Frank Konsella, Dave Bourassa, Mark Caveliero, and Nate
Route Description: Climbed up near Montezuma basin, then on the eastern ridge. Skied East Face.
Data: Began skinning at 5 am around the snowline at 10,400 ft on Castle Creek road. We skinned and hiked up the road to Montezuma Basin. From there, some people boot packed most of the way, but I opted to skin as far as I could up Montezuma Basin until we reached the scree field near the ridge. We reached the summit around 9:30 am. We skied the east face from the summit all the way down to the Wilson and Taggert huts at 12,558 ft. We were back at the car before noon. Total vert climbed: 3,850 ft. Total vert skied: 1,700 ft. Total time: a bit under 7 hours.
Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report
2nd Trip- South Face (26 June 2008)
Castle is one of my most favorite peaks- whether it be to look at it, to hike it, or to ski it. Castle is a peak that I recommend for everyone!
I met up with Frank in Crested Butte to do some riding over the Memorial Day weekend. From there, we drove over Kebler pass to meet up with Mark, Nate, and Dave on Castle Creek Road. We didn't arrive until well after dark. Thankfully, Mark had already arrived earlier in the afternoon with his wife and daughter, saving a campsite for us on the crowded road. Because it was dark, Frank and I had a difficult time finding the campsite because it was after a large stream-crossing that we didn't think was possible to cross. Thankfully, we ran into Dave and Nate driving up the road and they made sure we crossed the stream to find the campsite.
We set up camp late, and woke up early, beginning our hike at 5:30 am. The hike followed a road for a ways, until it opened up to Montezuma Basin. From there we hade our way up the basin, and then up a scree field to the ridge.
It took 4.5 hours to reach the summit, where the views were amazing! On top of the Elks, you truly do feel like you're on top of the world!
We were able to ski directly from the summit down the East Face of Castle, and the skiing was fantastic. Our timing was perfect on the face and we were able to enjoy perfect corn! We skied all the way to the Wilson and Taggert huts. From there, we were able to ski the road, but had to hike sections in between snow patches. We were back to camp by noon where we cooked a fantastic lunch. We then packed up camp and moved over to Independence Pass to ski that the following day.
Click for a larger view.
Looking back up at our ski route
Photos courtesy of Dave Bourassa.
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