Since there haven’t been many Castle TR’s this year, I figured it would be informative to share a few shots and conditions from our day up there.
Departure from the car was somewhere around 4:30am which was about a mile or so below the ‘bridge’ crossing. As described by others in the area recently that is where the continuous snow begins. Everything below that is melting out quickly.
After skinning up this way and spending 4 days up at the Green-Wilson hut in March, being able to drive farther than the winter closure helped immensely. All of the snow up until about 12900’ was frozen solid. The sun came out for about 20min and was then covered by what looked (and smelled) to be haze/dust/smoke or a combination of all three. This resulted in absolutely no softening until about 9:30. It turned out to work in our favor, and thoughts of corn for lunch brewed.
The north couloir
Conundrum Couloir with a dropped cornice
The North Couloir climb went fairly quickly and as always the view of the rest of the Elks in winter lived up to expectations.
Upon topping out of the couloir it was evident that there was way more snow on the East face. It also was no surprise that this snow was in much better condition at that time of day than the North couloir which hadn’t seen as much sun. There were tracks down the east face.
We are certainly coming back for this line
Chris and Avery
After examining the option to the east and determining that we hadn’t done enough recon and route finding from afar to make for a continuous line out with no cliffs, we thought it best to ski the north couloir instead. Next time..
We shared the summit with a couple from Holland on a cross-country trip. They were excited that we were going to ski since they chose crampons/axes as methods of descending. Unfortunately the haze lowered visibility some and we couldn't’ really even see past Crested Butte.
Chris buttering some corn
Adding a little salt
iPhone video - some of my turns:
A couple of good turns down the upper section of the east face and we dropped in for the couloir ski. Turns were good for June but weren’t corn. Some recycled powder here and there. Once in Montezuma Basin the corn roast was on. It was good to ski something different than what this winter has gotten everyone used to.
The 3 Princes and Princess will likely pay this Castle a visit again.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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