|Elevation||14,137 ft (4309 m) |
|Prominence||1750 ft (533 m)|
|Isolation||7.44 mi (11.98 km)|
|Location||Pitkin County, Colorado, U.S.|
|Parent range||Elk Mountains|
|Topo map|| USGS 7.5' topographic map |
Capitol Peak, Colorado
|First ascent||1909 by Percy Hagerman and Harold Clark|
|Easiest route||Northeast Knife RidgeScramble, class 4|
Capitol Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is the 52nd highest mountain in North America. The 14,137-foot (4,309 m) fourteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 8.7 miles (14.0 km) east by south (bearing 104°) of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Capitol Peak lies on the long ridge connecting the heart of the Elk Mountains with Mount Sopris to the northwest. Capitol Peak is notable for its impressive vertical relief, rising 7500 feet above the Roaring Fork Valley in 15 miles. Additionally, it rises nearly 6000 feet above Snowmass Village in just under 9 miles.
Capitol Peak is one of the most difficult of Colorado's fourteeners to climb. The only non-technical route, the Northeast Ridge, requires crossing the famously exposed "Knife Edge," the northeast ridge of Capitol. Fatalities have occurred on this route.Other routes require technical rock climbing, for example, the Northwest Buttress Route (Grade IV, Class 5.9). These routes have significant rockfall danger due to a great deal of loose rock; however, the rock is substantially more solid than on the more famous Maroon Bells or on Pyramid Peak.
Capitol Peak is a 15.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Snowmass Village, Colorado that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking and is best used from July until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
From the parking lot, hikers will hike 5.7 miles before arriving at the Capitol Peak campsite. Another 1.9 Miles is hiked to K2 and the summit. K2 is a peak that is often confused by hikers as the Capitol Peak summit.
There is primitive camping near trail head in a designated site. No fee is required, but restrictions may exist.
At the trail head, at an altitude of 9,400 feet, following several switchbacks for half a mile will lead you to Daly Pass. Daly Pass is the first point of interest on Capitol Peak. This pass is recognized for its saddle-shaped ridge reaching 12,480 feet.After the pass, there is no more easy hiking till the summit.
K2 is known for often being confused by hikers with the Capitol Peak summit. Most hikers will go around the right side where it is most exposed, but fatality rates are much higher when one goes around.
Knife edge (pictured right) is famous for its 150-footlength, with 2,000 foot drops on both sides. Daredevils will walk across it in a timely manner, but other hikers may scooch across it like straddling a horse. This is where most deaths occur on the Capitol Peak route.
The view from Capitol Peak's summit includes Pierre Lakes in the huge cirque to the east. To the south is Snowmass Mountain, another Fourteener, at the end of a long shattered ridge. Farther to the east are red-striated peaks, including the Maroon Bells, Pyramid Peak, and Castle Peak. The long ridge of the Continental Divide is to the east.
|Month||Average High||Average Low||Average Precipitation||Average Snow|
|January||27 F||-2 F||3.51 in||50.1 in|
|February||30 F||-1 F||2.46 in||39.6 in|
|March||36 F||7 F||3.97 in||58.8 in|
|April||42 F||12 F||3.48 in||45.1 in|
|May||51 F||22 F||1.96 in||20.6 in|
|June||63 F||30 F||1.11 in||3.8 in|
|July||68 F||35 F||2.23 in||0 in|
|August||66 F||34 F||1.91 in||0 in|
|September||57 F||29 F||1.70 in||4.9 in|
|October||47 F||20 F||1.76 in||20.3 in|
|November||34 F||7 F||2.72 in||43.0 in|
|December||27 F||0 F||3.02 in||50.8 in|
|Yearly Average||46 F (Rounded)||16 F (Rounded)||2.49 in (Rounded)||28.1 in (Rounded)|
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Mount Elbert is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains, the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States. The ultra-prominent 14,440-foot (4401.2 m) fourteener is the highest peak in the Sawatch Range, as well as the highest point in the entire Mississippi River drainage basin. Mount Elbert is located in San Isabel National Forest, 12.1 miles (19.4 km) southwest of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado.
Mount Bierstadt is a high mountain summit of the Colorado Peaks in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,065-foot (4,287 m) fourteener is located in the Mount Evans Wilderness of Pike National Forest, 9.4 miles (15.1 km) south by east of the Town of Georgetown in Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States. It was named in honor of Albert Bierstadt, the American landscape painter who made the first recorded summit of the mountain in 1863.
Torreys Peak is a mountain in the Front Range region of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It is one of 53 fourteeners in Colorado. Its nearest major city is Denver. Torreys Peak is located along the Continental Divide, as well as the division between Clear Creek County and Summit County.
Castle Peak is the ninth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,279-foot (4352.2 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the Elk Mountains and the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The peak is located 11.6 miles (18.7 km) northeast by north of the Town of Crested Butte, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating Gunnison National Forest and Gunnison County from White River National Forest and Pitkin County. The summit of Castle Peak is the highest point of both counties.
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Mount Sopris is a twin-summit mountain in the northwestern Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 12,965-foot (3,952 m) mountain is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 6.6 miles (10.7 km) north by northeast of the community of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
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A little over three weeks after Lord died on Capitol Peak, Jeremy Shull, a 35-year-old from Parker, Colorado, died after falling 200 feet off the east side of the Knife Edge while ascending the same peak. He was an experienced climber, an addiction counselor, married with a 2-month-old son.
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