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Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Post Date:  05/28/2013
Date Climbed:   05/25/2013
Posted By:  leggaj5

 Glitter Queen of the Castle   

Title: In honor of the return of Arrested Development and everyone's favorite analrapist:


I started from the last campsite below the first creek crossing at 2:30 AM. I reached the end of the road at 5:30 AM, but I found the navigation to be a bit difficult in the first basin past the last creek crossing. I lost the road shortly after that point and had bit of trouble navigating in the dark. I probably hurt myself by looking for the road instead of just heading south. If I had GPS, it would probably look like this:


I hiked for about 1/2 mile after the creek crossing and then skinned. There is a snow drift right after the crossing preventing any vehicular progress. Until it melts, there's really no reason to cross the creek though there was a newer 4-runner on the other side. Here are a few images of the terrain above treeline. There is definitely a lot of slide activity, but I didn't notice any other signs of instability (roller balls, etc.) in the morning or when I was skiing out around 10:30. It also seems to be melting quickly, reducing the volume of any future slides.





I climbed up the left side of the headwall at the end of the road and headed towards the North Couloir.


The climbing in the couloir was fun; not too steep and not very much debris. There were spots that were very solid from the overnight freeze, but at other points I was breaking through up past my ankles.



The final pitch was covered with snow, providing for a summit descent. There were also tracks on the East Face, and the two groups of skiers I met on the summit were very tempted to descend this route. I'm not sure where it ends up, but it gets sun before the North couloir and was softening up nicely.



A view of the North Couloir from the summit

I reached the summit at 7:30, but the North Couloir was not getting any direct sun. This was quite a contrast to the North Couloirs on Missouri which were getting hit at dawn. I waited on the summit with a couple skiers who came up behind me until around 10. There was another group coming up the North Couloir around that time. We thought they might be cutting it close timing wise, but they had no issues. After skiing down to the top of the Couloir, I waited for the climbers to pass and dropped in. The top was still too firm, but I found some good soft stuff by hugging the skier's left side of the Couloir. Skiing out through the basins was a lot of fun.

Here are some shots of Conundrum. The Conundrum Couloir is filled in, but it looks like there was a pretty big slide in there at some point. The cornice at the top still looks pretty massive:

Conundrum Couloir

Castle/Conundrum Saddle

Ridge to Conundrum

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Good to have met you up there!     05/28/2013 18:16
I was the split-boarder from Cap Hill that talked to you briefly just before you dropped the north gully and my friend and I headed to the summit.


Small world...     05/28/2013 18:33
I met a guy named Mark on Missouri Mt. the weekend before last, and he mentioned he was a regular partner of yours and gave me a sticker for 14ersnowboardproject.


E couloir     05/29/2013 17:35
I was the skier with taylorzs, and we spent some time looking for boot tracks and ski tracks coming out of the bottom of the east couloir. Didn't see any. We were wondering if maybe somebody skied down, got turned around, and had to climb back out. That side would have been pretty nice with the earlier softening.

Nice to meet you.

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