Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
"K2"  -  13,664 feet
Post Date:  08/23/2008
Date Climbed:   08/21/2008
Posted By:  Nice Axe

 Capitol in a day  

Itinerary: Capitol Peak via Ditch Trail and Knife Ridge from Capitol Creek TH
Partner: scotthsu (Scott)
RT mileage: ~17
Vertical climbed: ~5000 ft.
Times: departed TH at 2:45am, summit at 8:30am, departed summit at 9:10am, back at TH at 1:45pm; 11 hours car-to-car

This is indeed a classic hike/climb, with a beautiful long approach on a good trail (although it was pitch dark on the way in), a hike/scramble through a remote high basin on the way to K2, and then an incredibly exposed ridge traverse to a stunning summit with sheer drop-offs on all sides.

We opted to do this in a single car-to-car push both to save a day's time and to push ourselves a bit.

This TR won't have too many route details since Bill's route description is just about perfect, just some words and pictures (including some knife ridge shots and a movie) from our trip.

We got to the TH early evening on 8/20 and set up the back of the car for sleeping. Picture of Capitol from the TH just before sunset:

After what seemed like barely any sleep, we got up and started hiking under clear skies and millions of stars at 2:45am. We hiked the Ditch Trail for ~6 miles and reached the turnoff to the saddle (just before Capitol Lake) around 5:15am and choked down a bagel for breakfast. The trail up to the saddle was very nice but it was hard to stay awake.

Scott at the saddle right at daybreak:

Amy crossing the first gully beyond the saddle:

Scott surveying some firm snowfields in the beautiful morning light on the way toward K2 (out of view well above and to the right). We did not bring ice axe nor crampons and really didn‘t need them.

Amy on K2 with Capitol behind:

Scott near the start of the knife ridge:

Amy making an initial move on the knife ridge:

Amy making like a rock fin:

The rock was incredibly solid and delightful. Scott having fun staying on the ridge proper:

Amy climbing the steep final pitch toward the summit:

Scott on the summit at 8:30am with not a cloud in the sky!

Picture of the traverse to Snowmass. Who's going to post the first TR on this one? We have our money on two or three members.

We had the summit to ourselves on a glorious summer day and stayed up there for 40 minutes snacking and soaking in the views.

Scott on an exposed section on the way back toward the knife ridge:

Amy with Capitol behind her:

Scott loving the solid rock and the views:

Movie of Amy crossing the knife ridge back toward K2:

Amy crossing the now-softening snow fields back toward the saddle:

Amy amidst wildflowers on the good trail below the saddle with Capitol Lake below, now about 11:30am:

A view back toward Capitol on the hike out:

Still (just a few) miles to go before we sleep:

This day was a gift. Capitol is my new favorite 14er.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

08/24/2008 14:47
Love the movie of the knife edge...ala Andy with the rockin‘ tune.


08/24/2008 15:49
i was definitely thinking a la andy even while filming it; song selection was all amy i was actually talking to guys (from Austin, TX) from another party about to traverse the knife ridge themselves, but the song makes for a better soundtrack!


08/24/2008 16:29
Awesome trip report, looks like you guys had fun!


Rock Stars!
08/25/2008 15:48
I have one word to sum up our feelings about this TR: JEALOUSY. Awesome job you guys. Man, you have no idea how difficult it was for us to read this TR last night. We really, really missed out on this one. We can‘t wait to hear the TR in person (over a bottle of Charles Shaw!!!) once Scott is back in town. Why do I have to be married to the girl who‘s on a first-name basis with the ER staff?

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