Peak(s):  Capitol Peak  -  14,130 feet
Date Posted:  05/12/2010
Modified:  07/30/2010
Date Climbed:   05/09/2010
Author:  pioletski
 Skiing the Capitol   

Ascent and summit ski descent of Capitol Peak, 5/9/2010
Jordan (Jcwhite), Brittany (mtnbikerskierchick), Jarrett (EasyRider), Matt (pioletski)
~15 miles RT, 6750' climbed, 4230' skied, 20 hours

Jordan (Jcwhite on this forum) has now earned the dubious distinction of being the first person, as far as we know, to be crazy enough to ski Capitol twice. That he was willing to do it is a testament to his generous nature; it was as much a favor to some friends as a goal of his own. As de facto leader of the trip, Jordan had first dibs on filing a TR; his report is on

Addendum: Jarrett has posted a great TR on 14ers, and Brittany has posted her report on

Those who want to cut to the chase are invited to click through to Jordan's blog, which contains the full description of the route and plenty of excellent pictures. I will be content with posting a few impressions and photos, and pointing the way.

The best single-word description I can give to Capitol is... it's big. Big in every dimension that the human mind responds to: physical, geographical, emotional, energetic. I finished this climb so numb from exhaustion that I wasn't even sure we were done until about 24 hours later, more than half of which was spent sleeping. We had started hiking at 11:45 on Saturday night and returned to the trailhead at 8:00 Sunday evening, going between medium-hard and all-out the entire time, never stopping for any longer than necessary to eat, change equipment, set belays, etc. We maintained the peak of focus and concentration (and, yes, fear at times) for hour after hour. I have never been so drained... but once I had recovered somewhat, I found I had never been so elated, so immersed in mountainous beauty. Prior to the trip, I had not met Jordan or Jarrett (or Caleb, who unfortunately had to turn around early), and had only met Brittany once. By the end of the climb the shared effort and adventure had made us all fast friends.

Here is the rogue's gallery of my companions for the outing:

Brittany, skinning above Moon Lake at sunrise:


and climbing the Secret Chute:


Jarrett at the summit:


My ski tips overhanging the void (top of Secret Chute):


Jordan, once we were off the peak proper (but still had 500' to climb to get out of Pierre Lakes Basin):


And a couple of shots from Jordan's camera. First, a view across the east face, which despite the distortion of the fisheye lens captures the steepness of it well. Note the skiers near center - Pioletski in red, EasyRider in black:

Photo by Jcwhite

And finally, Pioletski making one of nine (count em, 9) turns on the face itself:

Photo by Jcwhite

I must add that all of my compadres earned my highest respect and admiration on this climb. I now know what it is to walk with giants. Thanks and congratulations to all of them! And thank you for reading.

Addendum: View into Pierre Lakes Basin from Pierre's Passage, aka top of the One in a Million Couloir. This is the first view of PLB that one gets on this route:

Thanks again...

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Comments or Questions
Strong work!
05/13/2010 15:19
Might I suggest a less intense way of making new friends? Not to mention that you are seriously limiting the pool of qualified applicants . . .

Congrats to everyone and good luck on the last few. Looks like Longs is cooperating with Easy Rider‘s schedule.

05/13/2010 15:32
Congratulations Matt, you are a STUD. Unbelievable.

thats quite a jump
05/13/2010 16:04
from some Sawatch Peaks last month to the baddest of them all. Looks like a great day for a death defying ski. Nice work.

one in a million/pierres passage
05/13/2010 17:26
is the couloir obvious in the daylight?

Top Dog!
05/13/2010 18:41
How about a few more photos of that beautiful PLB?

Nice job, bro!!

Easy Rider
05/13/2010 18:44
And incredible day! I was grateful to have you as a partner for this one. Some tough choices, and a lot of perseverance. Compared to this, the rest of the project will be a leisure tour.
I wish you many fine days!

05/15/2010 16:07
I would like to give props to anyone who has skied this mountain - all the trip reports make me nervous, never mind actually being on up there!

Thanks, gentlemen!
05/16/2010 16:44
Lodgling: Hey, I‘ll make friends any way I can...

Milord: Y‘know, I took time to explore Pyramid last summer thinking I would do it first and work up to Cap, but it just worked out this way.

Pivvay, Dances: I‘ll add pic through Pierre‘s Passage into PLB, the first view you get on this route. Yes, the notch is obvious in daylight.

Easy Rider:My pleasure, bro, and let‘s share some of those fine days!

Much appreciated, cheers to all!

snow elevation
05/21/2010 00:33
Great report. I am heading up this weekend and this is the best beta on conditions I could hope for. Do you remember at what elevation you were able to put on you skins?

For climbing76:
05/27/2010 02:56
We put skins on at about 10,400 feet. Hope I caught this early enough to be of some help.

Congratulations to all!
11/30/2010 17:28
Congrats on the big one. Too bad the upper conditions were so thin but that just makes it more "interesting." I'm not surprised that Jordan skied it again - he's a little F-ed in the head. I haven't met Brittany, but she's obviously got talent. Way to go, guys (and gal)!!!

Jarrett - only Longs and Challenger remaining. It must be a relief to get Cap out of the way and have just a couple of "easier" skis to go. Very cool

02/05/2011 00:22
I don‘t really know what else to say but, Wow!

That was a true representation of ski mountaineering skills in the greatest sense.

Way to step it up
05/02/2011 14:23
and safely ski the crux of the 14ers. Nice job Matt, Jarrett, Brittany, and Jordan. Maybe Caleb‘s needing to turn around will provide Jordan an excuse for a three-peat.

03/04/2012 18:31
Great job guys, that‘s one long day. Still don‘t know how you guys manage to ski that kinda stuff. Making jump turns on 60 degree death fall slopes, doesn‘t ever stop impressing me. I‘m slowly getting into all this skiing 14ers stuff and this peak scares the crap out of me. You guys rock!

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