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Album: trips:United-States:CO:The-Castle

1 Jun 2008: The Castle (9691 ft / 2954 m)

South East Gully, 5.4

The Castle is a rather obscure climb that I became interested in a few years ago after seeing it on I liked it because it is close and it has a couple technical rock moves plus I get to climb a tree! How fun!. At about only 1,600 vertical feet something that can be done quickly so I can do some other things around town.

The reality was a little less glamorous. The trailless hike up to the cliffs was annoying - quite steep and lots of loose pebbles an pine needles. And there was some up and down actually trying to find the gully. I arrived at the start of the climb at the same time I thought I would be coming down from the summit. And it was warm enough that my water was gone but for a few swigs.

The remaining 400 ft were a little disappointing until just under the summit. It began with the 5.4 move(s) out of a chimney - awkward. From there it was a lot of scrambling over and around boulders past and through bushes and trees - a bit annoying. Finally I was at a "hanging garden" surrounded by numerous highpoints. The fun part was a 25 ft climb up a tree followed by stepping across to a low angle crack with another tree just above. That was really enjoyable. Then I was in a notch but I was an inch shy of being able to reach the top of the rock to pull myself onto the summit. I resorted to throwing a loop of my rappel rope up there. It snagged on a little nubbing of rock near the edge and I tied a foot loop. That gave me enough height to grab the top and pull myself up to the summit. Sweet!

This mountain gets few visitors. The summit logbook was the original pocket notebook placed eight years earlier by guidebook authors Jennifer and Gerry Roach. That's a nice one to get your name in. I didn't linger long and set up my rappel after putting the log book back. Soon I was back in the garden, then down the gully where I finished with another rappel down to my trekking poles. Another hour and a half or so and I was back at the trailhead.

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