Finally back to finish off Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak after bailing just short of the summit last year due to snow and loose rock.
#41 and #42 on the 14er list under the belt, just a year later.
With much less snow below, Dasani and I drove the Jeep up to the final trailhead at 12,800 feet which drops 2,000 feet of vertical off of last year’s attempt. The road is pretty rough, but it sure beats walking!
Without a fresh covering of snow, the trail up Castle Peak is pretty straightforward even with a bit of loose rock that is typical in the Elk Range.

Conundrum Couloir

Conundrum Couloir
Morning sun lights up Conundrum Peak.

Multicolor Layers

Multicolor Layers below Conundrum
Tan in front, green in the middle, red in the back under blue sky

Summit Fever

Summit Fever on Conundrum Peak
Dasani is all smiles!

After summiting Castle (14,274 feet), you drop down the saddle between the peaks then regain the elevation to the 14,037 foot summit of Conundrum. This is the crappiest part of the trail, loose scree and dirt, but still nothing too bad.
The summit of Conundrum is also nothing special, a simple Class 2 climb and voila – 2 14ers in one hike.

The Bowl

The Bowl below Conundrum
Looking down at the lake between Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak.

Long Road Home

Long Road Home
You can see the four-wheel drive road to get to the trailhead.

Going back over Castle, we ran into a young guy carrying an ice ax – his plan was to descend the ice in the Conundrum Couloir and save a bunch of elevation gain and mileage. Brave of him with so little snow, never did see him again after then.
Next weekend we’re off to Kit Carson and Challenger Point, a little closer to home and an area I’ve not visited before!

Down the Couloir

Down the Couloir
Just enough snow in the couloir for brave souls to try to head down and to save mileage and elevation gain going back over Castle Peak.

2 thoughts on “Castle and Conundrum

    1. It’s all perspective! You learn foundational pieces, and then you learn more building blocks on top of that, and soon your comfort level is pretty high. You just have to do an honest assessment of the risk vs your skill level and choose go/no-go accordingly

Leave a Reply