Two 14ers: Castle Peak & Conundrum - Another Descent Record off Castle?
Made it from Castle Peak Summit to the Castle Creek Crossing at 10,000 feet in 43:08.
Did the pairing of Castle Peak (Highest Mountain in the Elk Range) & Conundrum Peak. Still a bit sore from the last 5 days & not feeling great, so tried not to over-do it. First mountain in the Elks though! Did the traverse and re-traverse and still felt a bit low blood sugar so started down measured through the first mile of more technical stuff. Went tempo (certainly not hard or race effort) for the descent, and kept it below LT until opening things up the last mile or so. I figured I might be able to do the descent under an hour, but after getting out of the tech section, realized it might be doable in under 45 minutes, and it was!
Didn't have the same bonk near the end as the last couple peaks, but probably because I wasn't going as hard down.
Saw a GIANT bull moose about a mile up, along with a few females as well. Luckily they were content to run off the road and hide from me. Fun day talking to lots of people on the way up and on summit. Watch was super wonky on HR and Cadence the first bit on the way down and again the last mile.
Started a half mile up the road. Snow left on the headwall. Climbed Conundrum too and re-climbed Castle rather than glissade the melting chute from the saddle. 6.5 hours RT.
Fun hike with Ben, Sandra, Kelly, and Mike
Started from about 1 mile up Castle Creek Road from the lower TH at about 6:30 am. Made it to the top of the road around 8:30 am. The fall colors were gorgeous today. We decided to break in our new crampons and attacked the headwall. It was definitely the easiest way up into the basin. We then ascended the NE ridge and then down to Conundrum and back up Castle and around. Blue skies, no storms, fall colors. How can you beat that? Down to the car by 3:00.
One of the best summit views I have seen. I've been around..
If you have a 4*4, do not park at 11.4k. Road actually gets better after this. Plenty spots to park up above, even to 12.8k if snow is off road. You can create several fun, simple class 3 sections on ridge if you want. Fun little climb. We took Northeast ridge. Go straight up snow headwall to saddle if you want. I would have if not for partner..
We had fun on this mountain and summit.
Not enough steam to make it to Conundrum
It definitely helps to cross the creek and park where you can anywhere after that. Some great views of the other 14ers in the area.
Solo from Castle Creek road near the last designated campsite. Avy debris is cleared from the road now and the road is an easy walk. Still some snow in Montezuma Basin. Traversed up and over to Castelabra, the west ridge of Castle is loose and tedious, but kept no harder than class 3 with good route finding. Also tagged Conundrum, then back over Castle as the glissade slope has a nasty loose scree field above it that lots of people were kicking rocks down.
Standard route with family and dogs
Gorgeous day with a fun glissade! Mike Priddy joined me.
Had to turn around short of the summit due to weather, but this is a really beautiful hike. Will go back and bag this and Conundrum. The 4wd road is definitely good enough to make it above the treeline, but maybe a little questionable depending on your level of clearance/shape of your tires after that.
Pushed my bike to the top of the miners road for a fun way to get back to the car. Nice not too steep way to the top. On this date the glissade was in stellar condition!
8/29/17 - some hard snow in the basin before accessing the NE Ridge. I had read on 14ers.com this is a class 2 route. This was my 21st peak over 14,000 in Colorado and I must say I was definitely scrambling (on all fours) on some unstable rock on ledges that if I fell would have resulted in serious injury or death. I put it at class 3. Also, the route is difficult to find. First, in the boulder field at the end of the basin - cains go off in every direction and then end. Tough to follow in the dark with a head torch. Once on the ridge just below the summit trail fragments go in many directions. So for an intermediate climber this one was a learning experience and somewhat scary.
09/11/16: Got Castle, tagged Conundrum and back over Castle.
# 1 and #2 9-10-2016. NW wind 15-20 mph kept things cool - call it refreshing. Enjoyed the ridge scramble up and down. Added Conundrum and returned over Castle because the "shortcut" was dry and sketchy. With Lana. From the 4WD point just below the Pearl Pass road junction.
Jeff & I had the summit to ourselves, barely beat afternoon storms down the mountain.
Today I climbed 14,265 ft. Castle Peak and 14,060 ft. Conundrum Peak in Colorado's Elk Range. After work on Saturday I drove up Independence Pass towards Aspen. I camped after driving up a rough 4WD road which included a river crossing. I started from camp at 11,000 ft. at 5AM and made fast progress on Northeast Ridge route. I made the summit of Castle at 8:30 AM and proceeded down to the col between Castle Peak and my next target, Conundrum Peak. I made the summit of Conundrum at approx. 9:15AM and then had to re-summit Castle Peak. I made it back to camp at 11:45AM. Epic day and 31 Colorado 14ers done!
Got some incredible photos at sunrise, which made the tedious hike worth the effort. I parked at the Pearl Pass junction, but the walk down the road felt very long.
Forecast was for 0% precip. Summited around 11:30 in sunshine and scattered cumulus clouds. No lie, at 12:25pm it sleeted briefly before turning to rain. 45 minutes later we had clear skies, then 30 minutes later full rain. Don't mess with Colorado weather in July. Opted not to traverse to Conundrum out of fear of lightning. Live to climb another day.