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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  08/18/2013
 Date Climbed:   08/17/2013
 Posted By:  zephyr_pelicante

 Castle is still an Elk   


Castle Peak 14,265'



Conundrum Peak 14,060'


From ~10,000'

Castle and Conundrum are the easiest Elks, and I paradoxically climbed them as my second to last (snowmass remaining).

Luckily, we got off route, and it turned into a standard elk climb with tough climbing over loose rocks - which was actually a really fun detour from the standard trail.

What "route"?

From the very top of the road, there will be a ridge to your left, take that. Make a point to stay on the ridge and you'll see what I mean about this being a real elk indeed.

Doing this will be very reminiscent of capitol or pyramid, and has some cool rock formations that you can climb.

One group member, Nick, had only climbed a handful of 14ers (easy ones) so we considered seeking a less difficult route, but he was cool with the climbing and got a good taste of what an elk 14er is all about.

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Walking up the road

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Waterfall

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Cool peaks to the East

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Continuing up the road

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More views to the East

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Continuing up the road

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Castle / Conundrum

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From Castle summit looking East

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From Castle summit looking North

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From Castle summit looking West

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From Castle summit looking South

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From Conundrum summit looking East

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From Conundrum summit looking North

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From Conundrum summit looking West


The entire time the cirque was echoing the sounds of massive rockfalls. Thanks to the zero snow, the descent from the saddle was a loose dirt / scree / accident-waiting-to-happen slope ski/tumble. Not as bad as the one on Pyramid above the amphitheater, but not a place I want to really camp out and have a conversation at.

We weren't too worried about ourselves slipping and sliding down the nasty slope as much as a fatal dosage of heavy rocks landing on our non-helmeted heads.

Some folks went back up Castle to descend, which would have been less miserable would require another push up to 14,265'.



Castle had great views - some of the best in the range.


THank



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
emiller6


Nice     2013-08-18 10:06:07
Pictures. With that wide angle lens you were really able to capture just how impressive that Castle-Conundrum basin really is. Thanks for posting.


Roald


Verdict     2013-08-18 16:04:54
If you had to do Conundrum again would you descend the saddle again or go back over Castle on the return?


zephyr_pelicante


.     2013-08-18 16:13:44
I would descend the saddle again. It was well worth the saved time and distance.


painless4u2


There's been a lot of discussion     2013-08-18 21:54:25
on the forum about downclimbing that saddle, and most seem to agree it's not worth it. We descended by going back over Castle, while another party went down the saddle. We ended up getting down about the same time, with what seemed less effort.
By the way, we also ascended that same ridge by getting off route. Very sporting, indeed!


claybonnyman


Saddle descent     2014-08-10 12:15:00
I have to agree with those say descending from the saddle is well worth it.



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