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 Peak:  Capitol Peak
 Route:  Northeast Ridge
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  daway8
 Date of Info:  5/27/2024
 Date Posted:  5/27/2024

Attempted Capitol as a day hike from Snowmass Creek TH via Moon Lake starting at midnight. Trail was totally dry to start with but the stream crossing at 1.5mi was raging pretty good. No easy to get across with dry feet so brought water shoes which only added 1lbs. Very invigorating at 1am. Not much snow until about 10k but crazy amounts of snow by the time you reach Moon Lake. Trail starts off very easy to follow but then turns into bushwhacking chaos where I picked the wrong way, staying up to the right instead of down near the stream and wasted a ton of time and energy.
Reached the base of K2, where the Moon Lake route meets the standard route, at 9am only to have a small avalanche come down straight at me. I had time to sprint out of the way - it was just a cluster of rollerballs - but it was already crazy hot so I knew there would be more to come. Earlier saw a rock the size of a large boot that had rolled down a crazy distance, then rolled uphill 20 feet before turning and rolling down further. The marks in the snow from it tumbling were a foot or two apart meaning it must have come down fast. Didn't want to be up there when those missiles started launching so bailed with a successful recon of this winter route for Capitol. Looks like best as an early winter route before avy danger spikes. Met 3 guys who camped at the lake and successfully skied from the summit, going East Face to Secret Chute. They may do their own post but moral of the story is 9am is far too late to be heading for the summit right now.
Will add pictures later.

#1) Stream crossing looks shallow but knee deep in spots#2) Dry low but very snowy up high#3) Moon Lake thawing at the edges#4) My Daly#5) Going up towards K2#6) Missile rock#7) Looking up to the Daly saddle from Moon Lake side#8) Moon Lake sluffing#9) Moonlit start

Comments or Questions
5/27/2024 7:45pm
Awesome to see pics from a different basin. Looks like full on conditions for sure!

The right call
5/28/2024 8:16am
I did Cap a few years ago to find a huge part of the connecting ride to Clark Peak had broken away and tumbled into the basin. The familiar orange rock was covered in blueish rock and many of the rocks that had fallen down were giants. I didn't see anything in real time of course, but it was different and when I put the clues together as to why it was different, I was very nervous the whole hike, even though at that point I was repeating the peak. I kept thinking the knife edge would slide away while I was on it! You deff made the right call going down. I love how you brought water shoes, I bring those or sandals just for creek crossings myself, because it seems easier. Excellent pics

The Mysterious Snowshoe Tracks
5/28/2024 11:05am
Nice to meet you in the parking lot! Glad you got some good beta for next time.

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