biked up Pearl Pass Rd. then hiked along Brush Creek, overgrow trail and kept loosing it. Also added, "Oyster" and 13550. The downhill on mountain bike from the TH was great! and fast. Logged 23 miles.
Traversed solo over from Castle, started at the 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. The west ridge of Castle is loose and tedious, but kept no harder than class 3 with good route finding.
Hiked up Castleabra by going up and over Castle Peak.
Long 4WD road, would recommend a different route than from the southeast.
Whoa! That ridge over from Castle Peak was extremely loose and puncuated with more cliffs than I thought it would be. Took some doing for route finding.
Saw a bear! About 200' below the Castle-Conundrum saddle on the west side. I have no idea what it was doing up so high.
That makes 2 bear sightings inside a week now. Hope the guys get some food. :o(
Ditto what Sarah said. That was one of my most challenging backpacks ever! The stream crossings were the crux of the trip. All bets are off in the Elks after a heavy winter. Even in early summer, there was still tons of snow in the Conundrum Creek basin. As for the couloir, it's a nice one, but a lot of work to get to. Steepness was low to mid 40's until near the top where there was a short stretch of 50 degrees on hard snow. Test your routefinding skills with a traverse to 13550, but be ready for rotten rock and exposed terrain. It's a similar traverse to the Bells sans cairns.
The backpack to Conundrum Hot Springs was very difficult as EVERY one of the bridges at the MANY creek crossings was out. The creek was raging and crossings varied from finding snow bridges to traversing slippery, shaky logs, to hip deep wading in swift currents with the assistance of a hand line, to building our own bridges. Climbed the Cunning Couloir on Castlebra (see Roach) and then did the time consuming, very tricky, rotten traverse to UN 13,550. Soaked in the springs afterwards. An awesome but grueling trip.
Hiked the West Ridge from camp at Conundrum Hot Springs with my friend Keith. We continued on to Castle Peak. The hot springs are awesome!
Skied from the summit!
Four hours to reach the summit. The scree field is indeed unpleasant.