Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

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Jim Davies
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Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Jim Davies » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:30 am

22-year-old Iowa man who separated from his partner and veered off the established route while descending Capitol Peak on Tuesday was safely pulled from the peak around 7:15 p.m. by a crew that included two members of the Mountain Rescue hoist team and four military personnel.
https://www.aspendailynews.com/news/cap ... d1938.html
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LURE
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by LURE » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:48 am

He and a friend started out (Tuesday) morning and climbed to the summit of Capitol Peak. On their return, he was looking for a short cut. He and his partner disagreed on whether to stay on the standard route,
Yikes. How many times were those exact words said last summer with horrific tragedies as the outcome?

Making those words large and bold. We can't have another 5 of these like last summer.
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12ersRule
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by 12ersRule » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:51 am

“He said he couldn’t climb down and that it was too dangerous to climb up.”
Huh????? ](*,) You made it down it safely? How is it too dangerous to go back up?

Glad he didn't try to descend the cliffs and called for help.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by hessma » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:53 am

Here’s your sign, in 3,2,1...
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by bmcqueen » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:04 am

Sounds like this attempted shortcut was in a different place than the fatalities from last summer/the one I highlighted in this trip report, but it's still worth taking a look at the shot of Capitol from Daly. There are no shortcuts off this peak. https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... m=tripmine
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Candace66 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:11 am

Last summer, on Castle Peak, I met a couple of older fellows. One of them claimed to have done all the CO 14ers at least once.

He stated to me that on Capitol, upon returning from the summit to the knife edge, he looked around for an easier route. According to him, he dropped down below the crest of the knife edge, maybe 100 feet IIRC, and easily traversed across along some line he found.

Anyone have a clue what he was talking about? Perhaps his memory is fuzzy, I don't know how many years it had been since he was on Capitol. As has been said countless times, "if there were an easier way, THAT would be the standard route."

I know some people feel the easiest way to cross the knife edge is to use your hands on the top and walk your feet across below you. Vs scooting across on your butt. But that is not what he described.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by tsand » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:13 am

bmcqueen wrote:Sounds like this attempted shortcut was in a different place than the fatalities from last summer/the one I highlighted in this trip report, but it's still worth taking a look at the shot of Capitol from Daly. There are no shortcuts off this peak. https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... m=tripmine
Sounds to me like it was in the same place.
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Jim Davies
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Jim Davies » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:17 am

Candace66 wrote: He stated to me that on Capitol, upon returning from the summit to the knife edge, he looked around for an easier route. According to him, he dropped down below the crest of the knife edge, maybe 100 feet IIRC, and easily traversed across along some line he found.
He might have been talking about traversing around K2. The Knife Edge isn't really that difficult (just exposed); climbing over the top of K2 is much more difficult.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by bmcqueen » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:17 am

tsand wrote:
bmcqueen wrote:Sounds like this attempted shortcut was in a different place than the fatalities from last summer/the one I highlighted in this trip report, but it's still worth taking a look at the shot of Capitol from Daly. There are no shortcuts off this peak. https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... m=tripmine
Sounds to me like it was in the same place.
What I read indicated he crossed back over the knife ridge and was looking for a way to shortcut down somewhere around K2 I would assume. The one I highlight is right at the base of the summit pyramid before re-crossing the knife ridge on the descent.

Here is the text from MRA (emphasis added):


Climber Rescued from Capitol Peak

Pitkin County, Colorado – 7/10/2018 – On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, around 4:30 p.m., the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a 911 call from a climber who reported that he was stuck near Capitol Peak and needed assistance. The caller, later identified as Eric Millers of Iowa City, Iowa, stated that he had ventured off-route on the descent from Capitol Peak to Capitol Lake and was now stuck in a position where he could no longer descend or ascend. Millers stated that he didn’t have any injuries that would prevent him from climbing, but due to his fatigue and dehydration, he felt that the climb back up to the established route was too dangerous to attempt. Millers further stated that a thunderstorm had just passed through the area leaving him cold and wet.

Capitol Peak is a mountain with an elevation of 14,137 feet in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area approximately 14 miles west of Aspen, CO. Capitol Peak is considered a difficult mountain to climb with numerous exposures and loose, crumbling rock.

Around twenty members of the all-volunteer Mountain Rescue Aspen search and rescue team began to mobilize in order to attempt to rescue Millers. A Blackhawk rescue helicopter from the High-Altitude Army National Guard Training Site (HAATS) in Gypsum, CO, was called in to assist in the rescue. A two-person team of Hoist Rescue Technicians (HRTs) from Mountain Rescue Aspen boarded the Blackhawk helicopter at the Aspen airport, which was manned by four members of the military. At the same time, a four-person foot team of Mountain Rescue Aspen climbers began to hike towards Capitol Peak in the event that the Blackhawk helicopter would not be able to reach Millers.

The Blackhawk helicopter, aided by a large arrow made of rocks on the ground and pointing towards Millers’ location, was able to find Millers around 6:40 p.m. Millers was well off the established route between Capitol Peak and Capitol Lake. A Mountain Rescue Aspen HRT was then lowered via hoist from the hovering Blackhawk helicopter to Millers. Millers was not carrying a helmet or harness, so the Mountain Rescue Aspen HRT fitted Millers with a helmet and harness and assisted him in being hoisted up to the hovering Blackhawk helicopter.

After declining medical treatment, Millers was transported to the Mountain Rescue Aspen headquarters. Millers told Sheriff’s Office personnel and rescuers that after reaching the summit of Capitol Peak and traversing back across the Knife Edge (a section of exposed rock near the summit of Capitol Peak) he began to look for a shortcut back to Capitol Lake. Millers stated that his climbing partner did not want to take a shortcut, and after arguing about which route to take, Millers began to travel off-route in search of a shortcut while his partner continued on the established route. Millers said he soon realized that he was in trouble when could no longer climb downhill and could no longer retrace his route back uphill. At that point, Millers was able to call 911 and ask for assistance. Millers’ climbing partner safely reached Capitol Lake.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Rescue Aspen would like to remind backcountry enthusiasts to stay with their climbing and hiking partners when in the backcountry. No matter how enticing a shortcut may appear, those in the backcountry are strongly advised to remain on the established routes, especially on Capitol Peak. Established routes are established for a reason, as they are usually the safest routes for ascent and descent. All those who venture into the backcountry must be prepared for self-rescue, as there is no guarantee of rescue.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by ultrarunningkid » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:26 am

Always looking for that mythical shortcut that they think the route markers are hiding from them.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Stratosfearsome » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:40 am

Relieved to hear he made it out ok. Stay together as a team through tricky terrain out there, please.
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Re: Deja Vu on Capitol Peak

Post by Buckshot Jake » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:08 am

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.
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