Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

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Conor
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Conor » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:17 am

Sean Nunn wrote:
Buckshot Jake wrote:Still can't believe people just climb this mountain on a whim. I prepared for years before attempting this mountain, researching routes, going on solo climbs, familiarizing myself with mountain terrain. It's always been the same on Capitol though, never fails. Even like six years ago after summiting and approaching the lake some solo climber came up to us at about 1PM and asked if he was on the route for Capitol.

You can literally be holding their hand and they will still walk out into the intersection.
+1. I am at 33 or so on my list now (including Long's and Crestone Needle) and I don't feel like I am anywhere near ready for Capitol.
This is the typical "pay your dues in the sawatch" mentality of the .com. Capitol, while it can be a bit of an endurance challenge, doesn't really pose that big of a technical challenge. Sure, people can get butterflies, especially if they are preparing by just doing more 14ers. Obviously, I think that is a poor way to get over the "class 4 hurdle." Or any hurdle. Many have done it that way, but that doesn't mean it is the only way.

I did Capitol on a whim. I got in my car and started driving. By the time I hit Silverthorne, I decided to head to Capitol. I read roach's description, checked the conditions report "ice axe and crampons mandatory," and day tripped it in my trail runners and hiking poles. When I come across people in the backcountry, a common conversation to have is about the route, it doesn't signify we are lost or in over our heads. I'm not some type of mountaineering phenom, rather a chubby/balding father of 3 who gets limited time in the mountains. But, it just may be possible that a skillset for 14ers can be developed outside of just climbing "class 2" 14ers. I know it has worked well for me. I am jealous of those who get out every weekend (even if it is swatch 14ers) while I'm stuck tiling a bathroom and changing poopy diapers between batches of mortar.
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CHWitte
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by CHWitte » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:43 am

Conor wrote:I did Capitol on a whim.
Yeah, this is definitely not the thread to be justifying doing this...

Or saying Capitol "doesn't really pose that big of a technical challenge."
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hellmanm
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by hellmanm » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:48 am

Conor, while I'm happy that you were able to climb Capitol successfully, I'm not sure you appreciate how many visitors (on both the site and fb) have little to no experience with climbing OR 14ers. Your approach may work for some people, but it's a dangerous one for many others. I'd rather the default be "climb more mountains, with exceptions" than "go for it; it'll probably be fine".
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Sean Nunn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:08 pm

Climbing a lot of class 1 and 2 routes DOES help you learn your limits, route-finding (which I am admittedly still poor at), hydration, nutrition, etc.

It does NOT help you learn how to climb class 3 or especially classes 4 or 5.

I climbed Long's Peak as my first mountain and got away with it. That doesn't mean I would recommend that anyone else do it.
"Thy righteousness is like the great mountains."
Psalm 36:6
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Monster5 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:30 pm

I have partners who have never climbed a significant mountain who could casually climb Capitol on their own without any issues.
I have partners who have already climbed Capitol yet I still wouldn't be cool with even leading them up Capitol. Shoot, I have partners with hundreds of 13ers and 14ers on their peaklists who have absolutely no business being more than one mile from a solid trail on their own. Additionally, some hardmen rock climbers I know would get lost heading up Bierstadt.

Common sense goes a long way in mountaineering, and I'd say just as far as actual peak experience sometimes. There are many "'paths" to gaining the skillset necessary to climb Capitol. Peak quantity and technical skills development help (preferably both), but they aren't the end-all for being able to follow a cairned and traveled class 2-4 route.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by XterraRob » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:33 pm

Monster5 wrote:I have partners who have never climbed a significant mountain who could casually climb Capitol on their own without any issues.
I have partners who have already climbed Capitol yet I still wouldn't be cool with even leading them up Capitol. Shoot, I have partners with hundreds of 13ers and 14ers on their peaklists who have absolutely no business being more than one mile from a solid trail on their own. Additionally, some hardmen rock climbers I know would get lost heading up Bierstadt.

Common sense goes a long way in mountaineering, and I'd say just as far as actual peak experience sometimes. There are many "'paths" to gaining the skillset necessary to climb Capitol. Peak quantity and technical skills development help (preferably both), but they aren't the end-all for being able to follow a cairned and traveled class 2-4 route.
Great Post Ryan!
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by AlexeyD » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:42 pm

Sean Nunn wrote:Climbing a lot of class 1 and 2 routes DOES help you learn your limits, route-finding (which I am admittedly still poor at), hydration, nutrition, etc.

