Amazing Views from Capitol Peak

07/26/2008 to 07/27/2008

Capitol Peak and the surrounding basins are one of the prettier areas of Colorado that I've been to. I was amazed by the incredible wildflowers around the lake, and these pictures don't even come close to capturing that aspect of the area. The view of Pierre Lakes Basin from the standard route on Capitol Peak was awe-inspiring and one of the best views I've encountered on a 14er. Or anywhere, really.

Shortly after leaving the ditch itself, the Capitol Creek Ditch trail winds its way through this beautiful lush aspen forest.
Brian looks out at Capitol Peak during the backpack in to Capitol Lake
Me posing with Capitol Peak behind me during the backpack in to Capitol Lake
This cow refused to mooooove off the trail despite my goading. We opted to go around her.
Brian crosses Capitol Creek (with Capitol Peak in the background) about a mile before Capitol Lake.
This neat light on the flanks of Capitol Peak was the last time we would see any direct sunlight on July 26th, 2008.
Indian Paintbrush and Columbines were everywhere near Capitol Lake.
Brian poses in front of Capitol Lake.
Here I am posing in front of Capitol Lake.
One of the many many fields of wildflowers around Capitol Lake.
More wildflowers near Capitol Lake.
Capitol Peak's summit disappeared into the clouds as the evening progressed, and our hopes of summiting the next day were dissapearing right along with it.
Sunrise on July 27th seen while traversing the snow slopes on the far side of Daly Pass on the way up to K2.
A view of some of the snowfields remaining on the backside of K2.
Brian ascends the snow slopes toward K2 with Mount Daly in the background.
Sunrise while ascending the snow slopes to K2.
Posing in front of the sunrise on the way to K2.
Some neat light on Mount Daly and the ridgeline leading to K2. The light was significantly better about 30 seconds before I took this picture.
Brian ascends the snowfield a few hundred feet below K2.
Looking up at the summit of K2.
We switched positions and Brian took the same photo of me ascending the snowfield a few hundred feet below K2.
Early morning light on Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells. I loved the view of the Maroon Bells from this angle, it gave a great perspective on North Maroon's north face.
This was one of my first views of the incredible Pierre Lakes Basin. I wish I had been able to get to this point about 20 minutes sooner for the better light.
Snowmass Mountain and part of its long connecting ridge to Capitol Peak.
Pierre Lakes Basin.
Me posing in front of Pierre Lakes Basin.
Looking down the Capitol Creek drainage during the traverse around K2. You can see Capitol Lake and Mount Sopris as well as the trailhead vicinity being bathed in early morning light.
Snowmass Mountain and Pierre Lakes Basin as seen from the K2-Capitol saddle at the very beginning of Captiol's knife edge ridge. The wall in the foreground is part of K2.
The view of Pierre Lakes basin from the knife ridge is incredible.
A panoramic shot of Capitol and Snowmass shows the knife ridge leading to Capitol as well as Snowmass and Capitol's long and jagged connecting ridge. This file is a bit larger than normal (still < 1MB).
Posing in front of Capitol's knife edge.
Brian took this as I was actually crossing part of the knife edge. My butt scoot technique was in full swing!
Brian took this shot of our shadows on Capitol's face as we neared the end of the knife edge portion of the route on Capitol Peak.
Pierre Lakes Basin as seen from the summit of Capitol Peak.
Brian and I on the summit of Capitol Peak.
A panoramic shot of Pierre Lakes Basin from the summit of Capitol Peak. You can see some of the clouds starting to build over the higher peaks. Some of the notable mountains in this shot are both Maroon Bells, Snowmass Mountain, and Treasury Mountain. This file is a bit larger than normal (still < 1MB).
The view to the south from Capitol's summit includes Treasury Mountain, the Ruby Range, the Raggeds, and the West Elks.
Brian took this photo of my butt scoot technique during our return over the knife edge.
Brian took this very cool photo of his foot as he crossed the knife edge during our return. This shot gives a pretty good perspective on the exposure along the knife edge--the lake is 2000 feet below with not much other than air in between.
This panoramic shot shows some of the clouds that descended over the high peaks surrounding Pierre Lakes Basin. They were coming in and out for much of our descent and didn't ever threaten more than this. Capitol's summit is shrouded in clouds, peaking over the ridgeline on the right. This file is a bit larger than normal (still < 1MB).
Posing with snow in my beard after a fun little glissade.
Brian descends toward Capitol Lake.
Point 12751 reflects in the clear blue waters of Capitol Lake. The white speck in the middle of the lake is a last little bit of winter ice still hanging on--on July 27th.
Flowers along the trail with Capitol Lake in the background.
Brian takes some pictures as we near Capitol Lake on our descent.
Some wildflowers with Capitol Peak in the background.
Lush aspen forest seen along the ditch trail on the way back to the trailhead.
Wildflowers and aspens as we approach the Capitol Creek trailhead on our return.