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The Road up Castle Peak

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Re: The Road up Castle Peak

Postby jmc5040 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:49 pm

I drove my 2011 Outback (8.7-in clearance) to 11,100-ft just past the second wooden bridge and parked at the left hand switchback for the night on 9/17. Crossing the first creek was identical to the photo posted by Somewhat of a Prick. The biggest challenge for me was to get the AWD going before slipping exiting the creek as the rock ramp on the far side was slick. I did not have any clearances issues, but I used the rocks to my advantage to exit. Going back out was the same deal, just had to line the tires up right to drop back into the creek on the way home. It hailed and poured off and on from around 2am to 6am so we left in the morning as the weather still looked horrible. The creek crossing was still manageable after the heavy rain, but I was extremely nervous most of the night when it rained heavy.

I've taken this car to the upper THs of S. Colony and American Basin (my opinion the worst) and others that are rough so I think it depends on the driver, conditions at the time, and your level of risk for damage and getting stuck. It's always less stressful to just walk more and not worry about if you will get back down alright. I personally like the challenge of pushing my car, but have learned its limits.

If the CRV is 2-in less clearance (???) I think it would not be wise to go through the creek.
"My senses become heightened and the stresses of life fade with each step I take further from civilization. When I'm in the wilderness my brain and body work seamlessly together to do their finest work - a single flowing track down one of natures high peaks." - Jeremy Jones

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Re: The Road up Castle Peak

Postby craigjhn » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:13 pm

I was up there last Sunday (Oct 13). We parked just before the stream crossing in our fairly new Forester, just because I'm pretty squeamish yet about driving it on rough roads. At that time, there wasn't much water in the stream crossing. We watched a Land Cruiser go thru and it didn't even come up past the tires to the wheels. Also, there were tracks in the snow all the way up to the jeep parking area high up in the basin. Some of the tracks showed they had tire chains. There were some slick icy spots in the trees along the way which made me think I might not make it anyway. But we did see a couple of other vehicles make it up to the Pearl Pass turnoff without chains.

From the jeep parking area, it looked like a 4-wheeler (ATV) had gone a bit farther. And then there was a skin track that looked at least a day old. There was a good bit of snow and some significant drifting when I started the off-road part of the hike. I didn't have snowshoes or skis, just microspikes, and I ended up doing a lot of postholing up to my knees or more when stepping between rocks. After struggling a bit with the snow and getting tired, I ended up turning around. I had been planning both Castle and Conundrum. They were close, but no cigar. If I could figure out how to post them, I've got some pictures.

Also, it rained quite a bit overnight and into the morning the next day in Carbondale (Oct 14), so I'm guessing C & C got a lot more snow.

Edit - I just added a Peak Conditions Report, and that let me add some pictures.

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Re: The Road up Castle Peak

Postby myfeetrock » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:25 pm

I drove a newer jeep with a 2in lift through the creek in early June a few years ago. I was so ready to climb I didn't take into account the creek would rise later in the day. I drove in at 5am to a very shallow creek and when I came out later that day I freaked out. The creek came up a few feet. I and my friend both looked at the water and thought about camping out till the next day, but we both had to work. I drove across with water coming over the hood and hitting the windshield. Thank God I made it. Never again will I do that.
Michael Colson

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Re: The Road up Castle Peak

Postby Andymcp1 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:01 pm

I would agree with everyone that you should not take your CRV up there. We took a Jeep Wrangler up to the upper TH a year ago and we scraped a few times heading up. I would say this road is as bad as American Basin, but the creek crossing is worse. We hit it at a low point, but after a night of rain on the way down we slipped sideways a bit driving through and both agreed next time it will be a fun MTN bike ride up and down. With snow I would steer clear, it could be big time sketchy on the long exposed shelf portion.

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