Three of us trekked out to Colorado for a brief visit and attempt on Capitol Peak. During the trip my good friend Zach joined us for some mountaineering hardship. We departed Wednesday afternoon on 9/27. I returned early to be with my family before a busy work week while Tristan and Aaron sacked another 14’er.
Here’s how the story went via photos:
We flew via Frontier airlines and a discounted rate on a Wednesday afternoon. It really was affordable. The kicker was the red eye flight returning.
The three of us stayed with our most hospitable aunt Laura in Littleton. It was Aaron’s birthday. He requested carrot cake.
We took a short hike on Mount Falcon just outside of Littleton to stretch our legs Thursday afternoon before crashing in our beds before the night drive to Capitol Peak.
1.) The forecast looked good. 2.) A few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches here and there. 3.) Decisions on footwear and gear prep. 4.) Fooling around. 5.) Loved ones “face timing” from home. 5.) A reliable four-wheel drive to the trailhead (and it didn’t leak like a Land Rover).
We left somewhere around 19 or 20:00 Thursday evening from Littleton and arrived close to 00:00 Friday morning.
It was a long walk in and eventually we bivouacked for about two hours from 0400 to 0600 at around 11k’ to take a breather and wait for the coming light before getting to the saddle. Temperatures were below freezing and it would snow off and on. The sky was mostly clear and was absolutely beautiful. While shivering on the ground shooting stars would fly by above us. As we lay there on the sapping cold ground you could hear your partner shift from time to time. At one point a thunder storm lit with lighting rolled through below us– thankfully it kept its distance.
We survived the brief bivy and progressed forward and upward. The weather looked like it would cooperate and remained crisp and windy.
The morning was shaping to be a beautiful one. As we climbed higher clouds began to roll in, however.
On the Saddle it became clear that it would snow for a while probably killing our chance for a summit bid. It was absolutely slick on the rocks with a layer of fresh snow coming down. The terrain morphed from mountain trail to granite boulder field.
Moving through the boulder field and looking up to K2.
The view from K2 was breathtaking. We realized with the weather setting in that Capitol Peak was beyond our reach today.
At several points the exposure is extreme. We decided to stop here at K2.
Brothers in this together– a little disappointed, but enjoying the view and the endeavor.
After seeing what we did with the weather change a climb on Capitol Peak may best be done in Winter or Summer. It seems a Fall climb is hit or miss depending on what snow may do to the boulder field.