Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  07/02/2007
Date Climbed:   07/02/2007
Author:  philbucher

 Castle Peak - melting out fast !  

Wonderful day today. Sunny, warm, no wind at all!

The old mine road is clear of snow all the way to the end, above the mine. From there, the lower snowfield is still pretty substantial, but we climbed it in the AM without any issues. The upper snowfield (route #1 in the "routes" section of this website) was usable today, but the upper snow will be gone by this weekend. This is a steep section and when the snow is gone I think climbing it would be a serious challenge for anyone, due to the pitch and totally loose, punky rock. The snow is melting out at the top first, (next couple of days), and that's the steepest section.

As a better alternative, I recommend summer climbers use alternate route #2 to the left side of the basin. (see Bill Middlebrook's photo #3 in the routes section of this site). Climb up the left side of the lower snowfield, and upon cresting you'll see the well-defined trail on the far left of the upper basin. (This route is totally snow-free, up from here.) Follow it up to the left side ridge, then right, along the ridge to the summit.

Climbers today ascended via both routes, with no clear preference when we all met on top to discuss the merits of each.

We crossed over to Conundrum (also snow free) then back to the central snow-field for an exhilarating glissade and butt-slide all the way down both snowfields to the mine road.

Fun !


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