Castle Peak Colorado Ski Descent — October Surprise


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 17, 2002      
Carl and Lou on the summit, Lou stands on the summit cairn for the ultimate launch.

Carl and Lou on the summit, Lou stands on the summit cairn for the ultimate launch. The rope is to safeguard our start down a possible avalanche zone.

Clouds roiled around us — shuttering the sun like a disco strobe as a strong southern wind raked the summit of Castle Peak. Carl post-holed the last few feet to the summit, while Bill and I tried to figure a way with less effort, but without straying too far onto the east face.

It is October, when Colorado mountains are usually dry as a banker’s hands, scoured and useless for meaty backcountry skiing descents that leave you feeling like you did the mountain justice — that you honored tradition by skiing it the way it was made to be skied. Such ski descents in October? Not likely — but this October of 2002 is different. Central Colorado has a ton of snow, look for an excellent season at resorts such as Aspen, and backcountry such as…everywhere!

Northerly side of Castle Peak.

Northerly side of Castle Peak.

We climbed the ridge to the left (East Ridge), using the summer trail which was easily bootable with a bit of punching. The ridge down to the couloir required a bit of monkey business to ski from the summit, but it was fun. Couloir had difficult snow, but Carl and I made turns. Bill left his skis down below because he’s still learning about backcountry skiing, but he had a good time as well.

Near our parking spot, the view up towards Montezuma Basin, Conundrum Peak at center and right. Castle Peak out of photo to left.

Near our parking spot, the view up towards Montezuma Basin, Conundrum Peak at center and right. Castle Peak out of photo to left.

Chaining up for Montezuma is a local tradition. Nothing works better than a big beater Chevy for snow busting.

Chaining up for Montezuma is a local tradition. Nothing works better than a big beater Chevy for snow busting.

Bill charging up the East Ridge trail, a good winter route because it's almost always wind scoured. I've lost count...

Bill charging up the East Ridge trail, a good winter route because it’s almost always wind scoured. I’ve lost count…

Low on the East Ridge, the October sun stays on the horizon, teasing us with its warmth, winking through clouds.

Low on the East Ridge, the October sun stays on the horizon, teasing us with its warmth, winking through clouds.

Carl backcountry skiing in the couloir. Snow was winded reverse density, not hero fluff, but fun anyhow.

Carl backcountry skiing in the couloir. Snow was winded reverse density, not hero fluff, but fun anyhow.



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