| Skiing the Capitol
Ascent and summit ski descent of Capitol Peak, 5/9/2010
Jordan (Jcwhite), Brittany (mtnbikerskierchick), Jarrett (EasyRider), Matt (pioletski)
~15 miles RT, 6750' climbed, 4230' skied, 20 hours
Jordan (Jcwhite on this forum) has now earned the dubious distinction of being the first person, as far as we know, to be crazy enough to ski Capitol twice. That he was willing to do it is a testament to his generous nature; it was as much a favor to some friends as a goal of his own. As de facto leader of the trip, Jordan had first dibs on filing a TR; his report is on Wildsnow.com.
Addendum: Jarrett has posted a great TR on 14ers, and Brittany has posted her report on 14erskiers.com.
Those who want to cut to the chase are invited to click through to Jordan's blog, which contains the full description of the route and plenty of excellent pictures. I will be content with posting a few impressions and photos, and pointing the way.
The best single-word description I can give to Capitol is... it's big. Big in every dimension that the human mind responds to: physical, geographical, emotional, energetic. I finished this climb so numb from exhaustion that I wasn't even sure we were done until about 24 hours later, more than half of which was spent sleeping. We had started hiking at 11:45 on Saturday night and returned to the trailhead at 8:00 Sunday evening, going between medium-hard and all-out the entire time, never stopping for any longer than necessary to eat, change equipment, set belays, etc. We maintained the peak of focus and concentration (and, yes, fear at times) for hour after hour. I have never been so drained... but once I had recovered somewhat, I found I had never been so elated, so immersed in mountainous beauty. Prior to the trip, I had not met Jordan or Jarrett (or Caleb, who unfortunately had to turn around early), and had only met Brittany once. By the end of the climb the shared effort and adventure had made us all fast friends.
Here is the rogue's gallery of my companions for the outing:
Brittany, skinning above Moon Lake at sunrise:
and climbing the Secret Chute:
Jarrett at the summit:
My ski tips overhanging the void (top of Secret Chute):
Jordan, once we were off the peak proper (but still had 500' to climb to get out of Pierre Lakes Basin):
And a couple of shots from Jordan's camera. First, a view across the east face, which despite the distortion of the fisheye lens captures the steepness of it well. Note the skiers near center - Pioletski in red, EasyRider in black:
Photo by Jcwhite
And finally, Pioletski making one of nine (count em, 9) turns on the face itself:
Photo by Jcwhite
I must add that all of my compadres earned my highest respect and admiration on this climb. I now know what it is to walk with giants. Thanks and congratulations to all of them! And thank you for reading.
Addendum: View into Pierre Lakes Basin from Pierre's Passage, aka top of the One in a Million Couloir. This is the first view of PLB that one gets on this route:
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):