Capitol Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-24, By: ScreeSurfer
Info: Climbed Capitol Peak from Snowmass Creek trailhead as a very long day hike. Parking lot at trailhead is easily accessible with 2wd as there is only an inch or 2 of packed snow. The first obstacle was fording Snowmass Creek. Stepping stones were slightly covered with ice and I made about 5 false starts before finding a shallower stretch slightly north of the signed crossing where I made a fast dash across the creek. I made it about 5.5 miles before needing to put on snowshoes where I left West Snowmass Creek and headed up the slopes leading to Moon Lake. Moon Lake was frozen with an inch or two of crusted snow on it so it was an easy walk across it. I stayed on snow the entire way heading up to the K2-Clark Saddle. There were a few firm stretches but my snowshoes usually sank 6-8". Left my snowshoes just before K2 where I put on crampons for the rest of the climb. Snow on K2 allowed great traction as did the snow plastered to the Knife-edge. Snow was loose and sometimes thigh deep just to the south of the ridge. The ridge crest contained pretty firm snow embedded between the rocks. Took the standard eastern ledges back to Northeast ridge down, knee deep on average. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-10-03, By: arianna2
Info: I did a quick addendum to my trip report from 2 weeks ago but I will add here to just to show the pics of how it looks now 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-09-26, By: dssmith15
Info: Beautiful day with perfect weather. Camped at Capitol Lake 9/24-9/26. Very cold at night. Route is clear and there was no ice. For more details check out the trip report: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=21410 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-09-08, By: Gandalf69
Info: Route is dry. Approaching K2 there appears to have been a massive landslide from the cliff side and from the ridge that leads over to Clark peak. Many of the big boulders are loose, it definitely took more time in that section. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-30, By: amymaylee94
Info: Started around 4am from Capitol Lake base camp. Summited a little bit before 9am. Took us under 2 hours from K2 to Capitol summit. The talus hopping from Capitol-Daly saddle to K2 was way worse than any of the Class 3/4 moves that I had to do on the K2-Capitol Ridge. If you choose to bypass the K2 summit there are a few small snow patches to be aware of but they are avoidable. Just be careful not to step and then slip on the snow or else you will probably get seriously hurt. Absolutely gorgeous weather weekend, but summit was extremely busy on Sunday morning (probably at least 20 people summited on Sunday morning). 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-23, By: halfapackofapache
Info: Day hiked Capitol on Sunday (8/22). There were still a few small snow pockets from the recent storm on K2 and along the ridge but they are avoidable. No need for microspikes. Left the trailhead at 2:45, summited at 8, back to trailhead at 11. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-22, By: wintersage
Info: Did not summit due to storm clouds moving in much sooner than forecasted (very cloudy by 8am, precipitation by 10am). The downclimb from K2 has a good dusting of snow currently but is doable without microspikes. Other parties that went past the knife's edge said the ridge was fairly dry. I don't think any parties summited on Saturday so it remains unknown how much snow the upper east face (the section right before the summit) holds. UPDATE 8/28: Went back to finish the job. Snow has melted and the trail is dry the entire way. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-18, By: Buckie06
Info: Perfect conditions on the trail. All campsites at the lake were full by Friday night. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-10, By: cougar
Info: Smoky and hazy in the morning limited distant visibility to a few miles, but it cleared up by midday with blue skies. Avoid the K2 bypass, I went up and over on ascent, doing the solid class 3/4 downclimb, which wasn't hard at all. Attempted the same on my return from Capitol, but deviated a bit and ended up on the loose rock just below the ridge. Pulled a larger one loose, which rolled just by me, and slid down about 10-20 ft, and triggered a slide of smaller rocks, which came down on me. Fortunately I was able to stop sliding down farther and avoid injury, but it was a very close call. Also very fortunate no one was below. The cairns lead to this loose area and not the solid line. Route finding on Capitol wasn't too tricky, could use a few more cairns. Someone marked a lot of arrows with pink chalk on the rocks to supplement the cairns, these point towards descent lines. Helpful until the next rain. Not sure how official but they seemed to follow the route. Campsites at the lake were easy to get Sunday afternoon, don't think they all filled up. Creek crossing had enough logs and rocks to keep my boots on and mostly dry. