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July 10, 2010

Redeemed

Cathedral Peak

It was my housemate, Tudor Dimofte’s, first time in Aspen. So I thought I would take him up to Electric Pass. The view from the peak is, in my opinion, the most spectacular in this part of Colorado – and the ascent is a good introduction to hiking in these parts.

Unfortunately, our plans were thwarted. From the saddle, one has to traverse a very steep scree slope to reach the pass. There used to be a trail which cut, horizontally, across the scree slope and snow field (which often extended down past the trail). Unfortunately, that trail no longer exists. Instead, an indistinct trail meanders up and down the scree field, until finally petering out entirely, midway across.

a very friendly marmot approaches us, as we eat lunch

Greg Moore, I later learned, had been able to reach the pass last year, but this year (he tried the day after we did), he had to turn back … as did a long line of hikers ahead of us. We tried to press on, picking our way slowly across the scree slope, but with strong gusting winds, and very unstable rock, we had to turn back a couple of hundred yards shy of the pass.

Deprived of our goal, we (and our companion, Sonia Paban) repaired to Cathedral Lake for lunch and an encounter with a very friendly marmot. Not a bad day, all in all, but a bit disappointing.

Today, however, I redeemed myself.

Castle Peak (in the distance), with the false peak in the foreground

view from Castle

the ridge to Conundrum

With Andy Millis and Jared Kaplan, we decided to climb Castle Peak (14,265’). We left the car at 9786’, to begin our climb. It sure would have been nice to have crampons to ascend the snow fields; I found doing it in boots to be exhausting. Eventually, after 5.4 miles and 4200’ of elevation gain, we made it to the ridge. We got as far is the false peak, just before the main peak (and just over 14,000’), when it began to snow.

The views were fantastic, and we would have continued further, perhaps even traversing the ridge to Conundrum Peak, but snow was falling, we heard thunder in the distance, and better part of valour was to begin our descent.

That, of course, was when the real fun started. Let’s just say that our descent was rather more rapid than our ascent.

action shot: Tudor sliding down from Castle

action shot: Tudor sliding down from Castle

action shot: Tudor sliding down from Castle

Posted by distler at July 10, 2010 10:09 PM

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Re: Redeemed

Congratulations on getting up (most of) Castle. By strange coincidence, I was about to blog about my own climb to just over 14k this week. White Mountain in California on the 4th July. More later…

Enjoy Aspen!

Cheers,


-cvj

Posted by: cvj on July 10, 2010 10:58 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Redeemed

May I ask if there’s a conference or something going on in Colorado?

Posted by: Steve on July 11, 2010 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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