Castle Peak (11,300) summit question

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Castle Peak (11,300) summit question

Postby kirkmallory » Mon May 23, 2005 2:30 pm

A few of you on this board have climbed 11,300-foot Castle Peak, so I have a question for you about which summit is higher.

I successfully climbed the eastern summit, which required a good bit of scrambling. However, the tower just to my west looked almost as high - perhaps slightly lower, but too hard to tell. It was vertical on all sides and even had rap slings below its top. There appeared to be a cairn on its summit, but it was hard to tell. There was no way I would attempt it solo. What I'm not sure about is whether or not I reached the highest point of the peak - so that I can count this. The eastern summit that I did reach had old cables, and eyebolt similar to those on Longs' Cables Route, and some broken glass.

Does any of you know which summit is the highest point of Castle Peak?
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Interesting question

Postby John Kirk » Mon May 23, 2005 3:07 pm

I looked at the profile for Castle Peak 11,300' and saw that several people have it marked, however, I wonder if there was some confusion between it and Castle Peak 14,265'. I will send out an email to everyone who has claimed it to verify that and perhaps hopefully answer your question. What class (3/4, higher) do you think the east summit was?
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Postby kirkmallory » Mon May 23, 2005 3:30 pm

I was wondering the same thing, although many of those who have it on their list have both Castles.

It was definitely third class, maybe a bit of fourth. A route up it looked improbable until I was just below it. I went in with the attitude that I was doing recon, and to summit it would be a bonus. I just wish I knew for sure if I reached the true summit! I approached from the east - from the curve on the road before it crosses Milk Creek. There was a lot of bushwhacking & steep side-hilling at first before reaching the open meadows of Castle Park. I gained the southeast ridge, then approached the south face. There are several towers, but from the south, two appear to be the likely candidates. I climbed up a steep ramp system (loose rock) to gain the summit crest just below the western tower that leads to the summit crest just east of the western tower, followed the crest east, then gained the eastern summit with a couple of Class 3-4 moves.
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Postby DSunwall » Mon May 23, 2005 3:41 pm

I was guilty, too many Castle Peaks, guess I went through the list too fast.
Kirk you need one of those sight levels, I picked one up at Home
Depot the other day but havn't had the need to use it yet.
http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN ... X-_-167003
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Postby AaronIhinger » Mon May 23, 2005 5:59 pm

Hey Kirk...
I've been up there five times, and though the two towers at the East end of the massif, my recollection is that they stand North and South of each other (maybe S/W & N/E). This doesn't really jive with your account, so I may just be adding to the confusion here, sorry... However, your description sounds just like what I would be calling the South Summit (S/W) which I also presumed to be higher. It had cables, eye bolts, and a glass register. I followed the dense N/E ridge up to the summit towers, then crept along a narrow ledge out onto the East face, 100' + above the boulder field, then followed a scree gully up between the two towers at the East end of the massif. I'm sorry to here about the broken glass, that would most likely have been the register, it was just a mason jar with a notepad inside. Upon further thought, I'm wondering if you're not even considering the Northern tower in the debate, but maybe the next tower over to the West in the long line of the descending summits of the Massif. In which case, I would say that the summit is (in my opinion) at the far East end, and the Southernmost of the most Eastern two. Do you recall a slightly lower pinnacle to the North of you?
I hope this is helpful!
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Postby mikegarratt » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:26 pm

On my second solo visit to the peak I took a rope to rap off the second summit from the east. It looks very close in height to the east one.
The sling was mine.
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Postby AaronIhinger » Sat Jun 04, 2005 9:31 pm

Here are some pics of the East Face. You can see the sunlit ledge about half way up... This is the key to the East Face route... Super Fun!
Attachments
NE Ridge.jpg
E Face.jpg
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Postby kirkmallory » Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:15 pm

Aaron, thanks for posting those pics. From this angle, it does look like two towers that are north & south of each other on the east end of the summit ridge. But in my attached picture, taken from the southeast, the easternmost tower (with the small notch in it) is the same as the leftmost tower in your picture. This was definitly NOT a candidate for the summit. I believe the tower in the middle in your picture is the same as the 2nd from the right in my picture. This is the "easier" summit I reached. The more blocky tower (3rd from right, 2nd from left in my picture; probably 3rd from left, 2nd from right in your pics) is the one in question. Did you ever climb that one?

Based on Mike Garratt's response, I'm not sure I feel comfortable counting this. It is checked off the list for now. Seems like this one needs to be handleveled.
Attachments
Castle from SE closer.jpg
Summit ridge with four towers - the two in the middle are the highest.
Castle blocky tower from E summit.jpg
The blocky tower to the west from the Eastern summit.
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Postby AaronIhinger » Mon Jun 06, 2005 7:11 pm

They are completely different vantages, aren't they... I have to agree with your assessment. I'm thinking that I bypassed the the little twin tipper for the next one, and then forgot about it in my description. It has been a decade. :roll: I'm certain by your description that we at least found the same summit. I'm thinking we ought to just go back there together one day soon and climb them all, just to put this thing to rest. I hate those little monkeys too, actually not really, they can be very inspiring... Let me know when you're ready, as I stated earlier though short, it was one of the funner (more fun) routes I've been on in Colorado, and I'd be glad to share it... Bring your sight level! Aaron
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Postby kirkmallory » Tue Jun 07, 2005 2:56 pm

If (or when?) I go back, I'll definitely bring a level. I'd have to buy one first. I'll still hope to find out before then if someone knows for sure which is higher, but hope is running out. I probably won't get back to it this summer - maybe this fall if I haven't found out by then. I'll let you know if I decide to go back this year.

How did you approach it? From the north? That probably wasn't an option in May when I did it, but I wonder if it's shorter without snow.
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Count me in

Postby John Kirk » Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:16 pm

Keep me in the loop for this one - later in the fall sounds good if you guys wouldn't mind me joining.
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Postby AaronIhinger » Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:20 pm

You're on John, it'd be great to meet you... A harness was not needed for the one I thought was higher, however it does sound as though one is needed for the contender, we'd better go prepared!
Kirk, I came up Milk Crk. rd. almost to the Coberly Gap, a small saddle at the West end of Horse Mtn. There is a dirt road heading South before the gap which gets you within a mile or two of the summit, giving you a North Easterly approach...
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Postby kirkmallory » Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:04 pm

Tim Worth posted this today on the Prominence Yahoo group board:

"From the highest rock knob on the NW edge of the summit area, I took
careful hand level readings of the two towers to the west. The
eastern(also a bit northerly), of these two was considerably lower;
the western tower was very close, but also leveled lower on repeated
sightings, I'd guess it's 3-4 ft lower. Now normally I'd backsight
from the other point as confimation but as mentioned this westernmost
pillar is technical, no way I was getting up there. A backsight would
make it 100% conclusive, but based on the evidence I think that the
table-top eastern summit is indeed the highest point."

I feel much better about counting it now.
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Postby RyanSchilling » Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:24 am

I noticed recently that Castle Peak has its own section in the Pearson/Fielder BLM guide 'Colorado's Canyon Country'. Section 40, page 204. They suggest the same approach that Kirk and Aaron used.

It mentions that Castle is an "outlier of volcanic rock similar in age and origin to the expanses of volcanic strata underlying the Flat Tops."
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Postby mikegarratt » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:00 pm

Interesting.

For clarification, the eastern most point the one with the register.
I free climbed up the next summit to the west.
The rock is quite rotten.
I climbed up with a rope so I could safely rappel down rather than down climb.
That summit is very close in height to the eastmost summit.
The summits to the west of these two most easternly ones are lower.

Mike
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