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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-02-15||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Close but no cigar. A storm rolled in sooner than I thought and locked up the face making it unsafe to ski (a icy ski descent of Cap is not recommended)... Huge props to Abe aka FireOnTheMountain for his 2nd winter Capitol summit. Thanks so much Abe for breaking trail!
|2014-10-03||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Much more snow on the actual ridge than anticipated-even while ascending from Capitol Lake. We continued despite concerns about the snow, plus strategically placed ice on the technical (that is, strategically placed by the universe to make the route more dangerous ;) but turned back just under the summit of K2-the deep snow on the (SE?) side under the blazing sun and clear skies was worrisome for a future of getting back off the ridge.
|2014-09-20||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: The route is essentially clear of snow and ice all the way to the summit. One notable exception...right at the beginning of the K2 traverse, where you step onto the face, there is a patch of snow and ice. We instead ascended the very dry and somewhat rubbly pitch on the southern aspect of K2, while others did the direct class-4 pitch (east). On our descent, I checked out the K2 traverse, while others did the descent off the class-4 pitch. The traverse is great...mostly dry, some easily avoidable snow...until those last few feet. I ascended to the next line to avoid that snow, and was able to move onto the bottom of the class-4 pitch. But there was some unbelievably invisible ice on one sharply slanted rock...glad I had good hand placement. I was able to stretch over this ice, but only because I am 6‘4".
|2014-09-17||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Standard route is snow-free if you go up and over K2. Stayed on the ridge proper from K2 to the summit to lessen rockfall danger, which entails much more class 4. Aspens in the area are changing, some groves were at peak up high, but the classic valley shot from the TH should be peak in 7-10 days.
|Cool Hand Luke||2014-09-18||3||6||2|
|2014-09-13||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: If you climb within a few days of this report, you will see a snow dusting on the north face of the mountain, including some snow on K2. On the standard route, you won‘t encounter snow until K2 (as per today). The east face has no snow. The north face has some snow on the NW portion, however the NE portion/ridge of K2 has less snow. I climbed down K2 (and up coming back) on the NE ridge of K2 mentioned. The knife edge is clear. Almost all of the lower route to the summit is clear of snow. There are some small patches under rocks and in the shade which are avoidable if the climber wishes. I brought microspikes, but did not need or use them. A guide who has summited Capitol 15 times, (and myself), both advise that you climb to the top of K2, and down the right (N) side where there is less snow, as opposed to traversing around K2. There is some snow on the lower areas of K2 right now, and when there isn‘t, the rock is apparently a lot more loose and unstable on the traverse route.
|2014-09-03||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Ideal climbing conditions Wednesday. The recent snow on the route is almost completely gone. Very small patches of new snow are avoidable. Microspikes/cramp-ons not necessary IMO. One exception, we chose to go up and over K2 because the traverse skirting K2s north side had a little snow and mud.
|2014-08-10||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Excellent conditions TH to Capitol Lake. Camping sites 1-6 were available. Ranger dude visited and pointed out the dispersed camping area that was below sites 1-6. Told us the sites 1-6 were for smaller groups and for larger groups, they should stay below. Our group was size was 6, so all good. Standard route straightforward. Snow is pretty much gone and spots can be avoided. No need for micro-spikes or ice axe. Quite a few folks doing Capitol these days. First time on the steep switchbacks after crossing over the saddle and continuing another 100 yards. Drops you into a gully which you cross and then up-climb the next tiny gully to regain the trail and continue your traverse below the ridge until you get to the big boulders. Carins seem to be pretty well placed all along the trail. Tons of wildflowers.
|2014-07-26||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Road from horse trailer parking to TH especially rugged and does require a high clearance vehicle due to large rocks and sharp bumps. Saw someone had made it to the TH in a Subaru Impreza so you won‘t need a modded Jeep or a Rally truck to get there! Trail clear to just after the K2-Daly saddle. Three or four snow patches that were bulletproof in the early morning on the talus slopes before K2; largest snowfield is easily avoidable by staying high on the talus/boulders below the ridgeline. Remainder of climb clear of snow to the summit. Perfect!
|2014-07-17||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: NE Ridge route still with large snowfield on the ascent to K2 and several smaller snowfields on the traverse from the Mount Daly saddle. An ice axe was necessary for safety to traverse the snowfields. Crampons would have sped the ascent to K2 as the early morning snow was good, but are not necessary. Several climbers stayed high on the Capitol-K2-Daly ridge with no snow equipment.
|2014-07-08||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Still a good patch of snow once over the saddle that needs to be traversed. There is also a big patch of snow that is on the path up to K2. You could probably go under it, but would have to contend with big exposure. Being inexperienced with crampons and snow travel, we turned around before traversing all the way over. The snow was in ok shape but it was still very early and probably would soften up considerably.
