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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  07/22/2006
 Date Climbed:   07/22/2006
 Posted By:  ursidae

 Conundrum & Castle NW to NE ridge   

Drove up to the Pearl Pass Junction, looks like any standard 4wd should make it if careful, there were standard trucks and suv's parked all the way up to the mine.

Plenty of snow left in the basin so anyone looking to go up the NW route would benefit greatly from crampons and axe, and a helmet. The marmots are throwing rocks at ya...

Took me 3 hours to summit Conundrum and then Castle, snow going up to the ridge at 8am was slushy and not great for grip. When I reached the snow free final portion I found a steep mud hill and a lack of anything to hold on to, figure it's all been yanked loose and sent downhill. Used my axe and crampons to spider up to the ridge in a most undignified and muddy style.

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Once dignity had been restored (mud removed) I went up Conundrum, a pile of loose rocks. Walked the length of the summit since I could not quite figure out which end was higher. Pic below of final ascent, actually most of Conundrum looks like this.

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Then I focused my attention on the 2nd pile of loose rocks, Castle. Once up on the ridge it's a very straightforward ascent. Just loose, very loose...

From the summit of Castle I took the NE ridge route down, much more entertaining then the grunt (literally) work of going up to the NW ridge. There are some exposed parts and of course the ever present loose rock (if you try to hold on to some rocks for balance make sure to check it at least 4 times since if it does not come loose in your hand when you apply weight on it it's probably due to a marmot holding on to it...) but with some careful navigation it turned out to be just pure fun. There is a faint trail and some cairns.
Below a couple of pics of what you can expect to find on this ridge. The first 2 shows heading down and the last one a view of heading up.

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


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