How to get there:
One should climb this (secondary) peak together with Castle Peak.
The approach to both peaks is the same.
A natural starting point is the resort town of Aspen.
Just north of town, on the main street, there is a new traffic
circle. Go around it and take the last exit (before returning to Aspen), called
Castle Creek Road. Drive up the valley along this road for about 21 km, the dirt
going right is clearly marked (there is a sign saying "trailhead parking"
on the right
immediately before the road starts). (Actually, the main road was
closed to traffic at
this point as well, but I guess that was temporary.)
The dirt road quickly becomes
a 4WD road, it goes all the way to 3900 m, but there is good parking around the
second creek crossing at about 3350 m. We parked there in order to make the clim
have reasonable gain of elevation. Route description:
The first part of the route is the same as for Castle Peak
(see description there), we climbed this peak from Castle Peak.
From the summit of Castle Peak, head down the north-west ridge towards
the saddle between Castle and Conundrum. There is a clear trail and
no difficulties. Once in the saddle, proceed up the connecting ridge
to Conundrum. Again, there are no particular difficulties.
Our return route can also be used as a direct route to Conundrum without
the climb of Castle Peak. Return from Conundrum to the saddle, then descend
on a fairly easy scree slope to the permanent snow field. This snow field is
less steep close to the Conundrum side, we could easily hike down without
any snow equipment. Clearly, there may be times when an ice axe and possibly
crampons will be helpful. Comments:
I did this climb with Pål Jørgen, age 12. The Conundrum
peak has two summits separated by the top of a distinct (snow) couloir
that comes up from the basin below. The first summit has a cairn and
the summit register. However, Gerry Roach refers to the second summit as being
the highest. We climbed both summits and based on the simple test of
checking if you can see across a summit to the horizon behind, it seems like
the first summit may be the highest.
It can be added that the word "conundrum" means a difficult question
or paradox to which no easy answer exists.
as seen from Castle Peak. Note the snow gully
between the two summits. It appeared to us that
the left summit was indeed the highest.