Capitol Peak  
Report Conditions Information   Photos  Comments       
2015-08-31  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-09-01, By: addrock528
Info: Absolutely no snow on the trail. I found the section between the Daly saddle and K2 to be the most unnerving. I also had to do a lot of route finding after the knife edge. None of the summit attempt is anything short of dangerous when wet. I learned this on the way back down between K2 and Daly saddle. Forewarning: I camped at site 7 near the lake. It rained all night and even though I was on the top of the hill, a stream ended up flowing through my tent and made for an unpleasant night. It seems the same happened to a camper in site 6. 
2015-08-23  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-25, By: awpalmer27
Info: My climbing partner and I hiked in to Capitol Lake on Saturday 8/22. We summited and hiked back out on Sunday 8/23. Beautiful hike. It‘s a great time of year to do Capitol! A couple pointers: - 4WD road to trailhead: We were in a low clearance 2WD sedan and made it to the trailhead. However, it is a gnarly road and we got a flat tire on the way up. I‘d encourage drivers with similar vehicles to park at the horse trailer parking lot that is called out in the route description. If you are starting and ending your hike at popular times, you might be able to hitchhike between the two parking lots. - Hike in to Capitol Lake: Left the trailhead at 11:30 am and arrived at the lake at 3:00 pm. Get to the lake early on a weekend if you want a good tent site. There were plenty of sites still available when we arrived. By 6:00 pm, there were slim pickings. - Summit Push: We left Capitol Lake at 5:15 am, summited at 9:15 am, and were back to Capitol Lake by 1:15 pm. - Hike back to Trailhead: We left Capitol Lake at 2:30 pm and reached the trailhead at 5:15 pm. - Gear Recommendations: As others have noted, the following are no longer necessary: crampons, micro spikes, ice axes, and gaiters. Helmets are a must since there are many times when you find yourself climbing directly below another party in terrain with loose rock. Bear cans are required due to recent bear activity. 
 0   5       
2015-08-17  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-20, By: Sunshineof1985
Info: Time started: 5:00am End time: 5:45pm Time to Summit: 7 hours and 20 minutes Time to Descent: 5 hours and 25 minutes Overall Pace: 1.5 miles per hour This was my 26th fourteener this summer. I‘m attempting to climb them all. You can read more about this hike and others at! Enjoy! *GEAR (to bring): Helmet, GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat (didn‘t need), lightweight gloves (didn‘t need), day pack with water sack, snacks. *Road Condition: The road is rough with typical pot holes and pointy rocks, but my sedan was able to make it all the way to the trailhead. *Trail Condition: The trail through the woods is great (minus all the poop)- until it rains, then it becomes really bad mud- not fun. Also, THERE ARE COWS ON THE TRAIL! Don‘t confuse them for bears like I did. The trek through the meadows and all the way to the lake are straight forward. There is a confusing part about crossing Capitol Creek, but I outlined directions below with pictures. The backside of the mountain is all large boulders and some snow until you get to K2, then the real fun begins (class 3 and 4 climbing). Here, I did get scared (not frozen, just deeply focused). 
2015-08-15  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-18, By: youngk2844
Info: Just a little snow remains on the back side of K2. No need for axe or traction on standard route. Be prepared for a long day on the mountain with a lot of fun class 4. Not many places to refill water. Make sure you bring enough. You‘ll be working. I didn‘t see any signs of the bear(s). Don‘t forget your Bear vault if you spend the night at the lake. The NFS requires use of a bear vault. 
2015-08-09  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-12, By: JenGa
Info: Left camp: 4:30 am Return to camp: 2:30 pm Gear: Crampons, ice ax, helmut (duh..) Bear activity: None whatsoever I‘m a few days late putting this up. I climbed with Cbrobin and Gerrbear on Sunday. I wore crampons up the snowfield but it can be avoided by walking on the rocks. The time it took me to put on and take off my crampons didn‘t really save me much time, although the snow even at 6:30am was great. We went around K2 on the way out, over the top on the way back. If I do it again I will go over both ways. The downclimb to the ridge didn‘t seem bad at all and is on solid granite, whereas the "around" option was loose above steep gullies. Sketchy! The ridge was fun! A combination of sit & scoot and walking and it was over in no time. In my opinion the most exposed part of this climb is the summit block after the ridge. It requires constant focus the entire way. Rock fall by hikers above was not a big problem, most people are courteous and aware of others. I would do this again! Thanks Chris and Gerry for being my climbing partners and for such a great day of hiking! 
