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 Peak(s):  "Castleabra"  -  13,803 feet
PT 13,550  -  13,550 feet
Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  06/10/2012 Modified: 02/13/2014
 Date Climbed:   06/05/2012
 Posted By:  Summit Lounger

 Cumberland Basin Approach   

Disclaimer: I did not climb Castle Peak. I included it so that if someone wanted to approach the peak from the south, they would find some beta that would appear in a "Castle Peak" search.

We camped at around 9400 feet at a great pullout for our camper on Brush Cr., and a great place for my wife to hang out while I went for a little hike. Left camp at 7am. Rode my bike the 7 miles up to the trailhead, crossing Brush Cr. 3 times. The creek crossings were about mid calf high, (well above the bottom bracket), and cold in the am. A stock full size 4 wheel drive pickup made it to the trailhead.

Gear: Trailrunners, daypack

Planning: Looked at a map, went hiking, see what I would find

Teocalli Mtn. from Brush Cr. road
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Teocalli


View of Pt. 13550, Castleabra, and Castle peak (summit is just barely visible) from the wilderness permit station.
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Trailhead view


Yes the trail is a little obscure in sections. Some might call it bushwacking. This is pretty typical of the trail in the willows, overgrown, but easy to follow. If the willows are as tall as you are, you have lost the "trail." If some routefinding suites you instead of walking up the 4 wheel drive road to the NE ridge of Castle, this basin is for you. It will not dissappoint.
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Bushwack


View from the wilderness boundary sign 1/3 of a mile from the trailhead. The trail is here somewhere. The trail enters the low willows on the right side of the picture, then stays down low below the pine trees, well below the small cliff near the center of the picture, about 50 feet from the beaver pond. Don't make the mistake of heading into the trees up high above the small cliff. It was a lot faster to stay low on the way out. Plus, it is always good karma to start off on the trail instead of bushwacking in the trees and deadfall at the start of a hike.
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Start


View of Pt. 13,820 (left) and Castle Pk. (right)
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Castle


Pt. 13,550 and the traverse from Castleabra
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Closer view of traverse from Castleabra.
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Pt. 13,550....Got to come down somewhere.
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Close up of middle towers
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Middle towers


This was the only section of the traverse that kept me thinking. If I had to traverse the snow on top of the coullior or climb straight over the tower, it might be time to bail. The trailrunners would not cut it if I had to traverse below the tower on this side. I put the possible bail routes in the back of my mind, and would decide about the route once the tower was 25 feet in front of me.
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The last little bit to get up Castleabra. Talus lovers are feeling the heat here.
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Castleabra talus


View of the saddle between Castleabra and pt. 13,820.
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Castleabra pt.13,820 saddle


The approach up Cumberland Basin from Castleabra.
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Cumberland basin


Slide debris on the north side of Castleabra.
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N side debris


Cathedral Peak's West side.
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Cathedral pk


The traverse to pt. 13,550 from the summit of Castleabra. On to the fun stuff!
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View of the middle towers
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As you can see, what appeared to be the difficulties from the east side while approaching, are easily bypassed on the west side of the ridge. One can drop down as low as one would like, traversing on the talus, bypassing the steeper rock all together. Or you can stay as high as you like, bobbing up and down like a cork, or somewhere inbetween.......
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Which way?
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The crux of the traverse was actually getting through the bottom cliff bands of the summit pyramid for me. Maybe I should have gone left instead of right. The traverse was mostly class 2-3, with a few 4th class steps about 8 feet tall.
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Someone has been lounging here. How hard can the traverse be?
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Left, Right, or straight up the last tower before the summit of 13,550?
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A look back at the traverse. It took me about 1:10 to do the traverse from Castleabra to 13,550.
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Teocalli and Twin Lakes.
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Castle peak and the Castles?
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The large tower on the south side of 13,550. Mmmmm not an easy way around this one. I decided to descend the east face back down into the basin.
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Mechanized device
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Matt


Feel the heat, talus lovers     2012-06-10 17:23:19
Thanks for debuting this basin and approach to Castleabra here on 14ers.com with some great pictures and beta o'plenty.
I hope you got some lounging in.


SuperPolok


Interesting....     2012-06-12 10:43:54
Castleabra is on my short list but still debating on either Brush Creek or Conundrum Creek approach.... Thanks for the beta either way!



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