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Elks Mountains Snowmass, Castle and Conundrum (30+ miles in 1 day)


jgar15
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A full report can be found on my blog at jgar15.blogspot.com along with stories of 6,000 other miles of hiking!

Snowmass Mountain: I climbed the east ridge after camping only a couple miles into the hike at the first spot near the stream. The hike was easy to follow and straightforward with the exception of some mud and overgrown bushes around snowmass lake. The log jam was very stable and much easier to cross than I had initially anticipated. The only true difficult part of the hike came while climbing (and descending) the scree field that leads up and away from the lake up the the summit. This was very loose and nearly too steep to walk straight up without sliding back every step. I am very glad that I had trekking poles to use to push myself up this slippery slope. the field did claim the tip of one of my poles though. Once out of the scree field it is boulder hopping up the the ridge that you climb before following it across to the snowmass summit. Above the scree field it is essentially a create your own adventure and you can (and people did) take any route up to the summit.

Castle Peak: This was essentially a road walk for the large majority as I did not drive far at all up the road. Once at the end of the road it is rock hopping up to the lake where you can find a trail that climbs along the east ridge and winds its way up to the summit. It is very easy to stay at class 2 at the most difficult if you are smart about the route you take. 

Conundrum peak: The traverse from Castle across to Conundrum is very straightforward and clearly defined. There was no lingering snow between the two peaks on Conundrum and the sunset from the top here was absolutely amazing. The route down that I took involved finding the low point of the ridge between the two peaks and descending down into the valley where the frozen lake sits. It was very tough climbing down through the wintery mix of loose rock and snow. I went around the left side of the lake and was able to aim for the road instead of attempting to refind the trail down. It was getting very dark and therefore it was hard to avoid falling in the boulder field but I managed to make it back to the 4WD road and continued my night hike back to the car. I saw a few pairs of eyes during the walk down, but nothing too threatening. 

Snowmass.JPG

Conundrum.JPG

Castle.JPG

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A full report can be found on my blog at jgar15.blogspot.com along with stories of 6,000 other miles of hiking!

Snowmass Mountain: I climbed the east ridge after camping only a couple miles into the hike at the first spot near the stream. The hike was easy to follow and straightforward with the exception of some mud and overgrown bushes around snowmass lake. The log jam was very stable and much easier to cross than I had initially anticipated. The only true difficult part of the hike came while climbing (and descending) the scree field that leads up and away from the lake up the the summit. This was very loose and nearly too steep to walk straight up without sliding back every step. I am very glad that I had trekking poles to use to push myself up this slippery slope. the field did claim the tip of one of my poles though. Once out of the scree field it is boulder hopping up the the ridge that you climb before following it across to the snowmass summit. Above the scree field it is essentially a create your own adventure and you can (and people did) take any route up to the summit.

Castle Peak: This was essentially a road walk for the large majority as I did not drive far at all up the road. Once at the end of the road it is rock hopping up to the lake where you can find a trail that climbs along the east ridge and winds its way up to the summit. It is very easy to stay at class 2 at the most difficult if you are smart about the route you take. 

Conundrum peak: The traverse from Castle across to Conundrum is very straightforward and clearly defined. There was no lingering snow between the two peaks on Conundrum and the sunset from the top here was absolutely amazing. The route down that I took involved finding the low point of the ridge between the two peaks and descending down into the valley where the frozen lake sits. It was very tough climbing down through the wintery mix of loose rock and snow. I went around the left side of the lake and was able to aim for the road instead of attempting to refind the trail down. It was getting very dark and therefore it was hard to avoid falling in the boulder field but I managed to make it back to the 4WD road and continued my night hike back to the car. I saw a few pairs of eyes during the walk down, but nothing too threatening. 

Snowmass.JPG

Conundrum.JPG

Castle.JPG

Very nice report, and I loved the first photo......excellent work!

I can see you have a great deal of experience and ability, looking forward to more

 

Gary M

 

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