Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  10/02/2015
Date Climbed:   09/27/2015
Author:  summitbound
 Capitol Peak Father Son Adventure   

Almost 3 years ago to the day I finished my 14er list. Since that time my laser focus on the 14ers has certainly waned. But the enjoyment I get from hiking and climbing has not. My son was a huge part of helping me on my first round. He climbed his first 14er when he was 7 years old with a broken arm and bronchitis. He went on to share my final 10 summits with me and has 20+ completed on his own list. He is in no rush to finish the 14er list but does enjoy plugging away at it when it fits our schedule. The last 2 years we have been consumed with Colorado Trail activities and Scouting events, but we have still managed to hit a 14er summit for 11 years straight now. We were running out of time this summer and I have a friend who has 5 of the hard ones left. So wanting to help him and to keep the streak alive, we managed to carve out a late season weekend for a summit attempt.

My first trip up Capitol was rather unique (at the time) in that it was an early May summit and essentially a snow climb. I put the TR link here to show the dramatic differences in the seasons, it was fun to be able to climb this mountain in both.

Trip report here: Capitol Peak

This trip was very different. It was not just because of the conditions or the time of year. This round I was the "leader", not only that, I was responsible for my 16 year old son on one of the toughest mountains. His 20+ summits include Mt. Wilson, 4xChicago basin and Snowmass so it was not like it was his first venture onto the tougher peaks. Still its a different vibe when you are in charge.

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Our trip did not start out well as we ended up with automobile issues and by the time it was all worked out we arrived at the trail head at 5pm. Not exactly the start time we had hoped for. The view of Capitol from the trail head never disappoints. The 50 cars already parked there certainly did, but oh well. I am still having trouble sharing the 14ers with everyone else. At least the bulk of them were on day hikes or just taking in the views and not attempting the summit.

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The best part of late season hiking is when you can hit the fall colors. The ditch trail did not disappoint and the one benefit of such a late start was that we did not have to deal with the sun baking us.

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View of Capitol after you emerge from the aspens. Stunning and pictures simply can't do it justice. We saw a photographer up on a knoll taking numerous pictures, I would love to see his work. We passed many tired and weary hikers. We offered congrats to those who had made the summit and encouragement to everyone as we knew that would be us tomorrow night.

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Picture of myself and my son. Alas, the fading light and sense of urgency to get to camp set in. we needed to get some amount of sleep, so we picked up the pace and this is the last picture of the evening. We got to camp well after dark and did little more than setup and head to bed.

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The next morning part of the group was more enthusiastic than others to get moving. We ended up with a 7am start and that would factor on us for the rest of the day.

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I mentioned my first round up Capitol was a snow climb. This is one area I can say was certainly easier and faster covered in snow. The boulder hopping seemed to go on forever. Its interesting timing that another board member posted about accidents in the mountains and how some people like to arm chair quarter back them. Thinking more experience or more preparation would prevent them. I tend to agree with the recent post, sometimes Sh#! just happens. As I we were crossing the boulder field I tested an handhold (like I always do) and it seemed solid so I put my full weight on it only to have it give way momentarily after I had lifted up onto it. Nothing like having a 200lb rock knock you on your butt and pin you to the ground. After my friends lifted the rock off of me and I did an inventory check, I ended up with just scrapes, bruises, a hyper extended finger and a deep thigh bruise that still makes me limp 5 days later.

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Even this late in the season Capitol route is holding snow. You can avoid it if you want to, but its pretty well stepped out

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This goat is near the top of K2. Its fascinating to me to watch them move effortlessly in the terrain. Then to think about us with all our gear... We all know who the real climbers are.

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My buddy topping out on K2. As every trip report notes, the real climbing begins at the base of K2 and does not stop until you return to it.

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The classic shot of Capitol

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This is a shot of my son navigating the knife edge. I know there are many kids younger than him who have done this, but I am super proud of him and at 16 years old I don't think I would have have had the nerves to cross it. I should not have had any doubts, this kid loves the outdoors and anything to do with it.

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Somewhere on the upper slopes of Capitol. I don't have a lot of pictures in this area. I think that fact is a statement to how focused you must be on the route finding. Its steep and loose in places.

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Success, Our party of 4 made the summit about 12:30pm. A little longer than we anticipated but we made it. There were still 10+ people on the mountain, but not nearly as many as I had feared when I saw how full the parking lot was.

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Looking back at the route we just came up. Amazing views.

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My son back on the upper slopes at one of the gully cross over points.

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My son re summiting K2. The shortcut across that allows you to not have to go back to the summit was holding snow still and just not worth the risk imo. Besides the view from K2 is worth seeing twice.

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Parting shot of Capitol. Still my favorite 14er. We After tearing down camp, we did not get back to the truck until after 9pm. We had a fox follow us right next to the trail for several 100 yards before he fled into the darkness. We also got a great seat for watching the eclipse and the blood moon.

Great trip with a good group of guys. Interesting and useless fact: Capitol was my 50th summit and it worked out to be my friends also. I was surprised at the great weather this late in the season and I if you want to catch the fall colors you might already be too late.
Thanks for reading...



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Comments or Questions
14erOHOLIC

nice work
10/02/2015 19:50
Great report, fantastic photos.



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