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Ascent to Castle Peak-west turret on 2013-12-14

Climber: Patrick Bergeron

Others in Party:Nathan Bolger
Date:Saturday, December 14, 2013
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Castle Peak - west turret
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:9030 ft / 2752 m

Ascent Trip Report

With this being the first trip I've taken since injuring my knee, we chose this as a relaxed route with no real objective in mind. Ground had 12-18" of powder, and with perfect, sunny weather, we had a gorgeous, fun day. I think this is a fantastic introductory winter route if you're ever looking to give someone a sample of what winter cross-country/mountaineering is like. The angles aren't very steep, and the views are great.

Nathan and I left San Jose at 4am and were on the trail by 9am with stops for breakfast and gear. Grabbed Sno-Park passes from the Boreal Inn and parked at the Sno-Park area in front of the Inn on the south side of I-80. From there, we took the Hole in the Ground trail up to Castle Pass and then Castle Peak's west ridge. A popular route, the path leading to Castle Ridge had been packed down pretty well by the week's snowshoe/cross-country traffic. Only after Castle Pass did we don snowshoes. As you might've read, Castle Peak consists of 3 "turrets", each of which gets progressively higher as you go east, with the 3rd one being the proper highpoint.

From the west, the eastern turret appears, at a distance, to be class 4+. After reading about it at home, there's apparently an easier class 3 route is on the opposite (east/south) side, out of view. Either way, my knee was in no condition for a class 3 ascent. We enjoyed a long lunch and took our time heading down.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2230 ft / 678 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:Hole in the Ground; Castle Pass; west ridge
    Trailhead:Sno Park Parking Lot  7200 ft / 2194 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Patrick Bergeron
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




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