Combo Castle Peak and Conundrum
I hiked Castle and Conundrum solo during a road trip on vacation in the fall of 2016. We were there during a weekday late in the season when snow was already common in the high country affording us less crowds. We drove the gnarly 4WD road to the upper trailhead, a road my partner and I agreed never to drive again after that. It’s not bad to walk it and better than risking the narrow shelf road especially should you meet another vehicle along the way.
I need to return to climb these two under the 3,000 foot rule. Departing from the upper trailhead I passed several guys on the way up to Castle. Later we chatted at the trailhead and I discovered one guy was from my home state, Nebraska.
I cruised up the spicy ascent up Castle encountering some snow and ice along the way. I nearly got off trail in one area that was exposed and spicy. Once on the ridge I trekked up and over to Castle on relatively easy terrain.
After enjoying the views on the summit I decided to quickly make my way over to Conundrum to stay ahead of the other party. I was on the summit of Conundrum in no time soaking in the view of Castle Peak from that perspective. I again quickly descended to head back to the trailhead. I took the saddle scree shortcut, which I wouldn’t recommend without snow. Just head back up and over Castle to avoid this sufferfest.
The group I passed descended the same section after me and one fella had a blow out of the entire rear of his pants. He was not having a good time! I had a blast on this solo jaunt!
Make sure to stop by Aspen Brewing Company on your way back through town.