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Capitol Peak

Colorado > Alpine Rock

Description

Capitol Peak is one of the most challenging fourteeners in Colorado, and yields some good technical routes including the Northwest Ridge. Standing at 14,130', it is one of the most impressive mountains in the Elk Range with its amazing north face. Unlike some of the other mountains in the Elk Range, Capitol has very solid rock which can make the climbing very enjoyable, and the views from the summit are very rewarding and spectacular.

Getting There

Capitol Peak can be approached from either the Capitol Creek Trailhead or the Snowmass Creek Trailhead. Both of these trailheads can be reached off of Colorado 82 south of Glenwood Springs. For detailed directions to these trailheads refer to either Dawson's or Roach's fourteener guides.

Routes from Left to Right

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Capitol knife ridge in winter
[Hide Photo] Capitol knife ridge in winter
K2 in winter.
[Hide Photo] K2 in winter.
It's that cool.
[Hide Photo] It's that cool.
Capitol Lake/Peak.
[Hide Photo] Capitol Lake/Peak.
Capitol as seen from Mount Sopris, Mom and Dad in the foreground.
[Hide Photo] Capitol as seen from Mount Sopris, Mom and Dad in the foreground.
Winter light.
[Hide Photo] Winter light.
Capitol Peak, January 2, 2012.
[Hide Photo] Capitol Peak, January 2, 2012.
Middle Moon Slab. Had no rope and no shoes, so a picture is all I've got. Looks super fun though, maybe 5.9 - 5.11 generally. Great rest day hangout.
[Hide Photo] Middle Moon Slab. Had no rope and no shoes, so a picture is all I've got. Looks super fun though, maybe 5.9 - 5.11 generally. Great rest day hangout.
Cobra Boulder (just made that up) located near Middle Moon lake. 12-15 feet tall. May be worth checking out if you brought your shoes. Rock is flawless white granite.
[Hide Photo] Cobra Boulder (just made that up) located near Middle Moon lake. 12-15 feet tall. May be worth checking out if you brought your shoes. Rock is flawless white granite.
One of the smaller ponds below Moon Lake. "Middle Moon" perhaps?
[Hide Photo] One of the smaller ponds below Moon Lake. "Middle Moon" perhaps?
Interesting chunk of rock.
[Hide Photo] Interesting chunk of rock.
Walking the knife.
[Hide Photo] Walking the knife.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Shawn Shannon
South Ogden
[Hide Comment] Hey... does anybody know what the conditions are like on the Northwest ridge currently. I'd even be happy with what people generally encounter this time of year. Can anybody help me out? Jul 2, 2003
Shawn Shannon
South Ogden
[Hide Comment] One more ? regarding the Northwest ridge route, one guide book says to use crampons and axe in the Slingshot Couloir, while another book just says go up it. I'd rather not bring the extra weight, anybody know the truth of the matter? (I'll put up a fully detailed description of the route once I do it and have the facts straight.) Jul 3, 2003
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
[Hide Comment] I would recommend leaving the crampons at home and do the 5.9 more direct start instead. Otherwise the crux of the climb may well be getting across and up the couloir and onto the rock. Also, if there is another party above you, the couloir will probably funnel any rockfall right on top of you. And believe me, climbing the NW ridge without generating any rockfall would be an incredible feat. I personally don't think it could be done. Well, maybe if you free solo it so your rope doesn't knock stuff off all the time.... There's so much loose rock everywhere, that knocking a golfball-sized piece down can start quite a scary chain reaction. Jul 3, 2003
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Oops. I didn't see Matt's comment indicating that there was snow all the way up to the toe of the ridge. When I did this climb, that part was all melted out while much snow was still in the coulior. Jul 3, 2003
Eric Klammer
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Cool area and a great place to spend a few days. Camped at Moon Lake for 3 days and never saw another person in the basin! (4th of July weekend as well) Found some cool rock to play around on, and if you've already hauled up the rope for a technical route, it could make for some rest day fun. Check above for photos and details. Jul 11, 2013