Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  06/20/2010
Date Climbed:   07/23/2009
Author:  dpwellington

 Castle Peak - NE Ridge  

On July 23rd I climbed Castle Peak via the NE ridge. I started from the Castle Creek Trailhead at 6:30 am and arrived at the summit at 9:30 am. I assumed that the 4x4 road was bad enough to park my SUV at the main road. Well I was wrong, the road seemed in good shape, except for a few stream crossings.

Oh well, some extra calories to burn. Roach indicates it's 10 miles RT from the main road to the summit. According to my GPS watch it's actually 12.1 miles. So I was the only one this day who started from the main road. The views of the creek are nice on the way up to the end of the road at 12,800 feet (approx. 4.9 miles).

The real fun and scenery started after leaving the road and mines and heading up the small snowfield to the NE ridge. I passed three gentlemen on the way up to the summit along the NE ridge and as I approached the summit two climbers had already left for Conundrum. Since the guidebook was wrong about the distance, I didn't feel I had enough gas in the tank for the Castle/Conundrum double which requires a traverse back over the Castle summit or a hairy glissade down the upper moraine snow slope. I have seen some serious glissading accidents on gentler slopes than that one. After having made my decision to head back down, I quickly moved down the ridge and glissaded the very small snowfield in the lower moraine back to the road. On the way down, I passed seven people coming up the road after parking their 4x4's at various spots along the road. I would consider that way too late in the day for a summit bid considering the clouds were rolling in.


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