Peak(s):  Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  06/22/2009
Date Climbed:   06/20/2009
Author:  pioletski
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Objective: ascend and ski Conundrum Couloir
Crew: pioletski, Bonedale Dolly, Gary, Catherine, Mike
Hike: 2200' vert in about 1 mile! Ski: 2200'

After last week's romp on Castle and Conundrum with benners, ossie322 and Nate (thanks again, gents), I found I just had to share it with some of my skiing buddies in Aspen. I hadn't seen nearly enough of these guys (and gals) last winter, so I was really pleased at their enthusiastic responses to my invitation. We set out to do either Castle or Conundrum but not both, and left the choice until we could actually look at the snow. The 5 of us loaded up at about 6:00 am and drove up the Castle Creek Road. We got one vehicle to 11,800 feet - the snowdrift that stopped us at 10,800' the previous weekend had disappeared almost completely. Here's the crew at our impromptu trailhead (l to r: Gary, Catherine, Bonedale Dolly, Mike, Pioletski. Not pictured: Slinky)

At the trailhead. (All photos: pioletski)

It was another beautiful day in the Elk Range, if a little less settled than the previous week:

Pioletski and Slinky

From Montezuma Basin we decided to head for Conundrum Couloir. As we ascended, we watched SkiNowWorkLater and crew making short work of the north face of Castle. They are actually visible on the summit in this photo... but you're going to have to take my word for it, as the combination of pixel resolution and light conditions don't allow me to magnify the picture enough to show them!

There are actually 5 climbers in this picture. None of them, of course, can be seen...

SNWL commented about our bold canine companion in his TR. Here's Slinky enjoying the climb:

Slinky pauses en route

Although we had no intention of being hard-core, there were no slouches in this group. Here are the girls topping out:

Dolly and Catherine summit

Conundrum was less socked in than Castle, for the moment anyway, which allowed us a fine view of the Bells, Snowmass, Capitol and Pyramid:

View from the top

Old friends lounging at the summit:



We eventually got motivated to ski. Here are Gary and Catherine rippin' it up...



And Mike's grin pretty much sums up the whole day:


Afterwards, chez Mike and Catherine, we refueled on brats and beer and basked in the joy of skiing these mountains in the company of great friends. Thanks, Catherine, Deb, Mike and Gary for a beauty of a day.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Bonedale Dolly

Another great day with old friends!
06/23/2009 15:32
Matt, thanks for dragging us along for another adventure. Spending a day climbing and skiing with old friends is tough to top! (I think Slinky had a great day too!!!) -Deb


06/23/2009 23:41
Conditions look quite a bit softer/better in the couloir compared to when we did it. What a beautiful area and fun climb/ski! Lets get out and do something again soon!


Awesome TR
06/24/2009 23:22
Hey, this is Darryl Pioletski, your kid brother. I have taken that all-important first step of signing up here for an account, now just need to line up gear. Looks like a great trip, awesome photos!

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