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Capitol Peak

Most Recent Condition Updates
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/3/2023, By: burchenal
Info: Still lots of snow. Getting over or around K2 was the hardest. Went around on the way out and over on the way back. Both ways kinda heinous. Steep (60 degree) snow and ice in some of the gullies. Definitely need ice axe and crampons. I was front pointing across some of the gullies. Micro spikes will not work. Knife ridge and summit slopes are pretty free of snow. Any patches are avoidable. There is also a lot of snow (continuous) from the pass to K2. Micro spikes ok there but ice axe still helpful. There is patchy snow from 10,000 ft that becomes continuous below the lake. I brought snowshoes but didnt need them. No postholing even on the way out on a warm day. Also, Capitol Creek is running swift. I went out on the capitol creek trail using the footbridge. I forded the creek on the way back and came out on the Ditch trail. No way of staying dry on the Ditch. 
3 3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 6/23/2023, By: HokieTom
Info: This was actually a hike up to Capitol Lake. First, the 4WD road is pretty mild right now. Second, the 3 TD stream crossing is not happening w/o getting wet. Then you have 3 more to do before the Lake. Third, looks like tons of snow before the lake. 
2 2
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 6/12/2023, By: lang_daly
Info: Great mountaineering conditions right now. Highly recommend ice axe and crampons. Creek crossing is a little tricky. Continuous snow starts around 3.5-4 miles in. Some semi-sheltered camping spots around the lake but none of the designated sites are snow free yet as far as I can tell. Knife edge snow free. K2 and several spots on the face of Capitol after leaving the ridge have very steep snow. Tip: If you go left descending from K2, you can get a straighter shot for your glissade, but it's a little steeper. 
4 5
Route: Area
Posted On: 5/28/2023, By: WillRobnett
Info: Capitol & Daly 
2
Route: view from below
Posted On: 5/6/2023, By: WillRobnett
Info: Capitol-left & Daly-right 
1
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 12/26/2022, By: Will_E
Info: No summit. I went up a week ago to figure out the creek crossing in daylight (thanks Screesurfer!), then went back last Friday and put in a trench to Moon lake so I wouldn't have to deal with my sucky route finding ability in the dark. Today I made my attempt, but after reaching K2 I just couldn't muster the cojones to proceed on. My trench is much better than usual, I was pretty happy with my route through treeline, made it to Moon Lake in 4.5 hours this morning. No telling if it will survive the weather that is showing to arrive on Wednesday. A few really big trees came down with the wind storm last Thursday, but not difficult to get around. 
10 10
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/30/2022, By: jamesmlord
Info: Turned around at K2 due to unexpected snow/sleet storm around 7am that lasted for about an hour. Made the descent across boulder field difficult. One solo climber ahead of us made it up and down safely. Three others behind us also aborted the climb. BTW, I found some hiking poles on the route. If you left poles behind, please let me know where you left them and the type of poles and I will arrange to get them back to you. Otherwise, I plan to give to my son who climbed with me. 
3 3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/29/2022, By: Gandalf69
Info: Snow off and on throughout the day made for more than I bargained for. I should have turned around at k2. Listen to your instincts, they are usually right. The colors aren't peaking yet in the aspen area. 
15 3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/25/2022, By: pboldt94
Info: Dry all the way to summit, despite recent snowfall. Sunny and warm. Message if interest in any photos. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/25/2022, By: TX2AFA
Info: Camped overnight and were first group up, started at 0500 and on summit by 8:30. Back to car at 2:15. Could not have asked for a better day weather wise. Small patch of snow on K2 summit bypass. Plenty of space in parking lot and at camp sites. 
4
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/20/2022, By: swesleyc7
Info: Here's a photo of Capitol, K2 and the knife's edge taken from Snowmass' summit on 9/17. Snow is beginning to accumulate in the area at an increased frequency. Snowmass had 3-4 inches of snow on the summit and the talus field just below, however not in Snowmass Lake's valley. There was not enough compact snow to walk on helpfully in the morning and it proved to be slippery in the afternoon after the sun warmed it up. Hope this is helpful if considering Capitol at this time. 
