Solo summit, only person up there is ten days according to the log. Still a bit snowy, but you could get around it.
Started from Fourth of July Creek Trailhead, crossed over the shortcut by Washington Lake and into Chamberlain Basin. Summited the next morning in about two hours from the lower lake in the basin. Such a beautiful summit view! Hiked out the long way instead of taking the Washington Lake shortcut, definitely a longer trip out.
I had been wanting to climb this for 10 years so I was very happy to get the summit. Splattski and Tim joined me for a day hike via Chamberlain basin. We drove up toward Washington basin- road is in good shape. Lots of hunters out. Super warm for October and no snow on the south side. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion as to where the actual highpoint is on Castle. I think Dennis Poulin's trip report on peak bagger and Victor Zhou's (castlereigh) on summitpost are the most useful if you want to get to the actual highpoint. As everyone has stated, lots of loose rock. The last 200 feet to the summit involve some pretty fun scrambling with a bit of exposure. Saw a few mountain goats.
Moderately risky solo climb. Tedious talus to fun class III/VI scramble to the summit. Watch out for loose blocks!
Hiked in from Three Cabins Creek TH. It's a long day of hiking if you're coming from that way so start early. Made it up to the benchmark following the right of the snow patch on the way up. Almost got stuck a couple times coming down but found routes on the far right of the descent near the top. I was alone and surprisingly encountered very little loose rock. I think I was lucky. As was posted a couple days ago, this is a no-nonsense mountain.
About 150 vert below the summit in the main gulley my brother traversed a little outside to the right where the rock "looked" more solid and was free of the pesky scree and small talus that threatened those below. He pulled off a chest size boulder that smashed his leg, breaking his fibula in what we found later to be 3 places. This in turn set off a few more refrigerator sized blocks. DO NOT follow each other or another party on this route. He was pretty shaken and bled continuously for the next day at first fairly rapidly and then a slow ooze after wrapping, but constantly soaking through bandages. No cell service here. We slowely got him to scramble, three man assisted walk, piggyback, fireman carry, and hop with trekking poles back around Castle lake to some guys (Jeff) that helped get us up the pass and then back to camp in Chamberlain where 16.5 hours later we crashed for 5 hours of much needed sleep. Then with another couples help (Cassidy and Mike) we made rapid though tiring progress up to the Germainia divide, where we met an orthopeadic surgion and her awesome mountain bike that my brother was able to slowly ride down on to the intersection with the Washington Creek route where we thankfully immediately ran into some dirt bikers that got him rapidly up the last mile of uphill to our car at Washington Creek TH. Thank god for so much mixed use in this jumbled pseudo wilderness. Eventually got him to a hospital where they cut him open to relieve pressure and place some screws before resetting his bones in 2 weeks once the swelling goes down. Long story short. This peak really is dangerous. The scrambling is not difficult or very exposed but the main gully does have alot of easily displaced smaller rocks that will inevitably dislodge. Obviously dont travel on top of each other and take turns through narrow sections. While the page says the right side up near the last snow patch (this time of year) to be more solid and free of scree (which it is) it has several other areas of tottering boulders that have not been gutted by the more frequent falls through the main gulley.I would stay in the main gully or on the left despite the small talus/scree that is a pain to tediously navigate there. The underlying rock is much more solid. IT is a beautiful area with fantastic views of the rest of the White Clouds above the fierce looking serrated ridge. No newbs here. You need solid scramble technique and eyes to not knock anything down. Even some very large stuff is ready to blow on this peak. Learn from us. You dont want to have to carry your brother 10 miles out of here. He is pretty heavy.
That is one hell of a story. I agree that the peak is sketchy and the right of the snow patch is nothing short of some dangerous class IV moves. As it happened I summitted the peak the day after you guys and I'm kinda surprised I didn't see you guys on the way in. I did see evidence of the rock falling down as it smashed into other solid rock. I can also vouch for the kindness of the other outdoors folks. I needed the Ketchum FD and a couple from Boise to help me off Kent Peak about a month ago after injuring my knee.
Glad everyone made it out alive and best wishes to your brother.
Excellent view of White Cloud range lakes. Also can see many of the tallest ranges in Idaho surrounding it
I was checking out the maps and wondering about climbing over the ridge from Washington Lake. I discovered this was informally know as the 'splattski cutoff.' After biking to Washington Lake I gladly took the shortcut over the low point in the saddle. If you're coming to climb Castle, the shortcut over the ridge should be no big deal. It may not be your style, but I just want to mention my experience going that route for those considering it.
On the way up the gully I preferred the stable sides to the loose middle.
Nasty mountain, built out of talus...have to be careful and slow in a group. Tons of fun and incredible 360˚ view from the top. Hiked in from 4th of July Trailhead the day before, about 8 miles and 1,500ft total elevation gain to Lake 9147. From the lake 4 hrs up and 2 down going quite slow. The true summit is neither of the two to the east as it appears on the topo map (nor as indicated on Google Earth for that matter), but rather the less distinct summit furthest to the west... that being said I haven't the foggiest if we followed the "correct" gully up the mountain. We took the one furthest to the east that runs all the way to the top, and ended up doing a rather exposed ridge traverse to the true summit. Chamberlain Basin is truly as beautiful as everyone says, spend as much time exploring as possible, it is worth seeing.
Did the Chamberlain Basin approach. I have been training for a ridge traverse so I thought I would time myself to the summit. Made it to the summit in 1hr 12min (carrying only a small water bottle & windbreaker). Lots of loose and unstable rock. Mostly third class until near the top where it gets a little more adventurous. Incredible views!
Awesome climb of this White Cloud giant! Hiked in to Washington Lake the night before. Got a half-inch of snow during the night that made for some slick conditions crossing the ridge to Chamberlain Basin. Able to snow climb almost 2000’ up the south gully in just enough shade to keep the snow firm. Summit views were exceptional, then a fun 1500’ glissade followed by some great scenery during the hike out. Classic! Here's a trip report with photos.
One day in and out. Great trip/views.
Fun boulder-hopping at the top. Watch out when someone suggests a shortcut from 4th of July lake...when their name is splattski.
Loop trip through Boulder Chain Lakes from 4th of July and back over into Ant's Basin over three days. Did Castle Peak on morning of second day. Ran out of the White Clouds by a raging blizzard on the third day - very difficult climbing out of Four Lakes Basin in 6" of snow on the last day.
An absolutely amazing climb. Worth the backpack trip, and some! Mostly class 3/4 in the final ascent with some class 5 moves. Very dangerous in some areas, so be careful! Enjoyed every moment, although the "MASSIVE" rock slide was a little frightening...thanks a lot Raker :-)
Awesome scramble up from Castle Lake. Solid fun class 3/4 rock to climb on the way up which gave me no problems. Triggered a massive rock slide on the descent. Luckily we were alone on the route and there was nobody below. Steepness is the major danger factor here, but the route is "safe" if you are careful. WOW is the only way to describe the view. You can see everything! Note: Big Gully beta thread
What a wonderful trip from San Francisco to Sawtooths and White Clouds in August 1974 and again in 1976. My ex wife Evelyn and I backpacked both Sawtooths and White Clouds and hiked/scrambled several summits along the way. We loved the Clouds.
Eight of us made it to the top. Hiked in from Fourth of July TH and camped on the ridge coming into Chamberlain Basin the night before. Made it to the top in good time for such a big group (I'd advise not going with such a big group due to the looseness of the rocks in the gullies) and then hiked back to the TH that day. It was nice to finally climb the one peak that dominates the sky in the SNRA.