Capitol summer route in winter

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RWW82
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Capitol summer route in winter

Post by RWW82 »

I've noticed all winter ascents of Capitol Peak are from the Snowmass trailhead and no one seems to take the approach from the normal summer route/Capitol trailhead which is closed in the winter. Why is this? I know the summer trailhead is closed in the winter where the hardball ends, but the views of Capitol Lake and the north face of the mountain seem pretty enticing. The closure may add a mile or two, but is there something else I'm missing?
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justiner
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by justiner »

Avalanche danger coming round Daly.
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Scott P
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by Scott P »

The traverse from Daly Saddle tends to be risky then and the direct ridge is hard with snow. The closure also adds more than a mile or two.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
RWW82
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by RWW82 »

Thanks for the answers
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blazintoes
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by blazintoes »

After checking the following TH conditions

https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/threport.php?recnum=5712

I made it to the summer TH on December 21st in a low snow year in a stock Subaru Forester with a one inch lift and I’m not a good driver. I didn’t use chains but I did have winter tires.

Solitude at Capitol Lake in winter among this wonderfully inhospitable terrain is spooky. The scary part begins at 10,600’ as you approach the lake and ascend through the trees because it’s steep and suckers you up Daly because the terrain isn’t as steep initially. At 10,800’ trend right/west for 1/4 mile then head back south where you will cross Capitol Ck twice more before you finally pop up to the lake.

Is your goal to just see the lake in winter? If so bundle up because it’s very cold back there and you won’t see the sun until late morning as Capitol dominates the skyline.

That side is the leeward aspect and is windblown. The snowshoe up Daly is steep and I didn’t worry about avalanche potential as I gained the saddle because it was a low snow year. The snow in the trees and as I got suckered up Daly prematurely definitely was avy territory.

I’ll send more info if your goal is to summit. Also here’s a picture of the Capitol in winter.
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RWW82
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by RWW82 »

Great to know blazintoes, I was shooting for a summit attempt sometime mid December as well. Did you ski down from the summer TH? I was thinking about attempting the normal winter/Eastern approach until I saw your post. How'd you tackle the approach of the Daly/Capitol saddle? Was the view of the North face worth it?
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blazintoes
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by blazintoes »

RWW82 wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 10:09 pm Great to know blazintoes, I was shooting for a summit attempt sometime mid December as well. Did you ski down from the summer TH? I was thinking about attempting the normal winter/Eastern approach until I saw your post. How'd you tackle the approach of the Daly/Capitol saddle? Was the view of the North face worth it?
No skis.
From the Daly saddle I stayed ridge proper because of the light winds and the scrambling is good. Coming off K2 is the crux because of the slabs on the climber’s right. I hammered in a piton and lowered with a 30m I fixed to the piton and left it for the return. From K2 to the summit there was enough supportive snow to again stay ridge proper.

I’ve also soloed Capitol in winter via Snowmass Ck and now that I’ve done both approaches I would go Snowmass Ck for many reasons including easier drive, better approach, better snow aspect, better approach to K2, better ski route, warmer side and views of Clark Pk.
RWW82
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Re: Capitol summer route in winter

Post by RWW82 »

Thanks for the reply!
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