Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2007
Date Climbed:   07/23/2007
Author:  Old Ickabod
 Castle & Conundrum  

I drove up to Aspen on Sunday night and luckily missed the mudslide on Independence Pass by about an hour. It wasn't raining at the time and I made it one switch-back above the second creek crossing (11,070) by 8:30. It started raining as soon as I got there and I had planned to sleep outside my jeep, but everytime the rain let up, the mosquitos turned it on.

Nevertheless, a 6'1 Old Ickabod tried to get comfy in a 2001 Jeep Wrangler. It is not possible! I tried every contortion, but ended up on the back seat in the fetal position. Needles to say, I awoke early and began hiking at 6am.

It was a real easy hike up the road to the mine and upper parking. I passed one lady on the way The last 200 feet of the Northwest route looked like a scree mess and I considered heading straight up the east ridge of Castle from the upper parking. Nevertheless, I chose to hike up some soft snow to the start of the Northeast Ridge route which was snow free.

I made good time and enjoyed some unnecessary scrambling on the false summit. Anyhow, I made it to the summit in a quick two hours and 45 minutes.

Looking back at the Northeast Ridge from Castle Peak

Looking into the upper basin from the summit of Castle Peak

As I enjoyed the summit for about 30 minutes, I met Steve from Boulder who did do the Northeast Ridge from the upper parking. He highly recommended it. We talked for a bit and then headed to Conundrum.

The Elks from Conundrum

It was a real easy hike to the highest point of Conundrum and we met up with a couple from Colorado Springs with 3 more fourteeners to go. We were all surprised at how great the Conundrum Couloir still looks.

Conundrum Peak and Conundrum Couloir from Castle Peak

Old Ickabod on the summit of Conundrum Peak / Castle Peak in the background

After another 30 minute summit, we all took the glissade down from the saddle and hiked out. We all made it back to my jeep by 11:40 and I gave rides to everyone's cars below. It was an enjoyable and easy hike. Thanks for the company Steve! Best of luck to the Colorado Springs couple on completing the fourteeners.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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