 0   1       
2015-08-05  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-06, By: chevrechamoisee
Info: Conditions similar to the last report. There is still a lot of snow on the back side of K2. Part of our party was able to cross without ice axes, but especially early when the snow was still hard, an axe was nice for stability. Snow was really hard in the morning. Saw a bear at a campsite below the lake and tried to drive him off with the help of another group. The camper had left food in his tent and pack, no vault. The bear was not very scared of people. Even with seven of us trying to pack up the food and hang it higher, he stayed around circling the site. Bring a vault! 
2015-08-02  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-08-25, By: marklopez77
Info: A group of friends and I recently climbed Capitol‘s standard route. We knew it was going to be a great climb, so we brought GoPros to film the experience. Highlights of the video include the snow crossings, climb over K2, the Knife Edge, and the epic, often underestimated summit ridge. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!: 
2015-07-25  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-26, By: jeremy27
Info: 4-5 Snowfields still persist on the backside. My partner and I had ice-axes and we are glad we did - ended up cutting steps for others. Snow softened up on the descent. Bears still a problem and apparently there was an "incident/encounter" (as posted on a USFS sign at the trail junction - whatever that means) on the west snowmass trail. We saw a bear as we were leaving and he was not frightened away by our presence in the least. Good luck. 
2015-07-18  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-20, By: Stiffler_from_Denver
Info: Safely climbed Capitol on Saturday. Summer conditions all the way to the Daly saddle. There‘s a lot of snow on the back which was nice to cross with an ice ax. (see the photos) I‘d recommend carrying the extra weight of the ice ax to have peace of mind crossing those snow fields. There‘s a small snow field on the right side of K2 which is the suggested easiest route. We didn‘t mess with that snow field and instead climbed higher up K2. There are some good cairns that should get you to the summit. 
 3   3       
2015-07-14  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-14, By: cordisimo
Info: Climbed Capitol this morning. Summer conditions to the Capitol-Daly saddle, then there are two or three snowfield to side traverse across. The path is obvious with the footprints already there and I never felt insecure without poles, crampons, an axe or microspikes. Everything else is clear all the way to the summit. So, basically summer conditions. Go enjoy! EDIT: I should note that I did not necessarily take the standard route outlined on this website, but rather stayed generally on the ridge proper to gain the summit. I have since been informed of a small but significant snowfield which the standard route must traverse (see photo #4), so keep that in mind if. Otherwise, the ridge went at a good 4th class, but the rock was as solid as Elk rock could be. Some ridiculous electric-hail-storm hit once I was I was back below treeline, I had passed some guys who by my calculations would have been right around the top at that time. Yikes! I hope all are safe! 
 4   5       
2015-07-07  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-08, By: herdbull
Info: Looks like site 6 still has snow but all others are snow free. As of 7/7/15 there is a bear hanging around the camp sites. Use caution. Still snow on the back side of the route. You will have to cross several snow fields or chutes on the way around below the cliffs. It can not be avoided unless you take the ridge route. I could not believe the amount of snow in the bowl on the backside heading up to K2. Once you get to where you can see K2 snow can be avoided. Currently the "easier" routes around K2 are somewhat hazardous with really soft and steep snow. I would bet within 7-10 days they will be melted out. Rest of route pretty much in summer conditions. 1 small snowfield on the final push to the summit might cause a little grief. Very steep and very soft. I did summit without snow gear so it can be done if careful. 
 0   2       
2015-07-07  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-07-07, By: bwilcox121212
Info: There is NO SNOW at campgrounds! Either it melted quicker than expected or writer below was confused on campsite area. Please dont let post below detour you from going up to lake, its BEAUTIFUL! 
