| 8 Peaks 6 Days: Part 2
This report is the second half of the trip that involves the portion of the Elk range 14ers. To read the start of this trip with the San Juan half please click here
This report is the Elks half continuing on the 6 day journey to grab 8 14ers.
Dates:6/9 to 6/17
8 14ers: Sneffels, El Diente, Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak, Conundrum, Castle, Pyramid, Snowmass
Total Mileage: 63 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 46K feet
GreatTraverses: Diente to Wilson 4th of 4.
# of peaks solo: 1
# of fish caught: 10
# of lake jumps: 1
(h2)Day 4: Conundrum Peak (14,060’) and Castle Peak (14,265’)(/h2)
Route: Castle Creek Trailhead 4wd to 11,000’ (a ways below the Pearl Pass turnoff) and hike to ascend Conundrum Couloir and traverse across the ridge/saddle to Castle and down the Northwest Ridge route on Castle back to Castle Creek.
Mileage: ~9 Miles
Elevation Gain: ~3,500’
Partners: (url:http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=6103)KansasHiker Note: Any pictures with the date in the bottom right corner are courtesy of KansasHiker.
Start:5 AM Finish 1 PM
If you have read any of my older trip reports, you would know that my vehicle of choice for 14er travel as well as get to work on a daily basis has been my 1970 red VW Bus, Pabst. I recently picked up a Toyota Tacoma with a topper since I have that little one on the way. I still have the bus but it is for sale so I didn’t want to haul it around the state on this trip. Anyhow, my new little toy is what allowed me to shave a few miles throughout the week for accessing places I haven’t been able to before.
I awoke at 3:45 am in the back of the truck to a surprisingly cold night. Usually, I just use a tiny blanket but I found myself shivering most of the night in my 30 deg bag with the blanket over that. I guess I should have used the 0 deg down but didn’t feel like getting out. Maybe tomorrow night if I feel like it I will get it out to use. I started the morning with some hydrogen peroxide on my monstrous blisters and doing my daily prep and dressing before getting dressed and getting my approach shoes on. After making my coffee and loading back up the truck, we were driving up Castle Creek road by 04:30AM in the dark. A few years ago around the same time in June, I found myself hiking from the very bottom here, the first river crossing was so deep, it was impassable to vehicles and the second river crossing before pearl pass, the bridge was completely washed out. Since I already hiked this from the bottom once, and I was only back to get Conundrum since the Avy conditions made me uncomfortable to continue on from Castle that time, I did not feel guilty driving a ways. I wanted to play with my truck anyhow and enjoy the fact that I made a smart decision last time to not take the risk and live to climb another day. That said, I was still determined to not cheat. By 4:55 we found a nice spot at a sharp turn at about 11,050 not too far below the pearl pass turnoff. By 05:00 AM, we were on our way with plans to climb Conundrum Couloir first, ridge run to Castle and take the standard route down Castle.
In what seemed like no time at all, we were approaching 12,800’ where the road traditionally ends and even the elite 4X4 cheaters have to start using their own legs. The red line is our approximate path up and the green is down.
The remainder of my trip report can be found in grave detail located on my blog HERE
See you at the top!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):