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-09, By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: Hiked in on Friday evening. It took about 2:20 to get to Capitol Lake, and we were surprised how fast it went. The smoke wasn't bad then, but by the time we started hiking the next morning, it smelled like a campfire. The camp spots by the lake really filled up fast and a food cache at a camp next to ours got raided overnight by a bear, so there was trash everywhere. The talus and boulder fields to get to K2 are slow and tedious, and a real pain in the ass on the way back. In my opinion, the downclimb off K2 and the Knife Edge are the two cruxes. The Knife edge was especially difficult, and it was much scarier than a lot of people make it out to be, so you just have to be mentally prepared for that. The rest of the route is just loose, chossy class 3 and maybe a little 4, but it's really not that bad. Lots of rockfall, so be super careful and wear a helmet. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-08-09, By: dr_j
Info: Summer conditions. The area past the Mt. Daly / K2 saddle is a bit confusing as the recent rains may have washed out parts of the trail. We had to descend about 200 feet before angling towards K2, it's a tiring haul going back. The terrain past the knife edge is loose, and it's best to space out. We took about four hours to get to the summit from the trail junction, three hours to descend. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-28, By: Abominabl31
Info: Conditions from previous reports on 7/17 and 7/20 still hold true. Here's a summary of some additional observations. Be safe, start early, help others be safe, have a great experience and make it home to tell the tale. Though I'll focus more on what to be cautious of, I had a gorgeous and confidently safe experience camping at Capitol Lake on 7/25 and climbing Capitol Summit on 7/26. The cows may be ingesting the hallucinogenic 'shrooms growing in the area. Their mooing is distinctly odd. I confirmed the red and white spotted ones could cause brain damage. The brown and white spotted ones sound crazy toxic. Don't eat the 'shrooms. Be very, VERY watchful of early monsoon season storms. They are building fast and early. On 7/25 there were puffy clouds by 9:30a. First rain fell was by 11:30a. Thunder sounded at 2:30p. I went to the summit the next day starting from Capitol Lake camp at 4:15a to summit at 9:00a. I met hikers from the Capitol Trailhead parking area who had started the same morning at 1a to summit at the same time. It's tough, but there's no substitute for an early start to beat the lightning risk. On 7/25 and 7/26 there was significant long-distance wildfire smoke in the area. Alas, there's not much to do about this. On 7/26 Snowmass and Sopris were relatively clear. Maroon Peak to Castle Peak were silhouettes. The Sawatch could barely be discerned. The San Juans were invisible. Ten of us who summited on 7/26 all pondered what the hardest part of the route was. Here're some take-a-ways from the group. - The ascent from Capitol Lake to the Daly/K2 saddle, we all agreed, is easy to do with a head-lamp (as it the whole route from the parking area). Some trail runners planned to run part of it from the parking area. The remainder of the route from Daly saddle to K2 and Capitol Peak is challenging without daylight to help spot the cairns. - The ridge from K2 to the Capitol summit block generally got good marks for being easy to navigate if one is alert and had better traction than K2 or the summit block. The ridge does require one to stay alert at all times, but I had a great time and and felt confident. - The summit block is moderately easy to navigate with the excellent photo and line drawing here on 14ers.com. There are reliable cairns also, which increases one's confidence. Study the overview photo here on 14ers.com, #26, which I found very helpful. What a gorgeous day. I met some great people out there also. I hope this little report helps you make great planning decisions and have a great experience. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-20, By: alpinenut
Info: There were 3 snow crossings below 13K in the Boulder Field. We carried micro spikes but did not use them. Bring them if you think it might freeze or just go around the snow. Upper mountain as last poster said was in summer condition. We crossed stream on way up, upstream without removing boots. However in the afternoon it rained so we add to walk across in bare feet. Glad we brought towels. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-19, By: NatDog
Info: No snow remaining on K2 or anywhere else on the route above 13k. There were just a few inconsequential snow crossings in the boulder field east of the Daly saddle. On the morning ascent, we did have to take off our shoes at the stream crossing where the previous poster mentioned. On the way back down we found a spot maybe only 30 yards downstream of the route that had some logs and boulders we used to cross the stream and stayed dry. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-12, By: soundchaser2112
