Castle Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-07-27, By: scott_s
Info: 2 small snowfields to cross shortly past the end of the road. Microspikes helped a lot but probably aren't absolutely necessary. Route is dry everywhere else. The descent from the Castle-Conundrum saddle is mostly snow free (see photo, sorry it's so blurry) but it's doable if you're comfortable on steep loose terrain. I tested the snow field briefly on the descent but it was slushy and slippery and I found the scree/talus to be easier. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-25, By: bodhi1971
Info: Standard Northeast Ridge route for Castle and Conundrum combo. Still a small snowfield to cross in the beginning to get to the trail. Trail is clear all the way for both peaks. Came down the gully (standard exit route) on the Castle/Conundrum ridge on the way back from Conundrum to avoid having to go back over Castle. Scrambled through the scree/talus and stayed left in the gully until I hit snow. Brought a helmet, axe, poles, and micro spikes and used them all. You could probably do the gully without them, but I would hate to slip and take a fall, even when the snow softened mid morning there was no stopping without some type of tool when I slipped. The Conundrum Couloir is run out into a talus scree field at the bottom and would be a difficult climb at this point. Drove a stock Toyota 4Runner Pro with no lift all the way to the end of the road and camped at 12, 800 prior to the climb. The road is absolutely doable if you pick a good line, but definitely not for the faint of heart. 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-07-13, By: fancyco
Info: Most of the route can be done while avoiding snow, there were two snow crossings on the headwall one of witch could be avoided. the glissade down the saddle is not in great condition, the first 50 or so feet is an incredibly loose and steep mess that was quite dangerous if someone was above you, but when you get to the snow it mellows out a bit and it makes for a decent glissade down 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-08, By: mtgoatmike
Info: From the end of the road at 12,500ft you encounter multiple snowfields up through the headwall. Traction is recommended if doing this section before it softens up. You can avoid the snowfields by skirting around on rocks, but the snowfields are definitely the more direct route. After the headwall the trail is snow free all the way to the summit. The glissade off the saddle was doable, don't know how much longer. Rocks were poking out through the entire run out...I tore 2 holes in my pants. 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-07-05, By: jakesoren10
Info: Hiked Castle and Conundrum on 7/3. 4x4 road up to the Pearl Pass junction and past was in good condition, parked at about 12,500 cause of the off camber part towards the end. Fun drive to get there, drove my lifted 4Runner there, but followed a stock pickup. Climb up Castle was good, hike up the head wall that was basically all snow (the rocks were harder to climb up), follow the trail all the way to the summit, no snow after the headwall. Got both summits, and had a successful trip! Slid down the snow on the headwall on the way down. All in all, a wonderful, fun day. 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-06-26, By: TheSpaceForce
Info: Trail is snow-free except for the headwall and saddle. The headwall does have a trail to climber's right with cairns if you aren't prepared to go up the snow, which we saw a few people go up/down. There's a short descent (maybe 50') to get to the snow below the Castle-Conundrum saddle, if you choose to glissade. Ice axe recommended for this one, but we saw maybe 40% of people using one. Snow is pretty dirty and peppered with small rocks. By 11AM, snow was pretty soft/slushy. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-12, By: Dayute
Info: Road is clear to just below the switchbacks about 1 mile from the Pearl Pass turnoff. Creek is moderate, not crazy but definitely not subaru friendly. Headwall was in great condition at about 9am. The glissade from the saddle was getting a little thin up top, definitely glad I had an axe because I was leaning into it the whole time. Saw some skiers climb Conundrum Col but they bailed at the top and ended up skiing down from the saddle. 
