| Queens of the Castle - Culebra reunion!
Queens of the Castle
Castle Peak – 14,265ft.
Conundrum Peak – 14,060ft.
Queens - TriAnything, MtGirl, FlyGirl, Mel McKinney, Msianmama
Knight – FromNO2CO
Yup, here's yet another one! Another TR with lots of pictures!
Last year, I got the pleasure of meeting three great gals on my third ever 14er, Culebra!!! It was a great experience and introduction to 14ers for me. Over the past year we all have kept in touch and talked about hiking another 14er together. Finally the planets and stars aligned and our schedules synched up. We would meet in Aspen and hike Castle and Conundrum!
Friday afternoon Starla picked me up from work and we met up with Vicki in Hartsel. Mel and Len would meet in Vail and carpool to Aspen separately. We got into town a bit late so we decided to stay in a hotel in Snowmass. Since we were so close to Snowmass village, we decided to have dinner there and have a few drinks to unwind! Remember last week there was a thread on the forum where Vicki recounted her encounter with a mountain lion? Well on the way back to the room, she decided to demonstrate to us her new training on how to subdue a wild animal.
Word to the wise: Men, Don't mess with Vicki!
We finally got back to the room and got our gear organized. We were all so excited about the climb the next day it was hard to go to sleep. Vicki presented us all with an additional piece of gear we would need on the climb! Tiaras and bling bling!
Trying on our Bling bling
Everything a girl needs! Ice ax, helmet, and cute shoes!
We chatted and giggle a bit and finally settled in.
Wake up call was 4:00am! We had to get up get loaded and meet Nate at the Castle creek road. The girls climbed in Mel's Rodeo and followed Nate up the road. The road is pretty calm for the first section. Once you get to the creek crossing the game changes! The creek crossing has a huge rock you have to go over on the way up. Nate's jeep had no issues. Mel's rodeo did fine as well, just needed to watch her lines.
Mel on creek crossing on the way back
After the creek crossing the road becomes narlier. Once again the Jeep rode it like a champ, but Mel had enough 4-wheeling and parked the Rodeo below the waterfall on the road. Nate continued up and parked the jeep at his campsite. We finally geared up and began our trek up the road. A couple more SUV's were parked at switchbacks above treeline.
Making our way up the road
We finally made it to the upper trailhead and took a quick break for food and pics.
The gun show! lol
From the upper trailhead you need to go up a couple snowfields. The snow was soft enough that you could kick step in. There were also rocks on the side you could go over and avoid the snow all together if you wanted to but we chose to go up the snow.
Starla and Vicki on lower snowfield
Once you get up the snow fields the route goes up to the ridge to Castle.
Once you get up to the ridge its Class 2+ to the summit. There is one false summit!
Nathan taking a picture of the views
Vicki going up the summit!
We finally made it to the summit and enjoyed the views! Time for the bling!
Nate was very happy we did not bring him any bling!
Once we finished all our pics and grabbed something to eat we decided to meander over to Conundrum. Mel decided to take the ridge back and meet us by the lower saddle above the lake. The route over the saddle is pretty laid back, just a bunch of big loose rock to descend and then ascend up.
We summated Conundrum within 25 or so minutes.
Len still had her bling on!
There was filthy advertising on the summit registers. Someone should start a forum thread about this!
We headed back to the saddle where we would glissade down. The snow has melted a bit, so you have to go down some real loose gravel to where the snow starts. You can tell this is a popular place to glissade, the butt paths were well worn into the snow!
Vicki, Len, and Starla on way down
Not until I came back from the hike and logged back onto the forum did I hear about Vince's fall into the crevasse. I'm not exactly sure where it was at, but below is the route we took when we came down the saddle. We had a pretty good view of the lake and the bowl for most of the day and didn't see many people congregating on the snow. I wonder about what time this all happenend?
Blue is the hike to the snow.
Teal is the glissade, and Green is the traverse to the rocks.
Starla got a little snow burnt on the way down. Nate 'Knight in Shining Armor' Fixed her right up with his safety kit.
We headed back down to the road. Nate, myself and Mel decide we wanted another go at the glissading and slid down the snow.
We finally made it back to the road and headed back to our cars. It was a great day with great friends.. What more could a queen ask for?
Until next time!