Peak(s):  Castle Peak  -  14,265 feet
Conundrum Peak  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  09/01/2019
Date Climbed:   08/30/2019
Author:  dalton vetter
 Castle Peak- Northeast Ridge   

Started from the lower trailhead at the Montezuma Basin, Pearl Pass junction at 7am. Arrived at the upper trailhead at 7:50am. You're just walking along a rocky road, gradually ascending up into the basin. There was still a good amount of snow covering parts of the trail, I would recommend some traction devices, although I saw people do without. The technical climbing doesn't start until around 13,800ft. Nothing too difficult, the rock is mostly solid, but still be wary with your handholds. Reached the summit of Castle at 9:20am. The decent down the saddle to Conundrum is loose and steep in places. Watch your footing and watch out for rock fall. No real technical climbing to reach Conundrum, summited at 10am. 14ers.com does show a route that descends down from the saddle between the peaks into the basin. While this is a viable route, that avoids having to re-summit the loose scree up the northwest ridge of Castle, be aware that rockfall is a huge concern here. The rock is very loose and it is very steep. The group I hiked with had to descend one at a time because we were causing rockfall onto one another. Plus there is still a lot of snow/ice in the basin. Glissading is possible if you have an ice axe, otherwise it was very slick and icy by 10:30am. Overall great weather, the trail is easy to follow along the entire route. The views of the Elk mountains and the Maroon Belles are amazing from both summits. I returned back to my vehicle at 12:10pm.


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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