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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
 Post Date:  08/09/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/08/2009
 Posted By:  Perea

 Glissade City!   

Castle and Conundrum was like a giant playground for adults with acres and acres to play on. It had class 2 scrambling or if you wanted to do class 3-4 then that was an option which we did. On the way down there are butt numbing glissades with built in tracks kind of like a bobsled on your rear end. On the summit there were cigar smoking celebrations and last night there was a horror show that I thought was a bear outside my tent making noise but turned out to be a Porcupine.

Friday 08/07/09
Brent and I met Jeffrey AKA "Slim Shady" at the Park and Ride. Slim was a name that was given to him by Brent because of the man's skinny frame. I added shady because of his love for rap music. Slim shady reminded us of that guy from the movie "Office Space" that is listening to his blaring hard core rap music when a tough looking gangster pulls up beside him at a red light and he turns the stereo down and rolls up the window and locks the door. Slim Shady just moved here from NY and is a naturally funny guy and made for a fun trip.

Saturday 08/08/09
After I was rudely awakened by the Porcupine I started to make noise so the other 2 guys would get out of their tents and we could get an early start. We were on the road/trail at 4:45 am passed the creek crossing and made it to the Pearl Pass Junction. Unfortunately we were talking and not paying attention and turned onto the Pearl pass trail/road instead of continuing straight where we should have been. By the time we realized it we had gained about 800 ft of elevation and walked over a mile on the wrong trail. It was discouraging but that is what we get for not paying attention. After backtracking we made it to the final parking lot where only a few high clearance 4x4 vehicles can make it and started the real climb from there. We followed a group that was going to the left of the standard route which avoids the snow.

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Here is our approximate route
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Sunrise
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Here is where it started to get fun.
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The glissade route looked really steep from here and Slim Shady did not have an ice axe so we were a little uncertain if we would attempt it. It we did not glissade this section it would mean we would have to climb back over to Castle again after descending Conundrum a task that did not sound appealing since my legs were already feeling it. Fast forward about 3 hours it was not bad at all.
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The lake looked really deep and cold not one you would want to glissade into it.
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Looking over at the Maroon Bells, Pyramid, Snowmass and Capital.
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Slim Shady had some cigars that he says was a ritual in NY and offered Brent and I one to celebrate at 14,000 ft. We did our best impersenation of the Sorpranos. Although we did not smoke them on Castle because it was too cold and windy we were able to get them lit on Conundrum where the weather did cooperate.
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Looking over at the traverse to Conundrum.
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looking Back at the traverse from Castle.
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Now I'm not an expert on cigars but Slim Shady said they were high dollar cigars for all I know they could have been from the local convenient store or been a blunt. I do know that after smoking a few puffs in the low oxygen I felt really relaxed and the anxiety of the upcoming glissade disappeared.
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The hardest part of the glissade was actually getting down a steep section just to get to the snow. On the snow there are a few rocks sticking out so whoever does this in the next few weeks be careful.
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We got to the bottom of the first snowfield and climbed over to some rocks to do the next one. We lost elevation quickly and almost had snow all the way down to the highest parking area. This snow field already came equipped with a built in track to like Slim Shady called it "Numb Ass It" all the way down.
Here are some more photos from the day.
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The day was a blast and a nice change from the Sawatch Range I would have to say 14ers # 29 and 30 for me were 2 of my favorites thus far on this journey.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Gueza


Cool!     2012-03-04 11:31:45
Good TR Paul, that‘s a classic summit shot! The glissade on that snow field is awesome!


Carl


The Elks     2011-05-02 08:23:28
Nice one Paul. Glad you had a successful trip to the Elk Range. Some of the most spectacular of the 14ers in my opinion.


globreal


Smokin‘!     2010-11-30 10:28:48
Literally! Way cool. Glad you guys had a good time up there. Your knockin' em off this summer. Keep it up.

That place was my first glissade. What a blast! I hiked back up and did it a second time!

I‘ll keep nursing my knee so we can hike together again.



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