Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  09/13/2020
Date Climbed:   09/07/2020
Author:  tygr
 Capitol - Labor Day 2020   

Arrived at Capitol Creek Trailhead at 4:15pm, Saturday, September 5th. No surprise that it was extremely crowded, but we managed to find a great spot with a view of our objective - Capitol Peak!

View of Capitol from the Trail Head

For those that are interested in some scenes of the hike in and around Capitol Lake, I've included the video here:

It was a gorgeous day. We started our hike in taking the "Capitol Creek Ditch" route (less elevation gain / loss on the trip...which sounded good to us). You'll pass through beautiful Aspens, open fields and wooded regions on an easy dirt trail.

View of Capitol nearing the half-way point.
Zoomed in shot from the same field.

After crossing a stream we were losing daylight and slowing down. Unsure how much further the lake was, we decided to camp on some level ground at around 7:45pm. Blackhawk search and rescue helicopters were circling from about 10pm until about 1:30am and rangers were walking the trail. We found out later that it was a rescue and that the helicopters were taking off and landing near capitol lake. I'm sure the folks camping there got no sleep!

The next day we completed our hike to Camp Site #2, which was only 1.5 miles away...if we only knew! It worked out because people were leaving early that Saturday morning and we scored a great camp site

Camp Site #2 (where we stayed)
View of Capitol Peak from the Camp Site

Our plan was to just relax all day Sunday, aclimatize (since we flew in from sea-level on Saturday and drove from Denver to Capitol Creek Trail Head), eat, rest and get mentally ready for a climbing Capitol on Labor Day Monday. The only bummer was the weather forecast was for a major cold front with snow to be coming through either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning (at the latest), so we knew we were going to have to climb Capitol, pack up and leave the same day (Monday). Not what we wanted, but we didn't want to take the chance of having alot of bitter cold temps and snow covering the trail back.

Monday morning, we got up and started our hike at 5:30am. Up and over the saddle by 6am (sunrise)

Back side of the Saddle
Sunrise - Looking away from the bolder field we were crossing to get to K2

My brother in law (Bryant) had to turn back due to bad leg cramps so I carried on alone until I ran into Russell (from Oregon) on the boulder field heading up to K2.

Boulder Field leading up to K2
Ty (with GoPro) and Russell in front of the large boulders at the base of the K2 boulder field

We slogged up toward K2 and then I started recording more video vs taking pictures, which I'll embed below.

View of K2
View from K2 looking at Mt. Daly

Here's what it looked like ascending K2.

Here's what it looked like descending K2.

Here's some views after descending K2 up until the Knife Edge.

...and of course...the obligatory Knife Edge video:

There was some ridge traverse that still happens after you pass the Knife Edge and the final body of Capitol Peak (i.e. the last 300-400 vertical feet). Not sure what they call that part and then you start your vertical climb again to reach the summit. I've read a few posts here where folks got off trail and I can see this would be easy to do. I haven't seen any videos of folks climbing this final section of the mountain, so I decided that I would post here for those that wanted to study a route (not sure if it is THE route, but it got us to the summit ridge). It's about 11 minutes long going up and across narrow ledges with loose rock. There may be a better way, but if this helps anyone, I figured it would be worthwhile to post. I left this video largely unedited so you could see we stopped for a bit to try to figure out which way to go. Enjoy....

...and then at last...we hit the summit ridge and the summit itself.

A few still pictures of Russell and I at the summit

Ty from the summit of Capitol Peak
Ty a little dirty from the soot in the air from the forest fire smoke on the summit of Capitol Peak
Russell on the summit of Capitol Peak
Another shot of Russell on the summit of Capitol Peak

We were the last ones on the mountain that day. I left the campsite at 5:30am and reached the summit by 11:30am. No speed record for sure, but we got there. We were the last ones there. In fact, there was nobody in front of us coming or going after the Knife Edge. We stayed at the summit for 15min and then started our journey off the mountain, getting back to the campsite by 5pm

What a mountain! I've climbed Little Bear, Pyramid, Crestone Needle and none of them compare to this one! Wow, it was awesome!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments or Questions

Great report
09/13/2020 20:02
Great job and report
Looking at climbing this in two weeks
After all the snow melts
I will download your report and study it for the climb ðŸŽðŸŽðŸŽ

Nice report
09/17/2020 00:00
Excellent report and wonderful photographs.


Love the videos!
09/28/2020 23:01
Great post/detail!!! I love your videos, gives a great perspective for sure!

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