Castle Peak
(Ascent via NE Ridge, Descent via bowl)

11 Jul 2003 - by T Colorado

We were off to Castle Peak (again) -- even though we finished our 14'ers many years ago, it is still fun to go with people who have not. Our friend, Ron, is still working on completing his 14'ers (he has 27 to go) and we thought the descent of Castle would still provide an entertaining glissade. For those of you still planning to do this peak this year, the snow is melting and the glissading becoming limited. We drove up the road past Ashcroft and camped in a designated campsite (there are many). After rising early in the morning, we were treated to a visit by a silver fox while we were drinking our coffee (pretty cool). We drove up the road to the Pearl Pass turnoff and parked. We were hiking by 6:30 a.m. and on the summit of Castle Peak before 10:00 a.m. The NE ridge, which we climbed from the end of the road, was mainly Class 2, though you could make it more fun (and Class 3) by staying on top of the ridge. The rock was solid on the ridge and snow free. The views of the Maroon Bells, Pyramid, Snowmass, Capitol and Cathedral were awesome! Though there were some fires in the state, the haze was minimal and we shared the summit with only 3 other people (that's the reward for climbing on a weekday, I guess). Michael and Ron walked over to Conundrum (been there, done that) and then the three of us met back on the saddle. After two wonderful glissades, we hiked back to the truck, drove back to camp and consumed mass quantities of very good local microbrews, steak, fried potatoes and caesar salad ... you should all be so lucky (haha). Happy trails!

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