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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  07/23/2006
 Date Climbed:   07/22/2006
 Posted By:  p_tolley

 Castle - Northeast Ridge   

This trip really breaks down into three sections: from the trailhead to the Pearl Pass Junction, from there to the end of the road past the Montezuma Mine, and the final climb.

We left our car parked at the trailhead parking where Castle Creek Rd. meets FR 102 at 4:15 am. We continued down FR 102 and reached the first creek crossing at 4:45 (I was pleasantly surprised by the footbridge on the south side of the road). From here we continued up FR 102 and reached the second creek crossing at 5:45. The trip report by mspalding on 7-15-06 has a great picture of this. After a quick rest we continued up the road.

The hike to the end of the road is moderately steep and rocky. At the end of the road there is a good spot to rest and to consider how to attack the snow field. This is a picture from the top.
Image

We decided to skirt the snowfields by crossing/climbing the talus on the southern edge of the approach. It was slow going, but fun as long as you watch out for loose rock. We intersected the trail that transverses the Northeast Ridge at the top of the snowfield. From here the trail climbs through loose rock to the ridge.
Image
This image was taken about two-thirds of the way to the top of the ridge and is representative of this portion of the trail. The hike along the ridge is well defined and easy to navigate (the next picture shows the ridge from the summit).
Image
There are a number of spots with great views of Conundrum Peak and also to the south.
Image
The last section of the trail has a little loose rock, but before you know it you are on top. We reached the summit at 8:47 am and after spending some time there started the descent.

We descended the same way as we went up, but glissading down the snowfields would have saved some time. We reached our car at the beginning of FR 102 at 12:47 making our total hiking time 8 hours and 30 minutes. One note, we saw a number of vehicles, including a subaru outback, parked at the Pearl Pass Junction.



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