Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  07/16/2007
Date Climbed:   07/14/2007
Author:  Jcwhite

 Early on Capitol in a day  

Well I know Jamie posted hers...but i guess we have different pics

Peak: Capitol Peak
Date: 7/14/07
Route: Capitol creek ditch trail
Crew: Jcwhite, Tyler

The approach:
I left aspen around 1:15 am and met Tyler at the Old Snowmass turnoff. We drove up to the trailhead and had our packs on hiking by 2:05 AM. We took off at a pretty decent pace and reached the creek crossing in an hour or so, headed up to the bridge that is slightly upstream from where the trail hits it. Back on the trail we kept a good pace going and made the lake at exactly 4:05 am. There was a stream of hikers headed up to the saddle between Capitol and Daly. About the time we started up, they were just cresting the saddle.

We got back on pace after about a 15 min break at the lake and were up the slope in no time. We stopped for about 5 min, and continued on around the backside of the peak. Almost immediately we caught one group in the small gully that downclimbs and traverses into West Snowmass Creek. We found an easier route than what they seemed to be doing and continued on our way crossing short low-angled snowfields and rockfields on our way. We passed another group of 3 and noticed their buddy who had taken the class ¾ ridge above. There was starting to be the glow of daylight in the eastern sky, and we finally turned our headlamps off.

We continued bouncing up the talus fields towards K2 and found ourselves on top of K2 at 5:30 am. We waited a few minutes for the sunrise and found some excellent views and took some great pictures.

Soon enough we dropped down climbers right side of K2 and headed across the ridge towards the knife ridge.

Crossing the ridge is not as hard as people make it out to be. The easiest way is to put your feet on the left side and your hands on the crest and shuffle/climb across. The next best option is probably to just walk over it. Being my 3rd time on this thing, that's what I chose to do.

As soon as we crossed the ridge we just followed the ridge line for a while, while it gains very little elevation. We followed the ridge and at the point where the standard route splits off.

Tyler took the cairned route, and I took what has become my favorite route on almost any 14er, the ridge direct which is class 4 for most of the rest of the climbing.

I topped out on the summit about 10 min ahead of Tyler. I topped out at 6:35 am.

We were the first on the summit and spent about a half hour there enjoying it to ourselves.
Here is a view of snowmass

Couple summit shots of Tyler

We started to hear voices of other climbers, and decided to take off and let them have the summit. We left the summit a little after 7 am and went down the standard route. We met the other climbers about 400 feet below the summit, just in time for us to be off of the worst rockfall area with them below us.
A fun picture of the knife edge. (note: this is not the actual steepness)

We were at K2 in no time and ran down the scree towards what is left of the snow.

We boot skied down the basin all the way to where we needed to hit the traverse back to the saddle. About the time we were ready to start our traverse we ran into the Jamie's somewhere around 12,500 in the basin, after a little conversation we headed back up to the daly saddle. We walked down the trail towards the lake and were relieved when the knee pounding was over for a while.

The wildflowers right now are absolutely amazing up there and we enjoyed them as we walked back down the trail.

We kept a steady pace, but constantly had to turn around to look at the amazing scenery and the view of the peak we just climbed.

We crossed the creek and made for the trail junction. We hit the ditch trail and the last 1.5 miles went by quickly. We arrived at the car at around 10:55 am, making for a round trip time of 8 hrs 50 minutes.

Nothing like a beer at 11 am!

At this point Tyler had been up for something like 28 hrs straight…nice work!

One more funny picture on the knife edge.


 Comments or Questions

Amazing sunrise shots!
02/05/2011 00:22
That must have really been breathtaking to see in person. The knife edge ones are great too. I'll send those to my mom...she'll pee her pants. It was great to finally meet you! I'll have to find some sort of 'JC Climbing Bootcamp' to enroll in so we can climb with you one of these days soon!


11/30/2010 17:28
Great stuff! I plan to be there in a few weeks and you've already got my palms sweating prematurely.

”Crossing the ridge is not as hard as people make it out to be.” I hope you're right! Maybe this section is just more mental than physical. Problem is, I'm furiously working on that mental part.


Thanks all
11/30/2010 17:28
Jamie- Let's just organize a Double date and Jamie, me and my lady friend, it'll be good.

Aubrey-Don't sike yourself out, you're gonna be fine. There are ample places to put your feet and hands, and you are going to get by it and say ”What the hell was I worried about?”


First things first...
01/19/2011 03:38
Nice photos, Jordan. The ”funny” knife edge pic cracked me up. I like the differences between yours and Jaime's TRs--two solid perspectives on the same thing.
Aubrey--You Can Do It! You gotta believe. If I go first, you won't have any problem after watching such a (not) graceful and polished climber make it.


08/28/2008 00:37
Beautiful pics! Those knife edge shots are photoshopped? Well done! You should submit those to The sunrise pics are out of this world!


07/17/2007 13:25
Jordan, once again you remind me how old I am! (Referring to the Capitol-in-a-day thing) Makes me want to climb Capitol this week. Hmmm...


11/30/2010 17:28
Wow is what I found myself saying looking at your magnificent photos!! Excellent. You could have a career in photography with that kind of shooting! Makes me wanna do the climb too- except for the vertical drop offs on the knife! I'm afraid my brain will shut down when I try it some day? we'll see- your shots are very inspiring.



Thanks all
11/30/2010 17:28
Mark: No I didn't photoshop them, I just took the two funny pictures at the same angle as the knife edge slants, I tried to keep the sky out of the picture, which made it look vertical.

Cmon bill: you could do it in a day, but it might help to just carry one camera...

Thanks Joey: I don't think you need to worry to much about it. All it comes down to is focusing on the climbing rather than the exposure

Chicago Transplant

07/17/2007 17:47
Great pics, that is such a beautiful area... makes me want to go back! Love the funny knife shots as well.

Scott Rogers

07/17/2007 19:15
Good work Jordan. I think this trip report convinced me to try to attempt the Capitol-in-a-day thing as well. Awesome job!


11/30/2010 17:28
You guys are awesome, 4 hours from the TH to the summit!? That's a tough time to beat to say the least! Great job and great pics too!

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