Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  09/02/2020
Modified:  09/03/2020
Date Climbed:   08/23/2020
Author:  MonGoose
Additional Members:   jmek16, sheller
 There and Back Again - A MonGoose Tale   

Leaving Home

Leaving home for a great adventure. (photo)

2020 has been one hell of a year. Between the COVID pandemic, lockdowns, hurricanes and now the entire state of Colorado being on fire, it's just been crazy! In the midst of the chaos we have experienced a tremendous amount of disappointment, cancellations, uncertainty and occasionally boredom. To get through challenging times, sometimes I find it entertaining to imagine myself as a character in a story from a different time. Every once in a while we need to take an adventure away from the familiarity of our home and head up into the darkness to find the fire of our soul: There and Back Again.

A great darkness cast its shadow far over the land as smoke from 4 major CO fires rage on. (Image)

A Hero's Journey - Hiking to Capitol Lake, Fishing and Camping

After safe travels the journey on foot begins!
Left to Right: Nick (MonGoose), Matthew, Sam (sheller) and Jamie (jmek16).
Photo by random encounter with Britt Jones (Globreal)
The expedition to Mount Doom begins! (Image)
A hazy Capitol Peak can be seen in the distance. The smoke was heavy but not enough to affect breathing or burning eyes.
We arrived at the lake for a peaceful and calm evening.

A cutthroat trout from Capitol Lake.
Just a perfect evening. (photo by Jamie Kreider)

Early Start from Camp

We were the first group out of camp at 4:07am, hiking upwards into the darkness toward the Mt Daly saddle for what we knew would be a very long day.

Eyes glowed back eerily from my headlamp. I knew they were simply deer but I kept looking back over my shoulder, just in case.

At first light, we were a few hundred feet below K2. The morning sky and fiery red sun reminded us that we were far from home. In this strange and foreign land, the earth and sky are gray and the air is thin. We were getting closer now.

Stumbling through the giant boulders.
At the base of K2, other groups began to catch us.
But we pressed on to remain ahead of them (photo by Jamie Kreider).
Now K2 and Capitol Peak are all that remains. (Image)
From 13er K2, the rest of the route across the Knife Edge and up to Capitol is visible.

The Struggle Begins

After K2 things become more serious as the intensity of the mountain increases.
The Knife Edge is always a traffic jam with groups trying to cut in front of others. We held our ground and crossed together.
Gandalf directing traffic on the Knife Edge. (Image)

So close but still a ways to go.
“A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not THIS day.” – Aragorn
Getting closer...
Traversing the loose gullies while dodging rocks that rained down from clumsy climbers above.
Smeagol forgot to yell: "Rock!". (Image)
And finally, the summit.
Another checkbox and a long journey home. (Image)

Making our way back, we slowly traversed the dangerous gullies and followed the ridge back to the Knife Edge. A small dark cloud began to form above the mountain and as soon as I started across the Knife Edge, snowflakes began to gently fall from the sky. What a surreal day this has been.

Closing Thoughts

Perhaps climbing the most challenging 14er in the midst of a 100-year pandemic was a crazy idea, or maybe it was the perfect time. With all the craziness happening in the world right now, it felt so good to just focus on the mountain - to feel normal for a few hours. Thanks to Sam, Jamie and Matthew for making this trip happen. And thank you for taking the time to read about it.

This has been a challenging year for everyone and we will all get through it together. Wishing you the best!

- MonGoose

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

09/02/2020 18:56
"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you". Looks like you guys made the most of your covid time! Congratulations

Strange times, great mountain
09/02/2020 19:52
Congrats on a great outing. Capitol is a special place, COVID or not. It will be there long after our human race is no more.
Loved your trip report!


Strong Work
09/02/2020 21:35
Nice write up thanks for that!


Loved this
09/02/2020 22:04
Super job doing Cap, writing this TR, and capturing super cool photos.

Great Photos
09/03/2020 17:17
We'll be there on Labor Day! Can't wait. Thanks for the trip report.

Excellent report
09/08/2020 15:05
Great photographs of a wonderful mountain.
Congratulations on your groups accomplishment.
Thanks for the report and pictures.

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