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Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

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Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Techy » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:17 pm

Hey there.

I am planning a trip to Conundrum this summer then from there up castle peak and back.

First, does anyone have good directions for me on how to get to the trailhead on the Crested Butte side? It is hard to find info on this.

Second, what is the best route up castle peak from the springs?

Any info is appreciated.

Thanks a bunch.
Mike

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Techy » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:23 pm

When I say I want to head up to Conundrum I mean the hot springs, then up to castle.

Just some clarification ( I didn't mean the peak)

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby kaiman » Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:08 pm

As this has been discussed many times before on this forum, I will suffice it to say that the route from Conundrum Hot Springs to Castle is not recommended (unless you like hiking steep slopes on loose soft scree :wink: ). See this post for more info: http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18030&p=218968&hilit=conundrum+hot+springs#p218968

As for coming from the Crested Butte side to Condundrum, you have several options:

A). You can hike from Gothic (to get to Gothic drive west of downtown CB, past the ski area, towards Schofield Pass on the Schofield Pass Road) to Copper Pass, then over Triangle Pass, and down to the Conundrum hot springs (I believe this is about 10 1/2 miles from the CB side to the hot springs or 19 to the Conundrum Creek trailhead at the other end).

B). The second way is to hike from Gothic over East Maroon Pass to Copper/Triangle pass and then down to the springs (also about 10 miles from the Crested Butte side and 19 miles to the Condundrum Creek trailhead on the other end).

I have done both of these routes and highly recommend either one. En route you will pass Copper Lake and White Rock Mountain which is some of the most picturesque scenery in the Elk Mountains. A good place to start for info on these routes is Warren Ohlrich's books Aspen & Central Colorado Trails and Aspen Snowmass Trails: Hiking Trail Guide. Available in bookstores in both areas.

Good luck and have fun whatever you decide to do.

kaiman
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- Joe Stettner

"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Seldom Seen » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:48 pm

I did option "A" yesterday. Finding the trailhead is simple. Just past Gothic on the right look for the Judd Falls/Copper Creek trail. You can follow signs and a map from there. Be prepared to walk across Copper Creek in two spots. It is about 20 ft wide and calf deep so no biggie. I had snow and lightning as I was reaching Triangle Pass so headed back down. You might want an axe deepending on how soon you get up there. From Conudrum there's an awesome coulour that goes up to the summit of castlelebra and then stays on the ridge heading over to Castle. Kaiman is right it's wild up there.
Chris
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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Techy » Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:29 pm

How is is hiking from the springs to Conundrum Peak then from there over to Castle and back down.

Also, I am not scared of difficulty too much, but was wondering is it just rough going from the springs up to castle, or does it require gear?


Thanks guys. I am just getting into the whole bagging 14er's thing, but am a very experienced outdoors man/hiker.

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Seldom Seen » Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:47 pm

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Chris P. » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:13 pm

I haven't been up any peaks from the springs, but from what I've heard and what I remember being able to see from the top of Castle and Conundrum is that the routes are not very technically difficult, but they're covered in very loose talus and scree, making the climbing pretty miserable.

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Seldom Seen » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:19 pm

Don't be put off by tales of scree. If you're in CB and want to do Castle go for it. It's been done many times before. You may not be able to practically drive to the top like coming from Aspen but you'll probably have the route to yourself and a totally different experience than the standard hike.
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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby Techy » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:43 am

Thanks guys.

Anyone else have any info?

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Re: Info on hiking to conundrum and castle from CB side.

Postby ROCK HOPPER » Wed Jun 17, 2009 1:57 pm

I did this last August from the Aspen trailhead. There was a wall of snow behind campsite 9, 10 & 11. Get above that wall and hike what seems like 2500 ft of vert up the scree. Head towards the saddle (right of Castleabra). From there you can see Castle. Hike over Castleabra down the ridge leading to the Castle/Castleabra saddle. Here is where I screwed up. I went to the right and found myself climbing on stuff that was loose. Make your way to the left side of the ridge and make your own route. You should be able to do this without exceeding class 3 terrain. I think most people summit these peaks from the other side so there wasn't a trail that I could find. Also I couldn't find much info on this site regarding this route. I spoke with a local in the hot springs and he seemed surprised we were doing it from this side. He is up there a lot and hadn't heard of too many people using this route. The hike over to Conundrum was a piece of cake. If I had it to do over again I would find the easiest scree slope and head straight down to the stream from Conundrum , cross the stream, find the trail from the Aspen TH and follow that back to camp. The trail shouldn't be far from the stream. Or retrace your route. I went down a scree slope and bushwhacked all the way back to camp. I was with a beginner so it took us 12 hours round trip. He completely ripped his boots out and I ripped mine pretty good. We both had light weight hiking boots. My buddy was miserable on the hike down but I enjoyed it quite a bit because we had great weather the whole day. If you just want to bag these peaks do it from the other side. I enjoyed our route quite a bit. The aspens were changing color when I was up there and the whole valley leading to the springs was beautiful. I think it was around an 8 mile hike gaining 2000 ft of vert to the springs but it didn't seem like it.
The springs are pretty popular so plan accordingly. We hiked out on Friday and passed about 40 people. Most of them said that they were camping at the springs. There aren't a lot of spots up there. I've heard stories of hundreds of people up there on holiday weekends. So if you want a camp spot go during the middle of the week. If you'd rather see lots of naked people and not worry about a camp spot go during the weekend. If you want both get up there Thursday night and stay a few nights.

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