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Jim Larkey | profile | all galleries >> Colorado 14'er Peak Bagging, Jul '10 Climb >> Capitol Peak (14,130'), Standard Route, NE Ridge tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Capitol Peak (14,130'), Standard Route, NE Ridge

Capitol Peak will sharpen your focus and concentration skills. The fun begins after the most-noted "Knife Edge" ridge, a 100' length of good solid rock, with 2,000' of exposure on both sides, that must be traversed to reach the summit. Maybe a stopper for the inexperienced Fourteener climber, but it's what follows the ridge that will put you in a zen-like zone of focus. You can checkout my team member's impressions of this climb on this link.

One of Colorado's toughest Fourteeners to climb, it's massive trapezoidal shape can be seen from the Capitol Creek trailhead. Said to resemble the US Capitol building, it was named by the Hayden Survey, but never climbed. Capitol's loose rock above the "Knife Edge", is typical for other peaks in the Elk Range, such as the Maroon Bells, and Pyramid.

Before you reach the "Knife Edge", you'll will have to decide whether to climb K2's (13,664') summit, or contour around the N'ly slope. Should you plan to summit K2, a Class-4 move or two will be required. The climb is short, and it is worth the effort. You'll get some great views of Capitol, as well as the "Knife Edge".

You'll reach the Knife Edge shortly after descending from K2. Your choice of traverse is up to you. I've seen some scoot on their butts, others hang on the edge, and friction climb with their feet. And I've seen others walk across the edge. Your skill and confidence will determine what's best for you.

Once across the "Knife Edge" the fun begins. Route finding is important. Look for the cairns, and stay high when crossing the gully on the east side below Capitol's summit. I've seen climbers knock rocks loose, and watch them ricochet down the gully like a pin-ball. I can't emphasize enough to stay high on the good rock when crossing the gully.

Once across the gully, the summit is a short climb to the top. We chose to do the ridge (good rock), but you can choose other routes as well. There are many options to the summit.

But once on the summit, you'll enjoy views of Pyramid, the Maroon Bells, and other peaks in the Elks Range. Keep an eye on the weather, and enjoy the rewards of standing on one of the toughest fourteeners in Colorado!

Tips: Keep an eye on the weather...."off the summit by noon" means back at the saddle by noon!
Stay high on the gully crossing, on the E'ly side of Capitols summit.
You can view an excellent detailed route description with photos here.
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Looking Back on the K2-Capitol Ridgeline, Mt Daly (skyline)
Looking Back on the K2-Capitol Ridgeline, Mt Daly (skyline)
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Ridgeline to Clark Peak, From Below Summit of K2
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Ridgeline to Clark Peak, From Below Summit of K2
Capitol Creek Drainage, From Summit of K2 (13,664).  Capitol Lake Below
Capitol Creek Drainage, From Summit of K2 (13,664). Capitol Lake Below
Capitol Creek Drainage, From Summit of K2 (13,664).  Capitol Lake Below
Capitol Creek Drainage, From Summit of K2 (13,664). Capitol Lake Below
K2-Capitol Ridgeline to Mt Daly (right), Capitol Creek Drainage (left center)
K2-Capitol Ridgeline to Mt Daly (right), Capitol Creek Drainage (left center)
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Clark Peak (13,664'), Pierre Lakes Basin Below
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Clark Peak (13,664'), Pierre Lakes Basin Below
That's the One, View From Summit of K2
That's the One, View From Summit of K2
Climbers Traversing the Knife Edge Ridge
Climbers Traversing the "Knife Edge" Ridge
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Clark Peak (13,516'), Pierre Lake Basin Below
Viewer Correction: Snowmass Mountain (14,092,), NOT Clark Peak (13,516'), Pierre Lake Basin Below
Capitol Lake & Drainage Viewed From Summit of K2...Basecamp in Trees (right of center)
Capitol Lake & Drainage Viewed From Summit of K2...Basecamp in Trees (right of center)
Team Descending K2 (13,664'), Some Class 3/4 Scrambling
Team Descending K2 (13,664'), Some Class 3/4 Scrambling
Brain Leading the Way Across the Knife Edge Ridge
Brain Leading the Way Across the "Knife Edge" Ridge
Marietta in the Lead, On the Knife Edge
Marietta in the Lead, On the "Knife Edge"
A Distant Climber Descending From the Summit, Capitol Peak (14,130')
A Distant Climber Descending From the Summit, Capitol Peak (14,130')
Looking Back at K2-Capitol Ridgeline, K2 (13,664')	 Prominent on Skyline
Looking Back at K2-Capitol Ridgeline, K2 (13,664') Prominent on Skyline
Grand View of Capitol Creek Drainage, From K2-Capitol Ridgeline
Grand View of Capitol Creek Drainage, From K2-Capitol Ridgeline
Pierre Lakes Basin, From K2-Capitol Ridgeline, Below Capitol's Summit
Pierre Lakes Basin, From K2-Capitol Ridgeline, Below Capitol's Summit
Hole-In-The-Rock
Hole-In-The-Rock
Approaching Summit of Capitol Peak (14,130')
Approaching Summit of Capitol Peak (14,130')
Jim, Register Signin at 10:33AM, Capitol Peak (14,130')
Jim, Register Signin at 10:33AM, Capitol Peak (14,130')
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