Ascent of Castle Dome Peak on 2011-12-22

Climber: Eric Noel

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, December 22, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Castle Dome Peak
    Elevation:3788 ft / 1154 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a fun scramble with a decent approach and overall I enjoyed this peak. Drive the Castle Dome Mine Road in from the SW on an excellent road for 10 miles to the mine. Continue on N as the road weaves around and park at a wash area where the wash to the East is blocked by some metal fence posts to prevent driving at 33.0988 and -114.1758. The road is rough in a few spots and requires high clearance as I recall. Maybe 4WD. Hike the wash Eastish and at the beginning you'll want to keep an eye out as the natural tendency is to take the first drainage ahead of you. But you'll want to curve a little bit left (North) here to get into the main drainage. The wash is soft gravel rather than rocks and bootprints light the way. Follow this for perhaps a mile and a half as it flatly makes its way up the wash and the impressive block of Castle Dome comes into view. Quick travel. Look for a rock arrow cairn on the wash floor at about 2040'. Turn right here out of the wash but after about 15 horizontal feet you want to turn left through a little brush. The goal is to rise up with the lip of the wash as it forms a wall above the S side of the wash. The way quickly flattens after maybe 50' vertical and you traverse through fairly open terrain and then along the narrow lip. A bootpath starts to form and from here you should be finding a bootpath for most of the way to the peak. The bootpath continues towards a rock cluster and then heads up towards the peak at a gradually steepening angle. You'll pass through some rock gates and here the terrain becomes talus like. Ick, oh well. The path is braided a bit here with two main paths. Continue on and you'll work a little bit left when requires as you work up towards the pinnacle saddle.

The scramble starts maybe 15 vertical feet below the pinnacle saddle. Find a ramp with lots of little knobby holds and stuff. Arguably the crux but it is not exposed and goes as class 3. Then angle slightly left and head up to a little 7 foot wide arch thingie. Turn sharply left and do a somewhat exposed but walkable traverse as you follow cairns. Continue on as it heads back upward on some class 2/easy 3 rock scrambling up white rocks. At one point the bootpath crosses quickly back to the left through a little notch. Continue on up and hit the ridge. Go right on walking terrain and touch the various boulder groups. Ammo can register for this popular peak.

Descent was pretty unremarkable. Scrambling is all easy enough that it can be done face out on the descent. A bit of exposure in spots but nothing troubling.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2138 ft / 651 m
    Elevation Loss:2138 ft / 651 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Quite windy but otherwise enjoyable
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2118 ft / 645 m
    Extra Loss:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:Road  1690 ft / 515 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:2118 ft / 645 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:Road Saddle  1690 ft / 515 m

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