Ascent of Castle Peak on 2007-06-02

Climber: Patrick Lilly

Others in Party:Trisha Conlon
Date:Saturday, June 2, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Castle Peak
    Elevation:14265 ft / 4347 m

Ascent Trip Report

Our first real snow climb. Parked at the first stream crossing (10,160 ft.) on the Castle Creek access road. Set off at 6:24 am. Found snow still blocking the road less than a mile up. Stripped off two layers within an hour. Donned crampons at around 11,500 ft. Montezuma Basin road intermittently covered with snow. Beautiful morning; very hot climbing snow to reach upper basin. We decided then to take the NE ridge route, instead of the NW ridge as originally planned, because it looked easier. It wasn't. Still lots of snow on the upper ridges. Both crampons and ice axes definitely needed. Difficulty definitely exceeded the textbook 2-plus in a few places. Bypassing some of the ridge points was dicey on steep snow. Took seven hours to reach the summit (1:30 pm). Descended the NW ridge, confirming that it would have been an easier ascent (live and learn...). Great fun glissading off the ridge down into the upper basin, and again off the lip of the upper basin down to the frozen lake, which was just becoming visible. Did a few sections of postholing due to snow softening in the afternoon sun. Removed crampons at about 12,500 ft. and avoided snow thereafter. Due to time, had to bail on doing Conundrum too--biggest disappointment of the day. The top of the Conundrum Couloir was impressively corniced. Made the descent in 4 hours.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4105 ft / 1251 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4105 ft / 1251 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.7 mi / 15.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4105 ft / 1251 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Montezuma Basin, NE ridge
    Start Trailhead:first creek crossing  10160 ft / 3096 m
    Time:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4105 ft / 1251 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    Route:NW Ridge, Montezuma Basin
    End Trailhead:first creek crossing  10160 ft / 3096 m
    Time:4 Hours 

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