- Date Hiked: June 25, 2005
- Miles Hiked: 5.7
- Elevation Gain: 3,555'
- Hiking Partner(s): Aaron Reid
- We climbed the Conundrum Couloir of Conundrum Peak and then traversed
over to Castle Peak via the northwest ridge before descending back to
our starting point on Castle's northeast ridge. This was a short
but fun hike that offered a snow climb, ridge scramble, and good views
of the Elk Range.
- We left Denver at 9:30 pm Friday night and arrived at our starting
point at 2:00 am just in time for some of the most miserable sleep
possible. We made it to the second creek crossing on the 4WD
road and parked just shy of 11,000'. As previously mentioned, we
slept intermittently from 2:20 am to 4:40 am, but decided to just start
hiking after someone in a headlamp hiked by and another vehicle
arrived. Although snow existed for many portions of the hike in,
it was still a reasonably easy approach because it is on a road for much
of the time.
- We rounded the corner at Montezuma Mine and got our first real views
of Conundrum and Castle. At 12,800', near the end of the road, the
snow became continuous in the basin. We continued southwest into
the cirque surrounded by Conundrum and Castle. At the base
of Conundrum Couloir, we assessed snow conditions and then prepared for
the climb. Although it was already 7:15 am, the snow remained
solid and we proceeded up the couloir. It was a good climb, with
my only complaint being its brevity. Before I knew it, we were
skirting the cornice on top of the couloir and standing on Conundrum's
summit after 45 minutes of climbing. The couloir is relatively steep with Roach measuring it at
47 degrees in some parts.
- The traverse to Castle took 45 minutes. The ridge was snow free
and went relatively quickly. The weather was cooperating, and
we took a 20 minute break in the notch on the northeast ridge of Castle
which is also the top of Castle's North Couloir. We decided to
descend the northeast ridge rather than backtrack out the standard
route. We caught a couple of nice manageable glissades, and then
finished the hike back down to the creek. The round trip took us 6
hours and 20 minutes.
||Starting Point - Conundrum Peak (Via Con. Couloir)
||Conundrum Peak - Saddle 13820
||Saddle 13820 - Castle Peak (Via NW Ridge)
||Castle Peak - Starting Point (Via NE Ridge)
||Cumulative Elevation Gain/Grade/Miles
here to view a 2D
map of the area where this hike is located.