Route: North Face Couloir
Team: Christy, Ted
A few days after skiing both Castle and Conundrum peaks with Adrian, Christy and I headed up. Today was a weekend day though, and it was crowded. Nowadays, with all the near “real-time” trip reports you can find online, everyone and their mothers were up looking for some early season glory. It was a real junk show, complete with stuck cars, snowshoers with skis/boards and boots hanging from backpacks, and of course, dogs. We joined the weekend warriors in the fun.
Bad karma that had been piling up as a result of my complaining about the scene through the morning manifested itself in the form of a broken ski pole. The lower carbon shaft had snapped as Christy whacked her ski to clear the skins of snow and our goal of skiing Castle’s summit looked to be finished. Luckily, after a quick MacGyver move involving a bobby pin off her head, the extension tube of her Life-Link shovel, and some tape from the first aid kit we had it fixed and we were back on the skin track (although it was trashed by a hiker).
We skinned to the saddle, and then towards the summit, eventually having to boot to the top— all the while in and out of the clouds. The ski down was sweet. With everyone else staying down on the lower slopes of Montezuma Basin, we had Castle Peak all to ourselves, if only for a short while.
Conundrum would have to wait, the weather was deteriorating so we figured we’d be happy to go home with what we got.
Leki replaced the ski pole free of charge- thanks Leki!