Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  07/08/2007
Date Climbed:   07/01/2007
Author:  Old Ickabod

 Capitol Peak with Iceberg Summit  

Capitol Peak on the approach from the Ditch Trail
Kenny Hays and I tried Capitol Peak last winter and were turned back due to weather. As a result, we agreed to try it again in the summer for a good climb and some winter recon.
Capitol Peak on the approach from the Ditch Trail
We went to Aspen and hiked up to Capitol Lake via the Ditch Trail on the day before. I was surprised at what an awesome approach hike the Ditch Trail provided. The trail is well maintained and very enjoyable. Since we arrived at the lake very early, we were a bit bored. The boredom soon turned to adventure as we decided to attempt to summit a small iceberg floating in Capitol Lake. The water was freezing (shocker?). However, it was fun swimming with an ice axe and using it to climb out of the water onto the iceberg.
Hays on his iceberg ascent
Old Ickabod‘s iceberg summit
We awoke at 3:15 and headed for the summit. There was a great trail leading up to the pass. There was no need for crampons, but our axes came in handy heading up to K2. We summitted K2 and climbed down to the rock tower along the ridge.
Hays on the knife edge
The knife edge wasn't nearly as bad as we expected, but we were surprised by the purposeful climbing needed to ascend the face. The mountain seems like a pile of boulders and it just took a little extra time looking for good hand and foot holds. If you keep a sharp eye out for cairns, the route is easier to find.
Old Ickabod on the summit of Capitol
Downclimbing the face and returning over the knife edge went faster than expected. The exposure was great!
Hays seeks a massive sunburn as he downclimbs a portion of Capitols Face
We made it back safely after returning to the summit of K2, doing a long glissade, and finding our trekking pole handles eaten by marmots at the pass.
ImageDescending back to camp.
The lake looked inviting after returning to camp, but we decided to hike out instead. If your hiking the Ditch Trail in the afternoon, bring bug dope! I got eaten alive! A small price to pay for an awesome climb and summit!!

10 hours roundtrip from camp (lotsa breaks )

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

11/30/2010 17:20 a member of the Polar Bear club? I've never seen anyone do what he did, but wondered if anyone had when I was up at Chasm Lake (Longs) this weekend. Thanks for answering my ponderings. brrrrr!!!!!

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