Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  08/09/2006
Modified:  08/05/2009
Date Climbed:   08/08/2006
Author:  benners
 Castle and Conundrum: Northwest Ridge  

Date Climbed: August 8, 2006
Group: Solo
Goal: Summit Castle Peak via the NW Ridge and traverse to Conundrum Peak

I left the trailhead around 6am and headed up the road which goes all the way up to 12,800. I had to park before the stream crossing at 9,900, a bit nervous about the crossing with my 4x4 only to see three jeeps tear through the stream without a problem on my way back down later in the day. Anyway I reached the top of the road in about and hour and a half and continued up into the cirque below Castle and Conundrum. From here I decided on the northwest ridge route right up the snowfield which was more difficult than I expected (having left my ice axe in the car). If you are planning to do this route anytime soon, bring an axe with you!

Snow field - Route goes up to the right

It was a steeper climb than I was comfortable with on bullet proof snow with no ice axe but I eventually made it up. From the top of the ridge it is about 10 minutes to the summit of Conundrum. Here is a view of the road from the top of the ridge.

The road on the approach

And on to the summit of Conundrum . . .

The rest of the Elks (Capitol is behind Pyramid on the right and Snowmass is behind North Maroon on the left)

From Conundrum to Castle took about 30 minutes, it's not as far as it looks.

The connecting saddle

As the weather was starting to come in I decided to descend the northeast ridge route which was quite a bit safer than descending the snow field with no axe. Made it back to the car by 11:30am. These peaks have some really nice views and were pretty short and sweet for Elk range fourteeners.

Looking back on Conundrum from the summit of Castle, Route in Red

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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