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 Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
"K2"  -  13,664 feet
 Post Date:  09/12/2009
 Date Climbed:   09/09/2009
 Posted By:  jesse

 Knife Edge at Sunrise!   

I left Westminster at 10:30 am on Tuesday and was at the Capital Creek trailhead by 3pm. It had rained earlier, as I walked along the ditch train the moisture was evaporating quickly.

The stern monarch of Elk power rose powerfully into the sky as I approached!
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I landed at campsite 5 with just enough time to set up and cook dinner while the sunset started.
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I purified water from Capital lake and had a nice sunset Zazen.
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It rained again lightly at around 9:30pm which helped lull me into a good solid sleep. I woke at 3:15am and was walking up to the Daly Capital saddle at 4. The initial elevation gain to the ridge was straightforward, however crossing the cliff bands proved to be difficult in the darkness. After a couple of scares and some backtracking I quickly found myself in the talus ascending towards K2.

I stood on top of K2 at 5:20am, after the problems I encountered in the cliffs I didn't want to try the knife edge until the sun broke the horizon.
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The next half hour was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, slowly waiting for the sun I realized why so many cultures worshiped it. The next few pictures are a testament to the ball of fire's greatness.
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The crux at sunrise!! What an amazing place to be at that time again reinforcing the fact that alpine starts are the absolute best!
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My Bear suit, rock shoes wearing, metal playing, no wind, no cold, intense morning scramble was completely perfect.
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Such enjoyable climbing with good exposure and on mostly solid rock, the best elk I've climbed except for Pyramid peak.
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Pyramid, The Bells, and Snowmass bathed in early morning glow.
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A view of the moon most of the way to the top, I opted for a more direct final ascent closer to the ridge.
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There were a few class 4+ moves but it proved to be very worthwhile.
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I couldn't get enough of the other elks so powerful to see them from this titanic angle.
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The Shadow of Capital from the summit was fascinating!
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Bear suit in rock shoes, I carry them on alot of peaks but this one I was happiest to have them, nothing like putting you foot on something small and having confidence that it was staying.
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Whaaaa a regular summit pic.... ?!
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After a pensive solo summit I made a swift descent back down towards the knife edge.
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A few other climbers can be seen here, from the knife edge, traversing the standard route closer to the summit.
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Image #21 (not yet uploaded)




Ohh it's not really that scary, cause it's super solid, just exposed.
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With firm footing it can be a thrilling playground ;D
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Here's a good look back at Capital.
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This amazingly steep gash of a drop is the gully just to the south of K2 before the knife edge. It was astounding pitching off into the basin as an abyss of rock. Has anyone ever skied this I wonder..?
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These are the cliff bands just after the saddle between K2 and Mt Daly. Follow the cairns carefully just 15 or 20ft off route will leave you cliffed out. Honestly both times this was the scariest part of the climb for me... Not because it was more exposed, it was the loose dirt and shelves that made mistakes here more unforgiving.
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Ohhh Goatus happy to see my avatar once again.
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Here's that silhouette pic as promised, it's good you turned around the weather got nasty quick!
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From the saddle I one shot-ed it back to camp and had fun making echos at Capital lake (8-10 echos if you yell to the SW towards Capital!)
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After a long rest I left for the trailhead at 1:45 and was treated to one last beauty. A rainbow above the monster!
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At mile 3 it started raining heavily and snowed lightly I trekked through for the last 3 miles one stopping back to the car got there at 2:45pm. What a great 25hrs in the Elks!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (5)
JA_son27


Dude!     2009-09-12 07:01:34
That last picture takes the cake! Are you changing the format of your trip reports now? I was surprised at how much text is in it!


aerophex


5 stars     2009-09-12 07:52:43
great read, tyvm


DNAC4

:)     2009-09-12 21:19:36
Nice going, Jesse!


greenwok


On the bear...     2009-09-13 09:21:03
Nice pics as usual - enjoy your reports...mostly - but am I the only person on the site who thinks the bear costume is getting old? Just my .02


timbr

cool meeting you jesse     2009-09-13 22:21:14
Thanks jesse for the shot (and pics). I was down in the cow pasture headed back to the car when the storm cranked up good--and was glad I did U-turn it out of there.

The navigation over to the ridge proper really is the challenge to first timers up there, it seems to me.



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