Saturday we drove to the turn off to Pearl Pass and found a parking spot. The hike started out easy enough going up a 4-wheel drive road that ended at 12,800 feet. At this point were only 1,500 feet from the summit even though we couldn’t see it yet. We carefully crossed over some snowfields since it was early in the morning and the snow was still hard and a little icy. Up and over a steep slope we could see the summit and the huge snowfield between Castle and Conundrum.
We headed up the trail that didn’t involve the huge snowfield this was the steepest part of the day. Once at the ridge we had to do some scrambling and there was a little exposure in some places. At the beginning of the ridge we stayed on the north side (hiker’s right) for a while and then hiked the last 200’ right on the ridge to the summit. On the way down we were going to glissade down the huge snowfield.
At the saddle we had to go down climb 50 feet of scree to get to the snowfield and it wasn’t very easy. I had to make some funky moves and finally made it to the snowfield. The snow at this time was soft and not icy. It was awesome! After the huge snowfield there was a series of smaller snowfields that we glissaded down. We almost glissaded down to the upper parking lot at 12,800’.
This is a hike that had it all. We had to hike over icy snow. We also had to do a little scrambling and there was some exposure. Then to top it off we glissaded down 500 feet or so.
Cold, windy day. Beautiful views of other Elk mountains. Continued over to Conundrum.
Beautiful views from the summit....beautiful views from the trailhead. This was my first peak in the Elk Range, and those mountains are GREAT!!!
Nice easy one - climbed in early am and drove home 4 hours - was home by 1 pm or so - still had Saturday left.
Started from the Montezuma Mine area, and hiked talus to the NE ridge trail. After some loose rock at the start, the trail becomes nice with some Class 2+ rock scrambling on ridge.
Weather was great on summit, and met three others on top, with another couple on the way.
I had to wait till September for the Montezuma Road to melt out as I wanted to car camp at the mine. This was my 2nd snow climb. Sure would have been easer if I'd had an ice ax. What an amazing view from the saddle between Castle and Cunundrum. All the rest of the Elk Mountain 14ers just line up for inspection. This was my second glissade on a 14'er
Enjoy the road-hike for a few miles, and then climb up the scree slope to the Eastern ridge where the views are spectacular. Hopefully there will be enough snow for a nice glissade back down.