Info: Solo dayhiked Capitol in 15 hours. Similar conditions as the previous report with some snow still remaining on the K2 shortcut and several snow patches in the boulder field, you can either go around them or the snow is soft enough to walk through without traction or axe. The snow is still a little slick so microspikes may not be a bad idea, but not a necessity, I just wore trailer runners and used poles for stability while crossing the snow. The rest of the route and ridge is dry summer conditions. There is still one ankle/shin-deep stream crossing right where the ditch trail connects with the Capitol Creek Trail that requires you to take your shoes off since there are no rocks or logs to cross over on. Lots of wildflowers! 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-06, By: dvangulick
Info: Mostly summer conditions. Several snow fields heading to K2 are mostly avoidable. They are very soft even in the early morning now. Snow in the shortcut route around K2--climbed to summit. I placed a yellow rock at the summit of Capitol in remembrance of Zach who lost his life on Capitol in 2017. I was planning to provide a picture of it for his mom to have. I didn't realize until I was home that my camera failed. Anyone climbing soon mind taking a picture and sharing it with me? 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-03, By: ktfoote628
Info: One high Creek Crossing where we took off shoes but the rest were manageable. Beautiful wildflowers to Capitol lake. Camped at Capitol Lake before today's crowds. There was a park ranger who unfortunately had to pick up a lot of trash from disrespectful campers so please leave no Trace if you visit. She was checking bear canisters, wag bags and registration as well. Many people were heading up late and I don't know how they handle it because the 8 designated sites filled up fast. We had crampons and ice axe and had a lovely day climbing Capitol. Still significant unavoidable snowfield as you round the corner before K2 gets into view. We went direct over K2 which was fun. No snow beyond that. Several smaller snow fields that are hard to avoid, but many that are avoidable in the talus field. When we were going up, a lady was coming down with a dislocated shoulder and injured face from slipping on a snowfield (her party had microspikes and yaktracks on an icy morning after rain). In general, I was amazed at the number of people underestimating the mountain, not packing out what they take into the campground, getting really late starts, continuing to go up in storms (we saw a group who stashed their poles on the scramble and they got zapped by lightning... That group didn't start until 7 am from trailhead). We stashed our poles after K2 and a marmot chewed the handles. Be safe and smart, people. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-21, By: artemavovk
Info: Similar conditions to last report, but adding a few more photos. Trail completely clear to the lake; creek water level is high so bring spare dry socks. One inconsequential snow section right before the campsites. Clear trail up to Daly saddle (Daly ascent has one avoidable snow patch) From saddle to K2 is probably the worst section - 80% of the talus is covered with snow. In the morning (~4AM) the snow is mostly supportive and microspikes are enough to feel safe. As mentioned in the previous report, route around K2 is covered with snow - going over the top is the safest option at this point. Past that - summer conditions. Coming down is, arguably, harder as the snow from K2 to Daly saddle turns into mush (~8AM) with many spots that will swallow you completely (but also fun glissading options too). It is safer to descend lower than standard route to avoid steep mushy gullies (I took out the ice axe and it was definitely needed). 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-14, By: Zach Eiten
Info: Trail is completely clear except for a few small patches of snow between leaving the forest and gaining the hill with the campsites, but it won't last long. About 75% of the campsites are snow free with melting snow drifts in the others. The snow level is around the campsites/ lake but won't be for long. Large patches without snow exist. On route, a few small patches of snow cover the trail going up to the Mt. Daly saddle which cause slight navigational annoyance following the trail on the dark, but they probably will be gone by next weekend. After the Mt. Daly saddle, the first two little semi-technical gullies are full or partially full of knife hard snow in the morning. We didn't bring crampons and our toes hurt in the morning getting across with some crafty axe work. My partner has micro spikes and they were perfect. Snow was soft for the return voyage though. Almost entirely continuous snow with small suncups to K2. Pretty nice conditions for fast movement. K2 was snow capped. The walk around the the right is vertical hard snow. As of now was accessed the summit of K2 by climbing the class 4 rock on the left and hugging the groove between snow and rock. We down climbed from the summit of K2. The rest of the route is almost entirely snow free aside from a couple of easily avoidable snow patches but they are melting fast. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-03-03, By: SnowAlien
Info: Lookin' snowy. We had a bit of trouble getting to K2. Feel free to contact me with specific questions. 
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