Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  09/19/2010
Modified:  09/28/2010
Date Climbed:   09/19/2010
Author:  ursidae
 Capitol Peak  

Myself and friend camped by the lake and got a twilight start for the summit.

Reaching the Daly Capitol saddle we hiked down the very step and loose switchback trail (it's easy to miss since the semi flat trail on the saddle leads you in to a high trail with much more scrambling to get to K2, keeping en eye down and to the left is the key to avoid this, if avoiding is key.) and crossed a small gully to climb a diagonal crack which put us on a cairned route across the rock fields to K2. there are 2 cracks to climb next to each other, either one worked fine. (When returning my friend opted for a higher route which put him on an "interesting" ledge to get out of the gully.)

Then the rockhopping to K2 ensued, and ensued and... Would recommend staying to the right somewhat and away from the icefield on the left side on the ascent to K2. The flat rocks on the left side are sitting on cruddy ice and seem to want to relocate a wee bit when you step on them at this time of year.

Reaching K2 we went straight up the solid little ridge, returning we planned to bypass K2 but did not like the look of loose crud on the bypass so we climbed across K2 again and came down the same solid and short ridge. There appeared to be a path to the right (returning) of the ridge but it looks questionable.

When facing Capitol on K2 we took a quarter turn to the right (north) and climbed down a steep path. Careful selection of handholds a must from here on. I found many handholds on Capitol to be excellent if you are making a pile, building a rock wall etc. Pic taken from below where the path is not as apparent as when you look down from the top.

From the moment you put your hand on K2 the fun never lets up until you are off the mountain.

The knife edges after K2 make for great picture opportunities.

Past the flat ridge traverse section though it gets a little dicier. There are many paths and options, we were ascending at the same time as another party of 3 and between the 5 of us we used as many lines to get up. The more solid lines tend to induce excess clenching which may or may not be desirable. Pictures show the terrain even though I'm not making any recommendations as to optimal paths. There are cairns all over the slope, some good, some less good, some with unknown purpose (decorative?), some might have been former handholds.



We loosely followed Bill's guide to the summit ridge. The summit ridge does not provide opportunity to relax and scamper, it's narrow and pointy and the quality of handholds are the same as for the rest of the mountain. Summit is relatively tiny and please do not listen to anyone trying to get you to step back just one more step for that perfect picture. Pic shows one of the more cohesive portions of ridge on the way out.

Downclimbing provided more route selecting opportunities and we were lucky in our timing to have nobody above or below us for most of the climb. It's very difficult not to send a pebble or two down even though the 5 of us managed to keep it quite clean. Pic shows some of the pebbles and rocks at the bottom kicked down by previous climbers.

Once past K2 and in reasonably relaxed mode lunch was had in a nice little rock (possibly made from collected handholds) dugout with fantastic views just a few steps down from K2 on the right side.

Decamping and heading out for some cow swatting on the ditch trail was uneventful, leaves are turning and with the trail mostly flat it's a relatively enjoyable departure at this time of year if the weather is good.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Holy beans!
10/04/2010 21:54
Can't believe you finally made it up there! Great pics that make me very happy not to have come along!

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