Forest
Trails Illustrated- #128 (Maroon Bells, Redstone, Marble)
Quadrangle- Maroon Bells
Aspen Ranger District: 970.925.3445