Gunnison County High Point Trip Report

Castle Peak (14,265 ft)

Date: June 8, 2002
Author: Fred Lobdell

This climb is divided into four sections. First there is a road walk, followed by ascending several snow fields, then a trail that climbs to Castle's northeast ridge, and finally a rock scramble with a little exposure up the ridge to the summit. How long this hike is and how much elevation you have to gain depends on how far you can push your vehicle up the rough road that leads toward the basin on Castle's north side.

The first hazard is the stream crossing a little below 10,200 feet, but we were able to negotiate this in the SUV without much difficulty. Somewhere above 11,000 feet a snow drift blocked the road, but we were able to break through this, too, after several attempts. There were no tire tracks in the snow drift, and we were probably the first vehicle past this point this season. We got as far as just below the old Montezuma Mine, at around 12,600 feet, leaving us with a one-way hike of 2 miles or a little less, and a total elevation gain of about 1,700 feet.

I want to thank Dave and Beckie Covill for shepherding me up Castle Peak, and not letting me turn back when I might have been inclined to had I been alone.

After we regained the vehicle we drove back down to where we had camped the night before, and where we had left my vehicle. We then drove down canyon to Glenwood Springs, where we had intended to have dinner. But as we approached the town we saw clouds of smoke rising from the other side of the ridge west of town, and by the time we got to Glenwood Springs most of the western sky was red with the glow of a large wildfire. So we got gas and headed east (the westbound interstate was closed west of this point) for about 50 miles to Eagle, where we had some dinner. This is as close as I've been to a large fire.