Castle Peak

Date to Climb: July 07, 2009

Date Climbed: July 28, 2009

Elevation: 14,265

Range: Elk

Latitude: 39.77210, Longitude: -106.83050

Round-Trip Mileage: 10

Pre-Climb Comments

A fun scramble, but another long day. I am sure we will be happy once the Elks are completed. Everything was either long, hard, or both long and hard. It should be a good peak except for the long road approach.

Post-Climb Comments

We breezed through Aspen, ate a pizza and went grocery shopping. If you are noticing a trend, we were obsessed with eating. By now in the trip we were always hungry and saw that if we did not eat a lot, then we would climb poorly the next day.

Heading toward Castle, we found a spot on the lower road (before it started up.) We parked for the night. It was a great little pull off for sleeping in the Element.

Morning had us walking up another dusty road. At least at that time of the morning we did not have too much traffic. The major advantage of a road is that generally they are easy to walk and do not have much grade of incline. The one exception was the Como Road, which was hardly walkable due to the loose, fist size rocks.

We kept a steady pace and beat most of the drivers to the upper trailhead, at 12,800. Sitting on some rocks we looked at the snowfields. There were a few folks on the slopes all having trouble as they tried to ascend, but none having snow or ice tools.

castle summit block

Climbing the Summit Block

Gearing up we got on the snow. It was a good hardpack, but with crampons and an ice axe, it was a walk in the park. Climbing at a steady pace we quickly reached the upper basin. The route switched to rock as the trail climbed a few hundred feet up a shale scree slope to a ridge. The trail was not great but most of the scree stayed in place.

Castle Summit

Castle Summit

Gaining the ridge, the climbing became more fun. Shelves led to small moves up steeper sections of rock. Though the rock was still loose, there had been so much traffic on the route that it was relatively solid. At the summit block there was one more move and then the top.

We met some folks at the summit with the Aspen Ballet. It was nice talking to them. They had driven to the upper parking, so they offered us a ride down the hill, but we rejected it.


A fun Glissade

Overall, we liked Castle. The highlights were the ridge and then a big glisade back down the snowfield. The lowlights were the road, but we would still walk it instead of driving it.

We were done with the Elks.

50 peaks climbed, 4 to go!

Castle Peak - July 28, 2009 summit check