Route: NE Ridge up to E Face Ski
Posted On: 2022-06-05, By: slawrence2011
Info: Started at 2, Melted to about 1/2 a mile above the crossing, after that, intermittent and consolidated enough that I didn't put on my snowshoes. I got lost a couple of times in the dark even though I have done this route many times. I partly attribute this to the fact that I realized the night before that I lost my headlamp, so was navigating by phone light. I wasted a bunch of time in the basin trying to go straight up like you can with snow. Given current conditions, it is really important to go all the way back and find the road, the creek is running huge right now and I could only pass it via the road. NE Ridge is in great shape, minimal snow, the cruxes either don't have any, or really well boot packed. Summited just after 7 to intermittent sun/clouds, and occasional dustings, wind wasn't bad. Dropped into the E face from the summit just after 8. Little hardpacked at the top, but in light of the whole descent, this timing was perfect. I had to sidestep the first fifty feet to get through rocks, then skied right to the normal path. Snow was quite flat up high given how late in the season it is. Had to do a bit of route finding to find a line that would go, and at one point traversed on some steep rocks to connect to another snowfield. Down low, the snow became very bumpy with slide debris, but at that point you are past the crux and the angle is lower. I managed to ski almost all the way to the Pearl/Montezuma junction with some billy goating. Too intermittent to ski after that. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-06, By: swesleyc7
Info: The Castle/Conundrum combo route is experiencing "goldilocks" conditions right now, so get to it! Snowshoes were SOOOO last week ;) Leave 'em behind. The hiking road to the headwall is almost entirely clear of snow and requires no traction. The basin and headwall below the summits are filled with snow, however, my group left camp at ~8am so it was hard-packed and didn't require floatation. Bring micro-spikes for peace of mind, but it's likely you won't require them. After you climb the headwall, the scramble to Castle's summit has no snow and is safe. The saddle between the two has snow, but provides no risk. After the saddle, the scramble to Conundrum's summit has no snow and is safe. After you summit both, I advise returning to the saddle between Castle & Conundrum and glacade from there instead of re-summitting Castle to descend. Avalanche risk is minimal and the snow will be tacky enough to glacade in the afternoon, making your return trip that much easier and faster! Note: See the Trailhead page for TH driving conditions. 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-06-11, By: jmg11
Info: Hiked 6/2. Gorgeous day with almost no wind. Started hiking from C6 at 3am, summited Castle later than expected at 7:30am, left Castle at 8am, 30min traverse to Conundrum, left Conundrum close to 9am, glissaded down the saddle to the upper basin, then glissaded down the head wall. Back to car around 11:30am? Trail was obvious the whole way and there's plenty of tracks up the headwall to choose from now. Snow was firm and low avy risk despite the steepness of the saddle glissade. Very few downed trees on the trail, all easy to navigate through. Axes were needed for the glissade. I never used my snowshoes so don't pack them (there was a solid 7hr freeze the night before my hike). Poles were nice on the way up too. Microspikes got the job done when crossing snow along the road up to the headwall. Only 1 small section headed up the ridges on Castle and Conundrum that held snow, but I didn't wear spikes for either. Castle Creek was only about 12-18in deep so lifted trucks could get through, but the road is impassable about a 1/4 mile past the creek with high snow drifts so you might as well enjoy a full campsite before the creek. Saw 2 others on the way down- 1 had climbed up Conundrum Couloir to snowboard and the other was headed to the standard SW route on Castle. 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-05-30, By: IvanR
Info: On and off blizzard above tree line. Mud. Melting fast. Lots of avalanched trees (my guess is from string wind gusts). Saw two people in front of me both turn around. One was a skier on their way down. Don't think they were able to get into their desired drop zone because of the snow. If it was a dry day, would have been glorious. Started at 8am. Got back down 11:30 
Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-05-29, By: tiffts16
Info: Spent the night at campsite 9 and got up there with a Crosstrek no problem. I would definitely not take any sort of subaru across the creek at this time of year as it would likely sweep your car away. It was not very cold that night and so the snow along the road past the crossing did not freeze making post-holing at 4:30am a fun adventure. There was off and on snow from about 300 yards past the crossing all the way until I got above treeline. There was still enough snow above treeline to just put on snowshoes and walk up the basin as the road is just starting to melt out. Above the headwall I left my snowshoes to pick up later and ascended the northeast ridge, which is clear of snow except for a small bit just before the summit. I reached the summit at 7:30 and after a short break and taking in the views of the Bells and Capitol descended the ridge toward Conundrum. The descent is very loose so take your time. Ascending Conundrum was fairly easy but a bit more snowy adding a challenge. It was about 45 minutes from peak to peak. I ended up glissading most of the steep pitches and left my snowshoes on until I got back to treeline and exited the basin. I was very glad I brought them as I had considered not. If you're going in the next week be prepared for the road to still be patchy snow crossings until you get to treeline. Unless it is a very cold freeze and you know everything will be solid, would highly recommend bringing snowshoes and leaving them where you think you'll need them again on the way back down. Overall, solid hike and nice weather. 