 0   2       
2015-06-27  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-06-29, By: Lucky Day
Info: Still a ton of snow above the saddle. Did not have traction or axes, and snow was very soft by 8:00 am, so we turned around. Also saw some slab fracture lines in this area. Campsites around the lake still snowed in. Probably another few weeks before its ready. 
 2   3       
2015-05-31  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-06-01, By: moneymike
Info: I had a failed attempt on Capitol yesterday. Every aspect and elevation was avalanching. Some were running to the ground. There wasn‘t a hard freeze at tree line overnight. Some loaded north aspects above 13k‘ were holding large winter-like slabs. It wasn‘t until we were above 12,500‘ that we observed a hard freeze but the snow was mostly unconsolidated there. The weather forecast appears to perpetuate these conditions for the next week or so. 
 1   6       
2015-02-15  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2015-02-16, By: ap snow
Info: Close but no cigar. A storm rolled in sooner than I thought and locked up the face making it unsafe to ski (a icy ski descent of Cap is not recommended)... Huge props to Abe aka FireOnTheMountain for his 2nd winter Capitol summit. Thanks so much Abe for breaking trail! 
 2   4       
2014-10-03  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2014-10-22, By: sarahhaubert
Info: Much more snow on the actual ridge than anticipated-even while ascending from Capitol Lake. We continued despite concerns about the snow, plus strategically placed ice on the technical (that is, strategically placed by the universe to make the route more dangerous ;) but turned back just under the summit of K2-the deep snow on the (SE?) side under the blazing sun and clear skies was worrisome for a future of getting back off the ridge. 
2014-09-20  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2014-09-21, By: Crestoner
Info: The route is essentially clear of snow and ice all the way to the summit. One notable exception...right at the beginning of the K2 traverse, where you step onto the face, there is a patch of snow and ice. We instead ascended the very dry and somewhat rubbly pitch on the southern aspect of K2, while others did the direct class-4 pitch (east). On our descent, I checked out the K2 traverse, while others did the descent off the class-4 pitch. The traverse is great...mostly dry, some easily avoidable snow...until those last few feet. I ascended to the next line to avoid that snow, and was able to move onto the bottom of the class-4 pitch. But there was some unbelievably invisible ice on one sharply slanted rock...glad I had good hand placement. I was able to stretch over this ice, but only because I am 6‘4". 
2014-09-17  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2014-09-18, By: Cool Hand Luke
Info: Standard route is snow-free if you go up and over K2. Stayed on the ridge proper from K2 to the summit to lessen rockfall danger, which entails much more class 4. Aspens in the area are changing, some groves were at peak up high, but the classic valley shot from the TH should be peak in 7-10 days. 
 3   6       
2014-09-13  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2014-09-14, By: bdloftin77
Info: If you climb within a few days of this report, you will see a snow dusting on the north face of the mountain, including some snow on K2. On the standard route, you won‘t encounter snow until K2 (as per today). The east face has no snow. The north face has some snow on the NW portion, however the NE portion/ridge of K2 has less snow. I climbed down K2 (and up coming back) on the NE ridge of K2 mentioned. The knife edge is clear. Almost all of the lower route to the summit is clear of snow. There are some small patches under rocks and in the shade which are avoidable if the climber wishes. I brought microspikes, but did not need or use them. A guide who has summited Capitol 15 times, (and myself), both advise that you climb to the top of K2, and down the right (N) side where there is less snow, as opposed to traversing around K2. There is some snow on the lower areas of K2 right now, and when there isn‘t, the rock is apparently a lot more loose and unstable on the traverse route. 
2014-09-03  Route: Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
Posted On: 2014-09-04, By: ORION
Info: Ideal climbing conditions Wednesday. The recent snow on the route is almost completely gone. Very small patches of new snow are avoidable. Microspikes/cramp-ons not necessary IMO. One exception, we chose to go up and over K2 because the traverse skirting K2s north side had a little snow and mud. 

Return to the main Peak Conditions page

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.