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Objective: ascend and ski Conundrum Couloir
Crew: pioletski, Bonedale Dolly, Gary, Catherine, Mike
Hike: 2200' vert in about 1 mile! Ski: 2200'
After last week's romp on Castle and Conundrum with benners, ossie322 and Nate (thanks again, gents), I found I just had to share it with some of my skiing buddies in Aspen. I hadn't seen nearly enough of these guys (and gals) last winter, so I was really pleased at their enthusiastic responses to my invitation. We set out to do either Castle or Conundrum but not both, and left the choice until we could actually look at the snow. The 5 of us loaded up at about 6:00 am and drove up the Castle Creek Road. We got one vehicle to 11,800 feet - the snowdrift that stopped us at 10,800' the previous weekend had disappeared almost completely. Here's the crew at our impromptu trailhead (l to r: Gary, Catherine, Bonedale Dolly, Mike, Pioletski. Not pictured: Slinky)
At the trailhead. (All photos: pioletski)
It was another beautiful day in the Elk Range, if a little less settled than the previous week:
Pioletski and Slinky
From Montezuma Basin we decided to head for Conundrum Couloir. As we ascended, we watched SkiNowWorkLater and crew making short work of the north face of Castle. They are actually visible on the summit in this photo... but you're going to have to take my word for it, as the combination of pixel resolution and light conditions don't allow me to magnify the picture enough to show them!
There are actually 5 climbers in this picture. None of them, of course, can be seen...
SNWL commented about our bold canine companion in his TR. Here's Slinky enjoying the climb:
Slinky pauses en route
Although we had no intention of being hard-core, there were no slouches in this group. Here are the girls topping out:
Dolly and Catherine summit
Conundrum was less socked in than Castle, for the moment anyway, which allowed us a fine view of the Bells, Snowmass, Capitol and Pyramid:
View from the top
Old friends lounging at the summit:
We eventually got motivated to ski. Here are Gary and Catherine rippin' it up...
And Mike's grin pretty much sums up the whole day:
Afterwards, chez Mike and Catherine, we refueled on brats and beer and basked in the joy of skiing these mountains in the company of great friends. Thanks, Catherine, Deb, Mike and Gary for a beauty of a day.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):