1
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 9/4/2022, By: The_Ramp
Info: Day marred by a fatality that occurred during our climb - see forum topic. Route is clean, clear, and as advertised. From a route-finding perspective, this peak is a real puzzle. From navigating the initial gullies and the talus/boulder field, to the various ups, downs, and arounds on the ridge, and then the traverse up the south face as well as the final ridge push to the summit. A few thoughts: - Preparation was key. There are AMAZING resources out there from other climbers on this site with excellent beta on the route. I strongly suggest you study multiple climber trip reports before attempting. I was surprised in talking with folks around camp the night before our attempt how little knowledge they had on the route. A lot of focus is on the knife edge which is ~0.001% of the total climb and is one of the most-straight forward sections. - We thought the crux of the route was the final push to the notch on the east face, with loose rock and some spicy moves. The descent through this and the rest of the east face was challenging and slow. - Once through the notch and on the summit ridge, the climbing does not ease but actually seems to amp up - we stayed ridge proper going up and then did a slight variation coming down, though mostly on the ridge. It's all pretty solid but very airy and took longer than anticipated. - We took the ditch trail into camp and the creek trail out. The trade with taking the creek trail out is that there is about ~400' of elevation gain to get back to the parking lot. But it was all downhill until that final ascent, the aspen forests in that valley are unreal, we weren't playing the mind games of "I remember this rock; we have to be close now", and our GPS actually said the creek trail was slightly shorter than the ditch trail. Splits: 3.5 Hours TH to Camp (Ditch Trail); 2.5 Hours Camp to K2; 1.5 Hours K2 to Summit; 4 Hours Summit to Camp (we took our time); 3 Hours Camp to TH (Creek Trail) 
4
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 8/15/2022, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Free and clear to the summit. Lots of rockfall. Saturday morning lot absolutely packed; midday at the lake most campsites full - look for people leaving and hover kindly. Lots of cows/cow patties on the upper TH/ditch trail in. The creek crossing right before the standard trail and ditch trail (on the ditch trail side) requires some shoes-off wading unless you're confident in your long-jump abilities. Wag bags available at the TH - use them and make sure to pack them out to a trash can in town. No trash collection at TH. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 8/9/2022, By: gcook33
Info: Great mtn. 4.25mi, 2700' from campsite 6 after a 6mi backpack in the day before. Some mosquitoes so bring some spray/wipes. Definitely a peak you want to keep your wits about you for multiple hours. 
3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 8/4/2022, By: zootloopz
Info: Summer conditions except for one patch in the boulder field. Spikes not necessary but could be a comfort. Or you could just walk under it. Standard route. Walked / went hands free across the knife edge for my 3rd ascent of this beautiful peak. Still my favorite 14er!!! 
7 2
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/27/2022, By: strausnb
Info: Attempted solo ascent of capitol via direct ridge to k2. I mistakenly took this route after losing the trail and figuring the direct ridge couldn't be too bad. A word of forewarning, I don't think the direct ridge should be attempted unless it's not your first time on capitol. Long sustained exposure over loose class 4 rock with no exit points and turning around would likely be more time consuming and dangerous than finishing the ridge. Made it to K2, decided I was overwhelmed and turned around descending the standard route as afternoon storms rolled in. Start early and check your GPX as I lost the route constantly. Saw a bear on the ditch trail so make sure you have your canister. Stay safe! 
3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/18/2022, By: bmcqueen
Info: Summer conditions. There are a couple areas of snow left as you make your way to K2, but they are low consequence sections and the boot tracks through them should provide ample traction. I carried spikes yesterday and never put them on. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/25/2022, By: Msbaker
Info: The road is in decent shape. I got my Mazda CX-5 up to the trailhead with minimal effort. Saw a few sedans at the trailhead so you don't necessarily need 4WD. Backpacked in 6 miles on 7/15 (Saturday evening) to Capitol Lake and most of the campsites were full. I ended up at Campsite 9. Bugs are horrendous in this area so bring your spray. Also bring your bear cannister as they are required and word on the summit was that a bear was seen at Campsite 9 the day I arrived. Started my hike at 6 AM and reached the summit in three hours from Campsite 9. Conditions were perfect. Very steep gaining the first ridge with Daly on your left. Snow fields in the Talus section which eventually leads to K2 are all avoidable or crossable without spikes. Knife edge was really fun, although it did get a bit busy on the return so be prepared to wait. The final pitch to the summit isn't easy and contains a lot of loose rock. Small summit but amazing views in all directions. Got back down to Campsite 9 in a little over 2 hours with some breaks to eat. Wildflowers in full bloom near the lake. Truly an incredible mountain. 
3
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/11/2022, By: benmangelsdorf
Info: Hiked in Saturday, camped near the lake Saturday night, climbed Sunday and hiked out Sunday afternoon. A fair amount of snowfields between the Daly/Capitol saddle and the hike up to K2. They were hard-ish in the morning and soft on the way down around 10AM. I didn't wear spikes, but I honestly think spikes and axe would have been very nice on a few of them, particularly the last one. If you were really determined, you could probably bypass the steeper snow by scrambling some rock on the right, but I'd recommend just bringing an axe because you can then safely glissade on the way down. Aside from that, summer conditions. Amazing route, we stayed closer to the ridge after the Knife's Edge and did a ton of really fun scrambling. I wish all 14ers were like this. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 7/9/2022, By: dogsandguitars12
Info: Hiked in to camp Friday afternoon, my Corolla made it all the way up the trailhead. 99% summer conditions. We took K2's north ridge (ridge direct) to K2 then stayed high from K2 to summit. No snow at all on ridge and really solid class 3 and 4. Low winds and perfect day, didn't even wear windbreaker for most of the day. We descended standard route and it was a lot more loose than the ridge. Some snow fields left between summit and saddle, pretty not solid snow and spikes don't help from sliding and sloshing but short fields. Some of the creek crossings on the ditch trail are impassible without getting wet. Water shows recommended. Lots of mosquitoes. 

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