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 Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
 Post Date:  08/23/2009 Modified: 09/20/2011
 Date Climbed:   08/22/2009
 Posted By:  Perea

 My First Big Time Mountain!   

OUR GROUP:
PAUL PEREA
CHRIS TOMER
JON KEDROWSKI
MR. UDALL & SON TORREY


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We arrived at the Snowmass trailhead which is the less crowded route we took on Friday 3:45 pm.
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This creek crossing felt so good on the swollen feet on the way back.
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The long 6 mile trek in was hot but provided great scenery all around.
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On the other side of this saddle is where we would set up camp I was already exhausted we had already gained about 3000 ft of elevation and I was ready to set up camp, eat, and let the body rest.
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Eventually we got there and found this perfect camping spot. I ate a big dinner rehydrated and called it a night early. I was not sure if I would sleep with the anticipation of the biggest climb of my life but I was so tired that I slept like a baby.
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We got a 5am start on Saturday from our camp and as you can see we still were half asleep but wanted to be the first ones on the knife edge.
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The morning views of the sunrise were breathtaking but I could tell the terrain was changing and the green grasses of below were a thing of the past and this was the real deal.
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I tried not to look up too much until I reached this point below K2. OMG! The pictures don't do it justice it almost looked fake.
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The blue lakes up in the valley below Snowmass were a postcard in the making don't anybody get any ideas of stealing my pics!
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Here is a look at the other side Capitol Lake which is from the standard route.
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Ok here is where they separate the men from the boys and I was starting to feel more like a boy. Decision time from here the last half mile or so to the summit is exposed, has a knife edge to cross, some class 4 moves and ledges with huge drop-offs. Jon and Chris asked me if I was ok I said yes so far even though that last exposed move below K2 was way more than I had ever dealt with. By the way Jon & Chris were excellent mentors Jon knows the route like the palm of his hand and CT had been up here 2 times so all I had to do was concentrate on my next move without route finding. They also talked me over a few areas. As good as they were though I knew it was all on me. There was no escalator, helicopter or anyone who was going to carry me up so it was time to focus. I got the knife edge and just started moving before I could think about it too much. 99% of it is mental. If this was in a playground somewhere you would not even think twice about it but since there is 1000 ft of drop offs on each side it makes it a little tense. This is one of those sections that if you were to fall adios amigo.
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Everyone has their own style of crossing the knife edge some have even been known to tight rope it. Some hold the top of the sharp edge and find cracks to place feet on one side or the other or if you're a scaredy cat like me you straddle it and cling to the granite like it was your high school sweet heart.
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Once past the infamous knife edge the fun is not over yet. I wanted to take more pictures of this area since in doing my research of this area of the route I found few. Now I know the reason it's hard to take pictures when your scooting across an 8 inch ledge with nothing but air below you. I think by this time I had got numb to the exposure and it was getting much easier.
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We made it to the summit of Capitol from camp at about 8 am ate some lunch or should I say Brunch and enjoyed the perfect weather. You could see Grays and Torreys clear as can be from 100 miles away. Pikes Peak the Bells and of course our neighbor Snowmass Mountain. We stayed about 30 minutes and then started to slowly make our way down. I thought it was much easier going back maybe I had got used to the airy drop-offs. The day had gone so perfect I thought maybe too perfect so I didn't want to take any more unnecessary chances and asked the guys if I could rope up on the way back across the knife edge. They agreed and I made quick work of it knowing I had a little security plus it gave them a chance to practice placing a fixed line. We made it to K2 and they went up I was just so relieved to have got it done and be passed the dangerous sections I didn't go for the extra credit and climb K2 even though it was only about 30 ft away. The way out was long and exhausting but It would have been even longer and more exhausting if I had been going down in defeat. I'm so glad I did it and thankful to my climbing partners for a great experience.
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One last note for anyone planning on going this route pay attention to the trail it fades in and out and forks off several times. If you don't you could end up on some what we called "class 5 grass or weeds".



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
globreal


Paul..you did it!     2009-08-23 20:52:42
Way to go my friend. You put your fears behind you and conquered one of the big boys! Wish I could have been up there with you to celebrate. Congratulations!


Johnson


Sweet     2011-06-02 08:57:39
Used this title for another report... so unoriginal but really sweet pics and great job putting your fear aside and gittn‘ ‘er done! Congratulations.


aconcagua08


booyah!     2009-08-24 09:21:51
congrats on this one!


JosephG

Congrats!     2009-08-24 10:11:32
Nicely done Paul; way to rationalize and best your fears!
Great pictures, especially off the Knife Edge!


JA_son27


nice!     2009-08-24 11:45:49
Congrats!



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