It does NOT help you learn how to climb class 3 or especially classes 4 or 5.

I climbed Long's Peak as my first mountain and got away with it. That doesn't mean I would recommend that anyone else do it.
I mostly agree with this with one caveat: it does NOT help much with routefinding skills, unless it's off-trail, which in the case of the CO 14er standard routes is rarely (never?) the case.

The rest I agree, and would also add things like layering, "weather management" in general, and of course general fitness and altitude training. So it's helpful for sure, but not sufficient.

EDIT: and yes, obviously going through the 14er checklist is not the only way to be prepared to climb Cap (or anything else) safely. Plenty of people are fully capable of it that haven't touched a single CO 14er. The fact that this is even being seriously discussed is a bit alarming TBH.
Last edited by AlexeyD on Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by illusion7il » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:45 pm

CHWitte wrote:
Conor wrote:I did Capitol on a whim.
Yeah, this is definitely not the thread to be justifying doing this...

Or saying Capitol "doesn't really pose that big of a technical challenge."
Maybe it doesn't pose that big of a technical challenge for some, but it does in fact pose the biggest technical challenge of all of the standard 14er routes. I can't stress how important it is to start at the bottom and work your way up, increasing mileage, class difficulty and exposure level. This doesn't mean you have to save capitol for last, but maybe put it in the last 10 or whatever. Paying your dues in the Sawatch, or other easier peaks, can certainly help condition your body so that way when you reach the knife edge, you are alert, and not physically / mentally exhausted which can result in poor decisions. If your goal is to complete the list, it's not going to be a very exciting finish if you climb all the fun peaks first, and it's easy to lose motivation to complete the list when your last dozen or so peaks are all easy walkups.
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Conor
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Conor » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:49 pm

My comments are about being prepared. Preparedness isn't bought at REI. And it isn't "Earned" through a tick list on this website. The comments that one is inexperienced if they attempt a more difficult peak early on, or stop to talk about the trail/directions/etc, shows the inexperience of the commentor themselves. These people are a bit stuffy....and probably less prepared than I was "on a whim."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here (try bringing up that kids can do these peaks...paging Scott P)....but there is more than one way to skin a cat (and do so safely, if not in a more safe manner).
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by AlexeyD » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:00 pm

Conor wrote:My comments are about being prepared. Preparedness isn't bought at REI. And it isn't "Earned" through a tick list on this website. The comments that one is inexperienced if they attempt a more difficult peak early on, or stop to talk about the trail/directions/etc, shows the inexperience of the commentor themselves. These people are a bit stuffy....and probably less prepared than I was "on a whim."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here (try bringing up that kids can do these peaks...paging Scott P)....but there is more than one way to skin a cat (and do so safely, if not in a more safe manner).
It's seems there's a bit of a disconnect between people who climb mountains in general, and people who climb 14ers. The "work your way up through the list" thing is really only applicable to the latter. There's nothing inherently wrong with either one of these, but the criteria for how to be prepared is very different.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Phill the Thrill » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:06 pm

Conor wrote: I did Capitol on a whim. I got in my car and started driving. By the time I hit Silverthorne, I decided to head to Capitol. I read roach's description, checked the conditions report "ice axe and crampons mandatory," and day tripped it in my trail runners and hiking poles.
Not recommended, please.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by forbins_mtn » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:24 pm

I would never suggest to anyone (especially people I don’t know on an Internet forum) to attempt any harder peak without proper skill and mental preparation, but I’m in the boat of people who believe you don’t have to work your way up through the 14ers to get to the class 4 peaks. I’ve only done 20 or so 14ers but in those are a solo of Pyramid, Cables on Longs, and Capitol. However, my journey has included intensive courses on technical rock climbing, plenty of personal time on rock/ice, and lots of fitness training including many long races and a marathon. I’m nowhere near some of the amazing individuals on this site but I’ve found peace in my skillset, and I don’t think I acquired my most valuable skills from working my way up the difficulty list. There are plenty of ways to gain knowledge and comfort in other mediums that will apply to Capitol. Personally, I think the most valuable skill is routefinding. It takes time on rock to develop that

Saying that, I do have to mention that doing the fun mountains (ie - Capitol) early on makes trekking up the Sawatch a chore. If I didn’t have my amazing and beautiful wife to hike with I’m not sure I’d continue hiking the class 2 peaks.
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