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 Peak(s):  "North Massive"  -  14,340 feet
Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
 Post Date:  08/04/2010
 Date Climbed:   07/23/2010
 Posted By:  sanchomurphy1

 Trail Maintenance & 14ers   

Heading out to Aspen for two weeks of trail work with the American Conservation Corps crew I manage seemed like a good time to hit some 14ers in the off time. Week 1 we battled the willows of West Maroon Trail below the Bells with loppers and pulaskis. By the end of the week we were rained out. Our weekend house was the Norrie Guard Station east of Basalt. With its close proximity to Mt. Massive, we thought we'd give it a shot.

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Battling the Willows.

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Rained Out...

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New Turnpike.


We woke the morning of the 23rd to unfriendly skies. We hit the Frying Pan Lakes TH on the east side of Massive at 4 am. We arrived at the lowest of the lakes at around 7:30 am only to be greeted by rain and thunder. Fortunately we waited for the weather to pass and forged our own route up the west side of Massive from the lower lake bound directly for Point 13,650. Most of this was very loose Class 2 scrambling. We arrived at the point around 10 am only to look up the mountain further to look for the true summit. From here, the climb turned into an easy hike on top and we reached N. Massive at around 11 am. Since half of the crew was pretty tired and it was getting late in the morning, we opted to just relax on the summit and then head back. Going down was considerably harder riding loose rock back down to the lakes and we made it back to them at around 2 pm. From their it was an easy hour hike out. If you are looking for a far less traveled route up Massive, give it a try. We were the only people on that side the entire day.

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Route to N. Massive.

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The Climb Up.

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On the West Side.

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At Point 13,650

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Looking West.

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The Crew.


On Sunday the 25th, my girlfriend and I gave Castle a try. We had camped the night prior very near the Castle Creek TH. From there the road becomes much rougher. We began hiking at 6 am and decided to hitchhike up the road as far as possible. On our first try two other 30 something climbers in their Ford Expedition pick us up. From there we rode with to the Pearl Pass turnoff. While I couldn't help but feel thankful that we got a ride, I cringed as their SUV's chassis scraped on boulders and pieces of running board flew from the vehicle. I wish them the best of luck in their goal of completing all of the 14ers this summer. After we stopped, we walked the road all the way up to the 4WD parking lot. From here we bypassed Castle's snowfields which were mostly melted by heading left. By now it was around 8:30 am and Castle seemed like a piece of cake. We headed up what I believe was the NE ridge to our left to some Class +2 along the top of the ridge. Unfortunately near the top we got off trail on what looked to be a better path on the right along the ridge. Beware! Hug the ridge for the entire route. Our path led us and several other climbers up a gravel filled Class 3 or 4 gully. It was not enjoyable until after the fact. The toughest move is right below the summit but can be easily navigated. We arrived at the top at 10 am but saw several clouds moving in so we decided to do Conundrum another day. The way down was easy and we enjoyed the slides down two of Castle's snowfields. From their it was an easy walk down the road where we arrived back at the TH by 2 pm.

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The Road Up.

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Heading up Castle.

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Climbing the Gully back up to the Trail. AVOID THIS!

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On the Summit!

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The Return Trip.

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Sliding Down the Snowfield on Castle.

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Marmot at the 4WD Lot.


The second week, me and my crew went up the Conundrum Creek Trail to build a turnpike and a new bridge above Silver Dollar Pond and below the hot springs. After a few days camping, building, and chillin' in the hot springs we headed back to Aspen and back to home base in Estes Park. All in all, a great two weeks!

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Conundrum Hot Springs!

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Bridge & Turnpike Before...

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Bridge & Turnpike After...



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
SuperPolok


Thanks!     2010-08-05 07:35:05
Thanks to you and your crew for the trail work. It's guys/girls like you that make the trails so good. I'm constantly coming upon the handiwork of trail crews and it constantly amazes me the efforts put into making a useable/sustainable trail.


sanchomurphy1


...     2010-08-09 13:04:58
No problem! I love the job!



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