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Conundrum Couloir (Snow Route)

Difficult

Trail

0.3 mile 0.6 kilometer point to point
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 740' 226 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 13,991' 4,264 m
Low: 13,251' 4,039 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 40% (22°)
Max Grade: 74% (37°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tyler Prince

An excellent couloir climb or ski/glissade alternative in the spring.

Tyler Prince

Features Views · Wildlife

While most trails this high are restricted in winter, this one's restricted anytime other than spring. In the summer and low snowfall years, there's too much rockfall risk, and in the winter too much avy danger. This route is best left to experienced hikers comfortable on skis and/or crampons.

While a dog can do the standard routes on Castle and Conundrum, leave Fido at home if you plan on Conundrum Couloir.

Description

WARNING: This route is extremely condition-dependent. If you aren't comfortable assessing avalanche and rockfall risk, stay away from this one. Either way, wear a helmet. If doing as a snow climb, an ice axe, crampons, and compatible boots are a necessity. If glissading down, an ice axe is still necessary should a self-arrest be required. It is far too steep to skin.

Leave the Castle Peak trail at around 13,100 ft, angling to the right of Montezuma Basin. Walking along the eastern side of Conundrum Peak. Come to a couloir in less than a quarter mile and just about 200-300 ft of gain. This is more or less impossible to miss: it's the giant gully to the right. Climb up a 40-50 degree chute for about 500-600 vertical feet as the gully narrows. There will be rock bands on either side, and if snow cover is low, loose rock at the top.

Come to the top of the gully, possibly cresting a cornice. From here, continue about 50-100 ft to the right over to the Conundrum Peak summit. Turn around for a glissade/ski descent, or take the Conundrum Peak trail, heading up and over Castle Peak, or simply descend into Montezuma Basin on foot or glissade.

Flora & Fauna

With snow in the area, you're unlikely to see either plants or animals.

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  5.0 from 1 vote

#2801

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Trail Rankings

#283

in Colorado

#2,801

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Photos

A look down from about halfway up the couloir. Looks pretty nasty, huh? But a ton of fun...
Mar 19, 2015 near Aspen, CO
A fun ski down Conundrum Couloir.
Mar 20, 2015 near Aspen, CO
Heading toward the couloir in a low-snowfall spring.
Mar 19, 2015 near Aspen, CO

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