Castle Peak strikes again!
We started from the 2WD trailhead at 6:30 and made decent time into the gulch. Routefinding was a challenge due to highly variable snow conditions. Near treeline the N-NE-E-SE-S aspects were sliding--not deep or to the ground but enough to get noticed. Up higher (>12500') the snow was stable on steep W-NW-N aspects. By the time we reached the lake at 13400' the wind was blowing and continued to intensify. Abundant cornices on the saddle between Castle and Conundrum ruled out a summit bid for Conundrum. We focused on gaining Castle's NE ridge. At 13550' we called it quits due to the ridiculous wind.
Despite this it was an incredible day to be in the Elks. The approach to Castle is spectacular with all the snow and a welcome change in scenery from the Sawatch.