Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  07/04/2012
Date Climbed:   07/01/2012
Author:  RosieTheSummiter
Additional Members:   raindrop

 Castle.... check!!  

Our trip started out on Saturday (6/30/2012) when we found a fantastic camp spot about a mile up the road. This one was empty and happened to have its own pond. Beware, though - lots of flies and mosquitos!
Campsite near pond about a mile up

The next day (7/1/2012) we got a 5:45am start which was great because it bought us a lot more time in the shade on the long road up to the lake at 12,800.

last portion of the road near the lake

Just above the lake was a small snowfield that others had used. We decided to try this ourselves and found it very amenable to some easy stomping. We did not need any yak tracks or microspikes to do this.

1st snow field

We chose to cross up a second snowfield, after which the trail continued on the right onto the rocks and then eventually returned to the left hand side where the ascent to the ridge is made.

near the end of the snow fields, peak in view

The ridge is fairly doable, but you just have to take a little care in some spots. Towards the very end of this ridge, however, there is one particular feature that I would like to point out (if this is the only thing you gain from this trip report, then mission accomplished!) Basically, in the last push towards the top you will see two large clumps of rocks. When I did this peak last year, I went straight up this portion even beyond the second clump and tried like hell to figure out how to get up the last stretch through some weird dark chute of rock. It looked too iffy for my taste to try to climb alone. I wasn't planning on doing Conundrum that day, but it appeared that everyone else was. So getting the assistance of a fellow hiker to get up this thing did not guarantee me the ability to get back down considering just about everyone who had passed this was long gone towards Conundrum afterwards and would not be coming back this way. I tried the scree from here over to the left and found that I didn't like it much better. Long story short, I scrapped my summit. My big mistake was going too high on this part rather than just taking a left at the second clump of rocks where the scree seemed to be much more doable (although still a little slippery there, too.) It's not to say the other route isn't doable, it just wasn't my route of choice for the level I'm at in my hiking.

Route of opportunity

But this time we made it, and the summit offered some tremendously rewarding views!

Nice views to the south east

Views of Conundrum


After summiting around 10:45am, we spent about 20 minutes at the top and then started to head down. Here is a fun view from the ridge at about 14,000 looking back down on the trail.

Fun view down from the ridge

The best part of this peak? Sliding down snow in July!!! Much fun to say the least. ;-)

All in all, a great hike with tremendously beautiful views and fascinating geology. It was worth coming back a second time to make it to the summit!

sliding down the snow!!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice TR
07/04/2012 18:36
Nice report with some great pics! I did Castle and Conundrum last year on two different hikes. Some good glissading last year too. Congratulations!

Dr. Dave

Chicago Transplant

Nice Job!
07/04/2012 20:53
Congrats on the summit, I was the guy you talked to late Saturday who was going up the 13ers on Sunday. My day worked out well too, some loose parts, but was able to keep both peaks at class 2/2+. Nice weekend to be in the Elks!


Fantastic report
07/05/2012 03:12
A great trip report as you give some good advice with a wonderful picture with specific points of interest. Most helpful, thanks for sharing and congratulations on a tough hill.


Colorado Women
07/05/2012 18:27
Is there any state that has women more awesome than this?

Great report!


Good Beta!
07/05/2012 23:28
Thanks for the good trip report. Looked like you had a great day in the Elks. I am printing your report for some Beta as me and my wife take on our first of the Elks hopefully Saturday.

Enjoy the high country


Thanks, all!
07/05/2012 23:51
Thank-you, everyone, for your nice comments and feedback. It was entirely worth the second attempt just to know my TR can be of use to someone else and that Colorado women are considered awesome!
@ Chicago Transplant: congrats on your summits, too! Pearl and Oyster peaks, right? Fantastic!


Nice map
08/14/2012 02:38
We may be doing Castle the weekend of the 24th and the map with the past problem and current route will be invaluable. Looks like lots of talus! May need to buy that helmet now...

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