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 Peak:  Capitol Peak (14er)
 Route:  Northeast Ridge from Capitol Lake
 Range:  Elk
 Posted By:  Cool Hand Luke
 Date of Information:  05/20/2012
 Date Posted:  05/21/2012
 Report

Road to the TH is completely clear of snow,snowshoes were helpful from about 4 miles in and especially near Capitol Lake. There are some melted out camping spots about 1/4 mile from the lake near the trail and the stream is running that high too. The trail up to the Daly saddle is melting out, we stashed snowshoes about 1/2 way up.

The section after the saddle to K2 is a mix of rock and snow, but with the east-facing aspect it turns rotten fast. K2 wasn't too bad to summit right now, good snow near the top but watch the cornice. Crampons and axe are definitely necessary...

The Knife Edge is for all purposes clear of snow. I thought the climbing after the Knife Edge was more demanding than the Knife Edge itself. After crossing the Knife Edge the rest of the climb is a mix of rock and snow with plenty of class 4 moves; we also ran into low class 5 moves with our route selection. We took the ridge back to K2 because of less than ideal snow conditions, more demanding moves for sure.

Tips:

-It took us 16 hours from high camp to the summit and back to the car, rotten snow tacked on a lot of time on the way back. We started at 5 AM from camp, an earlier start time would have been better.

-Set a rigid turn around time and stick with it. After K2 it took 2.5 hours to the summit and about 2 hours to return.

-Watch for rockfall in the gullies after K2

-This was a very demanding climb with the mixed conditions. Plan accordingly and don't underestimate the mountain.

-Have fun, it's beautiful up there.

Photo 1- from the trail, idea of snow conditions up top
Photo 2- K2, note mixed rock section and cornice
Photo 3- Summit from K2
Photo 4- Last gulley and access to summit ridge



Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4


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