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 Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  05/27/2010 Modified: 05/28/2010
 Date Climbed:   05/27/2010
 Posted By:  JakeK

 Round two on Castle   

At the end of June last year, Ben and I went for the Conundrum/Castle double. We had a great ski on Conundrum, but got turned around on Castle because it wasn't just getting too warm, it was getting too HOT that day. Redemption on Castle Peak has been on my short list ever since, and today we were able to finish what we started last year. Joel joined Ben and I for round 2 with the Castle.

We camped at one of the campsites along the road last night (under a beautiful moon) and got started around 4:15am this morning. The road is completely dry until about a quarter-mile past the first stream crossing. From that point forward its pretty much all snow (although you can skirt around it in some spots). I kept my trail shoes on until the headwall at 12,800, then switched to boots. Ben and Joel chose to skin most of the way.

The snow didn't get a great freeze overnight, but booting it up the couloir was made a little easier by whoever kicked in some steps a few days before. After the three of us went up the north couloir, there is now a great staircase all the way to the summit!

Winds were relatively light at the top, and we were able to ski directly off the summit along the ridge / over the east face, then drop into the north couloir. The snow in the couloir was variable, but soft enough to get some purchase on your turns. After skiing the couloir, we were able to ski some great corn in Montezuma Basin, and then down along the creek all the way to 10,500 feet! We switched back to trail shoes there, and it was a 10-15 minute walk back to the campsite.

Get this one now, because there is enough snow on the road to let you ski almost everything that you hike!

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Campsite #6 on the FR102 road

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Daybreak

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The Elk Range starting to wake up

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The headwall

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Looking back from the headwall

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First full look at Castle

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Joel reaching the upper basin

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Ben reaching the upper basin

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Conundrum Peak

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Good sized cornice up top, as usual

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Ben climbing

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Jake climbing

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Looking east from the top of the couloir

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Ben topping out on the couloir

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Joel approaching the top

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Jake reaching the summit

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The Bells

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Joel on top of Castle

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Jake at the summit

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Ben taking in the views from the top

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Joel making it work off the top

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The first couple turns over the east face were the most exposed

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Ben dropping into the couloir

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Joel's turn

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My turn

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Ben and Joel skiing the lower half of the couloir

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Ben skiing in the basin

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Absolutely gorgeous day

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Some great corn skiing was had on the way out



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (5)
mountainmicah83


Poptop camper!     2010-05-28 10:21:15
Best photo... Poptop camper. I want one! Thanks for the beta Jake. I had the same song last year a week before you only I didn‘t get conondrum. Bummer I have to climb and ski more mountains.. NOT!


MountainDewey


Awesome Report!     2010-05-29 11:29:49
I‘m thinking about hitting Castle pretty soon. I‘m not a skier, if we got a god freeze overnight would the approach be doable without snowshoes?


JakeK


@MountainDewey     2010-05-29 16:27:11
Yes, with a good freeze you could make the approach without snowshoes. I kept my trail shoes on until the headwall @ 12,800... and could have made it to the upper basin if I wanted to in trail shoes, but it was just quicker getting up the steeper section with my AT boots.


Yog


Pop-top!     2010-06-01 00:11:28
That camper photo is nice, talk about luxury camping!!! Great pictures throughout, grats on the summit & ski!


JakeK


The camper...     2010-06-01 06:35:43
... is a 1985 Westfalia. Its Ben‘s... he‘s been working pretty hard on it for over a year, turning it into a mobile basecamp. Even though I‘m still more of a tent guy, I will say that its pretty darn sweet.



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