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Route: Castle and Conundrum
Posted On: 2022-05-29, By: mightycuine
Info: Beautiful day out there. Started from campsite 6 and walked the road up to 12.4k. On the approach, snow varied from complete slush below treeline to firm above. Lots of water running down the 4wd road right now, but it'll be at least a few weeks before it's gone. Got to the 12.8k headwall at 6:30 and used crampons to climb. Snow was perfect for this. At the upper bowl, I wanted to do the N Couloir but didn't like the amount of talus at the top. I opted for the NE ridge, which was 80% dry. All snow is avoidable by climbing directly on the ridge. I didn't think anything exceeded class 2. The downclimb to the saddle with Conundrum is also dry. There were a few snow patches on the climb to Conundrum, but were avoidable. Met some skiers at the top of Conundrum Couloir. They were having a blast! I descended back to the Castle-Conundrum saddle and glissaded down. It looks scarier both from top and bottom than it actually is. Walk out was a slog, but not enough postholing to justify snowshoes. Ymmv as it continues to melt. Tldr: no floatation needed. Crampons optional for the headwall. Ice axe mandatory for glissade 
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Route: North Face Couloir
Posted On: 2022-05-23, By: slawrence2011
Info: Planning to go up the N couloir, ski down the E face. Sun never came out and it got super windy and moderate snow. The N couloir requires frightening talus work for the last couple hundred feet or so, I climbed it in crampons, and I was frightened to downclimb that. So when the E face was bulletproof at 10 and the wind was way to pounding to wait it out and no sun in sight, I figured the Northwest ridge / skiing the glissade route was the best. Bulletproof skiing all the way to the car - that's a first for May, haha! 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-05-16, By: Will_E
Info: Did Castle and Conundrum standard route Saturday. The road is mostly dry to just past the campsites, one truck parked right after the creek crossing, snow is pretty deep from there. In the morning I didn't put snowshoes on until I reached the headwall, left them at the top of the headwall, the summer trail from that point is mostly dry until the last climb to summit, it had great steps in it from all the skiers out Saturday. I did the ridge to Conundrum, returned back over Castle to earn 1 more beer rather than slide down the Saddle. On return I kept snowshoes on all the way down, it was a pretty warm day. 
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Route: North Face Couloir
Posted On: 2022-04-20, By: dsr80304
Info: Tried for it today. Got to the basin below but winds were brutal. Another twosome got up on the saddle ridge but headed down after getting blown over. North couloir is just wind hammered and barely in (see pic). Needs significant new snow to be enjoyable - otherwise rock hopping on sastrugi. Conundrum couloir looks much better (pic 2). A few skied the castle east face recently - the top looked like good coverage, the bottom is tricky still though. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-07, By: MaryinColorado
Info: We were able to get the Jeep up to 10,800'. Road has a fair bit of snow, and beyond 10,800' seems impassable not because of the snow, necessarily, but there was a decent layer of ice hiding under the snow. Hiked from 10,800' to the end of the road just booting it non-problematically with few minor pockets of deep snow on the road. Deeper snow then starts after the end of the road into the basin/head wall area. Snowshoes highly recommended! We weren't summit-bound, so didn't have our snowshoes with us but enjoyed a post-holing wonderland of deeper, unconsolidated snow across and up the first steep section of the head wall. Snowshoes highly recommended. NOTE: Slabs are forming!! I'd have to guess with the next storm, this area is going to be far more dangerous. Even in the current conditions, it's not an area that anyone without knowledge of the proper route and associated risks should be venturing into; ability to discern what the changing conditions are causing is highly recommended. Stay safe out there, folks! 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-01, By: pbarn
Info: Some snow on the approach road between the Pearl Pass junction and the end of the road at at just over 12k. It's not currently deep. Spikes helpful. The head wall is now deep in snow with not many options to avoid. Snowshoes are recommended. After the head wall, the trail up to and along the ridge has some light snow, so we ditched the snowshoes and put back on spikes. Right now, it's still early-winter up there. After the next storm it'll like be proper-winter. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-10-24, By: Will_E
Info: Summitted Castle Saturday. The road is mostly dry or trenched. from there I was mostly able to rock hop to get up the headwall. The trail from there had soft snow and well worn tracks. I took spikes and an axe, used neither. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-10-23, By: aim54pheonix
Info: Was able to get my stock 2008 Rubicon up to 11,200'. The hike up the road from there to the basin was fairly easy. Used spikes and flotation was not necessary in this section. The ascent up the headwall was difficult as I had left my snowshoes in the car (based on how the road looked from where I parked) but I wish I had had them with. Snowshoes would have allowed and easier ascent of the headwell to the left which was almost fully snow filled. I turned back after getting to the top of the wall/the basin below the peaks. The trail to the left was clear but I was pretty worn out at this point and it was getting late in the day. The conditions the rest of the way looked similar to the report from 10/5. 
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