Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Date Posted:  08/12/2009
Date Climbed:   08/08/2009
Author:  spontaneous weekends
 a photo for the dog owner  

This is a hike where it was fine to walk the whole road, not much traffic to deal with the whole day and it's a pleasant route. I started my hike from right where the pavement ends. I started late so I had no intention of summiting but I couldn't see a cloud in the sky for the longest time which permitted me to break the rules and summit anyway.

A lot of people talk about skirting the snow all together and I'm here to tell you, don't do that. At least go across the first field of snow you see to the scree in front of you. It is a far better option than going due left at the bottom of the snow slope and trying to get around the snow all together because the talus there is uncomfortably loose and annoying. That's what slowed me down like nothing else, I hated it.

As a novice however, I enjoyed the Class 2+ sections high up on the mountain immensely. I think it serves well as a primer course for more serious climbs like a Class 3. That's why I would suggest this mountain for novices who want to get over a fear of heights or feel a bit more accomplishment than just a hike. On that note, I would suggest being very conscious of where the last rock feature is before you summit, because I didn't recognize it when coming down and I went right instead of left. I saw footsteps on both sides but went for what looked easier. I paid the price by causing a rockslide and just as I started gathering momentum with the rock, I was able to stop myself. The rock kept going. Wish I had more photos to show these things I'm talking about, but my camera was low on power.

Here's some of the shots I did get. All the other Elks to the northwest:

A look back at the ridge you must navigate to get to the summit (in the foreground, not the background), less scary than it looks (again, I'm writing for novices like myself!):

the requisite sinkhole shot:

Shot of the dog I enjoyed watching, fixated in an absolute frozen stance, hoping the pika he spotted exits from it's refuge, Conundrum in the background:

Almost requisite as well, the waterfall of Castle Creek:

During the high altitude portion of the hike, I was cursing Castle for all the loose rock, but now that I have had some time to balance it all out in my mind, I would do this one again just for the glissading! Absolutely bring and ice axe if you're going to do that. I didn't have one and was right on the cusp of being in over my head.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

We were there that day
08/13/2009 12:46
My girl and I were up there that day also and I don‘t remember seeing that dog. Great mountain though and good pictures. I went down without my axe also and had a blast, did not think it was bad at all but that is just me.

spontaneous weekends

the snow
08/13/2009 18:32
I summited at 1:15, that‘s why you didn‘t see the dog. The two guys with the dog that I partly hiked with slid down without an axe and even though one of them said he was in control all the way down, it didn‘t look that way! The first thought that came up when watching him was the video footage you see of those hyper-speedboats skipping high up off the water before they crash!! My herniated disc couldn‘t take that so I hiked lower before sliding.

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