|Bill E Goat||2014-07-11||0|
|2014-07-06||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: There was minimal snow up to capitol lake. There was some snow over the drainage stream that runs down the trail right near the camping spots (1-5), and some snow near old avalanche paths lower down but thats about it for the hike in. There was a snow patch on the slope up to the saddle, but that could be easily managed, I don‘t expect that it‘s going to last too much longer. Once you get up to the Saddle though, you‘ll see there is still a ton of snow in the talus field on the other side. An Ice Axe made for pretty quick traveling over this stuff though, and beats hopping across rocks. The snow was still pretty firm early on the morning. Due to some snow still high up on K2, it didn‘t seem very safe to traverse around the peak, and we ended up going up and over it. The decent down the North side was little exposed but doable if your comfortable with some moderate class 4 moves. Once you gain the main ridge to Capitol, it‘s pretty smooth sailing up until about 13,900‘ where there were some small bands of snow covering what I believe was the main trail up to the peak. We ended up just staying high and taking the main ridge all the way up where we could. Heading back down, the glissading was phenomenal, as the snow had softened up to nice consistency by 11am
|2014-06-21||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Friday(6/20/14) hiked up to Capitol Lake to give Cap a try. The trail was dry until around 10,550(about a mile past the creek crossing), then there are series avalanche paths and snow in the trees. From the gate on there are numerous ares of downed trees blocking the trail. At the switchbacks(which we never saw) there was the usual post-hole hell. After that incline there was snow on and off until the last creek crossing where it was continuous snow until the camp sites. Sites 1,2,3,8 were completely clear of snow, however the marmots are awake and ready to eat your stuff. The Capitol Lake area is completely snowed in... Saturday morning we woke up at 2 but weren‘t able to get moving until 4:15! We were able to climb straight from site 1 to half way up the switches back and the take the dry trail to the saddle where we put crampons on for the remainder of the climb until past K2. The snow in the morning was bullet proof, but accepted the ax very well, there was of course continuous snow from the saddle to K2. There was a nice snow ramp direct from ridge to the summit of K2, which made for an easy ascent. The down-climb on the back of K2 was dry, I left my sunglasses on the backside, your welcome to them if you find them. After the down climb there was continuous snow until the last gendarme/pinnacle thingy before the knife edge. It was 7:45 by this point and the snow was already starting to soften up. So, I chickened out and my two partners were not willing continue on either( I am sure they would have continued if I hadn‘t wussed out) . On the traverse back many fine glissades were to be had. However, the snow had already softened up: the top 1-2" of snow was complete crap over a hard bulletproof layer. We had several self arrest events which definitely did not increase the fun factor. The return was about the same, two of us glissaded a slope down the switchbacks and the third quickly post holed his way out. Two of us brought snowshoes and did not find they were worth the calories... Shot me a email if you‘d like full sized photos of the face. Also of note: nasty cornice on K2
|2014-03-14||Route: Northeast Ridge Direct from Moon Lake
Info: A group of 4 of us climbed Capitol Peak on Friday March 14th via the NE Ridge direct. The first 2 miles of trail are on a groomed dogsled track and then it turns into the basin, which can be difficult to find. Trench all the way to K2. There is a tremendous amount of snow in the area but the slopes in the upper basin seemed stable. Gaining K2 involves an exposed 4th class section and it never relents after that. The initial ridge and knife edge are heavily corniced and require some absurdly exposed trickery. Most of upper ridge is a sniw climb, with some 5th class sections. We simulclimbed the entire ridge using a basic alpine rack. Conditions are very challenging but favorable. Get it! (No pics yet)
|2013-12-31||Route: Northeast Ridge Via Moon Lake/West Snowmass Creek
Info: My brother and I did Capitol in a three day trip 12/30-1/1. We used the winter route: parked on Snowmass Creek Road, entered Maroon-Snowmass TH #1975, cut off to West Snowmass Creek, camped just below Moon Lake, climbed K2 East face, traversed to Cappy. The road is closed in the normal winter spot (0.7 miles below the trailhead). We snowshoed a pretty good trench all the way up. I would guess below timberline it should last a bit. We followed ski tracks as best we could and took a pretty good line. Crossing Snowmass Creek to get to West Snowmass Creek involved just walking through a wide shallow section of the creek--only a few inches deep. At 9,000 ft we did some bushwhacking. Kudos if you can find the trail through there. After that we were mostly on trail. Just below Moon Lake and those close lower ponds we found it best to stay to the SE of the trees, so we camped at the base of the East slope below Moon Lake. But based on our experience re-breaking trail on the hike out I‘m sure our tracks have disappeared well below Moon Lake. Be wary of the snow on K2. You are forced to cross avalanche terrain a number of times. The snow on the NE Capitol/K2 ridge was very powdery. I would recommend staying on the ridge proper as much as possible. We tried to traverse across the south side of the that huge North-leaning fin and it was impossible. We ended up spending half an hour wading through and shoveling powder just to get back up to the ridge. The "fin" feature I am talking about is pictured in the photo of Chris rapping down, but it applies everywhere on the ridge. We did four raps: one down K2 to the ridge, the other three on the way back to K2 from Cappy. My advice would be to bring a 30m rope and 5+ quick links on big slings. The climbing isn‘t so bad (depending on your comfort level) so I wouldn‘t even think about bringing any pro for going up, but the raps in a few spots were life savers. If you want gpx or kmz files from our route leave a comment.
