Peak:  Castle Peak (14er)
 Route:  Castle and Conundrum
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  Mountain Woman
 Date of Info:  09/11/2011
 Date Posted:  09/13/2011

Started at 11,200 ft elevation. Had driven to this spot in a Toyota Tacoma. One could probably make it to 12,800 ft at end of road in same vehicle. Began@0545, 41* F, 40% cloud cover. Temp dropped noticably by 0700@ 12,800 elevation near Montezuma Mine, but remained above 32*F. Rain clouds stable to the SE, fog or snow clouds rolling up towards Castle. Put on long-sleeved wool base layer and outer shell, was already wearing water-proof pants, gloves, and hat. Ascended snowy patches safely, using hiking poles. Would not attempt without such. Applied face mask en route up northeast ridge. Hoary frost on rocks up this route made rocks slightly slippery but, with gloves on, this was not a problem. Frozen ground up Castle and Conundrum made route more stable than if it had been warmer. Estimated windchill factor 32*F on NE ridge as evidenced by finger on one hand beginning to freeze. Summited Castle at 0845. Fog too thick to see the traverse between and across to Conundrum. Temp remained in the low 30s across to Conundrum. Rain clouds to the SE remained immobile during ascent and descent of Conundrum. Descent to the E on traverse between two peaks best done with hiking poles for stabilization. Snow field not safe for descent - small layer of hail covers slick hard ice underneath. DO NOT DESCEND here. Temp had warmed up estimated mid 40s in bowl, traversed safely on scree to the left then across snow past bowl and back to the road.

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