Saturday, August 07, 2010

Castle and Conundrum

Dalton below Castle

Dalton and I left town on Friday afternoon and camped on the Aspen side of Independence Pass.  A cop came by and told us we weren't supposed to camp along the road, but as long as we were gone by early morning we could stay.

glissade from ridge to lake
We crossed the creek and parked at a nice camp site below the two water falls.  We started the tedious hike up the road.  The creek was flowing down the road at one point.  Just past the end of the road we engaged a fun snow climb.  Crampons weren't needed, but we had to kick steps a couple of times.
Dalton Class 4

As you enter the basin we encountered the nasty switchbacks up to ridge.  The rock is loose and the way a bit steep.  Once on the ridge it was a more enjoyable with Class 2+ goings.  We strayed of the ridge proper, so Dalton found a Class 4 arete and I went up a nasty loose gully.  We gained the summit and had it to ourselves for quite awhile.
We decided to bag Conundrum too, so we started to cross the connecting ridge.  The ridge turned out to be very windy and cold.  After hopping rocks to get to the Conundrum summit, we turned back to get to the large snowfield on the Gary Roach approach.
Dalton on lower glissade

The glissade started off a bit through the rocks.  We tried to keep enough snow under us to surf over the rock field.  The glissade below was a swift slope of fun.  This mountain has more glissade available after you cross the lake basin.  Very fun glissading down to the road.  There were people sliding without ice axe or even poles, but luckily nobody got hurt.  Of course after my Sherman encounter, I always take an axe.

After slogging back down the road, we took a nap at our nice camp.  That night I won the hot dog eating contest.  We didn't want to leave any food out, since there were bears in the area. 

Obligatory Maroon Bell Shot
Sunday we took a trip up to Marble then took a nice long soak in the Penny Hot Springs.  Dalton had a great time trying to get his rock wall just right to get the hotness dialed in.  That night Dalton got sick on a mushroom burger at Little Annies.  The next morning we had planned to climb Pyramid, but decided to just go to Maroon Lake to take a look at the Bells after he had a long night of puking.

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