|2013-09-21||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Beautiful day on Capitol. That could very well change today though. The only patch of snow on the route was the ledge going under K2. On our hike in we talked to many people who turned around because of this, but if you are comfortable climbing up and over K2 then you‘re good to go. Large rock slide on the south side of the peak occurred around noon. Be careful, watch your steps, and watch the weather. We had cloud cover the entire day but nothing was producing anything close to storm clouds. If you‘d like any pictures, PM me. I did grab a shot of the snow patch under K2
|2013-07-02||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: The trail is snow free all the way up the saddle. There is still a good snowcover in the bowl and the slope leading up to K2 but most people I climbed with were barebooting. It‘s possible to stick to the tallus and avoid the snow mostly or kickstep your way up to K2, however I found walking with microspikes or crampons on stable snow in the morning more enjoyable. The snow ends 300 yards from K2. K2 is mostly free of snow. There is still a small snow band on the side, but it‘s basically summer conditions. Likewise the ridge and the summit are free of snow.
Info: Climbed Snowmass Mountain yesterday (6/22) and got a peak at Capitol. Here‘s a conditions photo.
Info: Nate (TheGreatCamillo) and I summited Capitol Saturday morning. We had pretty awesome weather, and I suspect that there has been some substantial melting since theuglybear‘s update from a week ago. The steam crossing wasn‘t too bad. we opted to take our boots off and cross barefoot but we witnessed some other guys crossing a bit upstream of the trail so there might be a better way. There was a fair amount of snow to the lake but post-holing wasn‘t a major issue for us. We didn‘t take snowshoes. We opted to hike through the night, which made the snow on capitol, K2 and the ridge somewhat manageable, but there was still enough snow so as to make it unavoidable. We found the crux of the route to be K2. There was a lot of snow on K2 and there didn‘t seem to be a way around it. Eventually we descended and went around to the right on sketchy and very loose rock which was a HUGE bummer. On our return we found a line that went up and over K2 which was much better and my recommendation for anybody making an attempt in the near term. Shout out to Shawn (sp?) who we met at the trailhead and made a valiant effort to solo the peak a few hours behind us. He also hooked us up with some TH beers when we got back which was incredibly cool. Also - to the two guys who were heading up on Saturday - hopefully you guys made it!
|2013-06-07||Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Info: Made an attempt on Capitol on 6/7. Plenty of post holing on the approach, beginning at about 11,000‘. Mostly full snow coverage above chasm. Ridge a mix of steep snow and exposed rock. Warm temps had the snow turning to slush by 7:30, and we turned around at K2. You‘ll need colder temps or bigger balls to climb this right now.
|2013-03-30||Route: Snowmass Creek to Moon to K2
Info: No Easter bunnies in the Elks! My buddy and I attempted a day trip for Cap on Sat and got close, but no cigar. Departed winter Snowmass Crk TH at 3:15am, eventually found Ryan‘s snowshoe tracks from two weeks ago (thx Ryan, huge help in route finding!) and we plodded up. I can‘t remember the exact sequence of times and events, but the scenery was stunning up there. Daly is plastered in snow, lots of wet sloughs were evident. Made it to Moon Lake around 10? After working up higher to 13,300 and getting K2 summit in view, we took a break and melted some water to refuel the nalgenes and give my puppy a break. I ended up digging the pup a small bed area and tied him up to wait out the rest of our attempt. We then headed up and got below the K2 crux and took off our skis. My buddy felt nauseous and dizzy, so after trying to shake it, we eventually called it quits. I climbed to the summit of K2 (sketchy little move in the winter) to get some views of Cap and it was gorgeous. Well covered. Would have been a hard climb via the ridge, not sure if we had the energy to pull it off, but maybe next time. The reward of the day was the beautiful turns down a few thousand feet of vert! The punishment was the slog out thru the gloppy snow and twisting forest. We were happy to be at the truck by 6pm and in Carbondale for pizza shortly thereafter. Good times.