Peak:  Castle Peak (14er)
 Route:  North Face Couloir
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  semitrueskerm
 Date of Info:  06/15/2013
 Date Posted:  06/17/2013

River still raging and not safe to cross with vehicle at 1.3 mile mark from lower TH turnoff.

I camped here to play it safe, and started at 5 am the next morning. Probably better to not start much later than 5 am with warming temps if you want to do what's left of the snow in the Castle / North Face Couloir.

If you can get through it with an lifted 4 x 4, you will get another 1.5 miles up until an avalanche slide still blocks the road, though it is melting out fast. About 1.5 - 2 feet thick of snow at this 30 foot section. 4 x 4 may be able to get over this in about 1 to 2 weeks. The Pearl Pass Road junction is then another .5 mile beyond.
Still 6 inches of water over the road another .3 miles ahead of that...(the road is morphed into a runoff river), but no problem crossing it either by foot or by vehicle if you drive up that far.
A few sections of snow remain higher up over the road into Montezuma Basin, but easy to walk around or across.
Snow field remained quite thick and firm above 12,800 feet.
Castle Couloir/ North Face Couloir was almost still solid snow. There is about a 6 foot section about 2/3rds up that has almost melted out. You will not be able to ski over this area any more. Other than that, it's still a good snow climb and felt solid at 8 am. Wouldn't push doing it much past 9 or 10 am, as it is getting mushy by then.
On final ridgeline push above North Face Couloir, you have corniced snow on the southwest side of the ridgeline. Avoid it, as it appears quite unstable. There is room and dry area all the way to the summit to the right of that along on the ridgeline.
Dry all the way down from Castle to the saddle, and dry all the way over to Conundrum summit. Conundrum Couloir still looks snowfilled top to bottom, but that big cornice at the top of the Conundrum Couloir is still there as of Saturday morning.
Plenty of snow from the saddle down to glissade. Two other glissades still are in. Not to bad walking out on the snow sections between the glissades at 11 am...few postholes...but still mushy.

 Comments or Questions

06/17/2013 18:04
thanks for the update! Glad you had a successful trip!


06/19/2013 03:53
Do you get some of that high speed glissading off the saddle?

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