Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  06/01/2008
Modified:  06/04/2008
Date Climbed:   06/01/2008
Author:  Carl
 Conundrum Couloir & Castle Peak   

Four of us set out Saturday afternoon to climb and ski Conundrum and Castle Peaks. Continuous snow began at the first creek crossing. We put the skis on shortly thereafter.

After a few miles of skinning we decided to give hiking a try again.

Back on the skins we headed towards the rocks pictured in the center at about 12,800ft where we would set up camp for the night.

As the sun sets behind us.

Marc sampled the local flavor as we began to cook dinner. Can you believe he found that just sitting in the snow? Luck I suppose.

We set up camp and melted water for almost 2 hours (1 stove - 8 nalgenes). We made a pitiful attempt at a snow wall around our tent and called it a night. Sleeping through the first alarm at 4am, we were on our way a little after 5.

Enjoyed a nice sunrise (looking back) as we neared objective #1.

Our first snow climb of the morning, the Conundrum Couloir (picture taken a few hours later from Castle).

Marc getting ready to climb.

Starting the climb from about 13,450ft.

Brian heading right around the cornice.

Me enjoying the summit.

Until Marc's handstand attempt turns into a roundhouse kick.

And I have to challenge him to a duel.

That taken care of, we decided to do some skiing. Carl drops in a little before 8am. Our next objective filling the background.

Another Carl (me) following suit.

Brian half way down.

We skied over to Castle and climbed the route in the shade (pictured here from Conundrum) that lands you on the saddle just shy of the summit.

And started the climb from about 13,500ft.

Brian, Carl, and Marc taking in the view.

Marc's new tradition. This time he tries to convince us he's comfortable with a little exposure.

Getting ready to ski off the summit of Castle

Carl just below the top.

Brian finishing off the Castle descent.

We took down camp and enjoyed some of the best turns of the day (the heavy packs aside) skiing out around 11am.

If it wasn't for a sizeable slide that littered the road with trees we would have parked at the bridge and skied right to the truck. Carl making his way though the debris.

Stopping to survey the incredible destruction.

Perfect weather the entire weekend, great snow climbs on two 14ers, and 4,000 continuous vert of skiing - I love June.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/28/2008 00:37
Good report! Looking forward to hitting Conundrum via that couloir


Good stuff
06/02/2008 20:43
Great summit, great rip down. Congratulations on this fine TR, Carl and crew.


06/02/2008 23:02
I love skiing the Conundrum Couloir - looks like you had good snow that day.


06/03/2008 19:32
How far were you able to drive up the road


An answer (and comment)
05/02/2011 14:23
Until someone removes the trees from the road, and the extra snow the avalanche brought down melts, you can‘t drive beyond 9,800ft. It worked out ok though because you hit snow .75 miles later at 10,200 anyway.

The Conundrum Couloir sure is an enjoyable line. Aesthetically pleasing, fun approach, moderately steep, and a rewarding summit.

Mark - You‘re in for a treat.

Bill - You should have joined us. I assure you the invite wasn‘t entirely motivated by the fact that I know you have sleds .

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