Capitol Fever

In the summer of 2001, (summer after my freshman year of college) I painted houses for my summer job. That summer, I learned at least two things:

  1. I learned how to paint
  2. I learned that I hated painting

I guess while high on paint fumes one day, I decided that my friend Jason Rice and I should try to climb two of the hardest mountains in the states.

The first mountain I picked for us was Capitol Peak. Capitol Peak is one of Colorado’s 14ers located in the Elk Range (near Aspen). Unfortunately during our climb, we were rained/sleeted off the mountain and never got to finish.

Photo: Jason reading below Capitol Peak

Almost 10 years later…

Capitol Peak has always been in the back of my mind. It’s one of the most distinct and beautiful mountains I have come across. So, at the beginning of the summer, I told Lauren that I had only one thing I wanted to put on the calendar: round two with Capitol Peak.

We arrived late one Friday evening at the Capitol Creek Trailhead and set up camp. The trailhead is over 9,000 ft. in elevation, and is far away from city lights, so the stars were amazing. The next morning we packed up our backpacks, and made the 6.5 mile trip in four hours.

Our camp was just below Capitol Lake (and the peak).

Our arrival time was just about perfect. Within 15 minutes of setting up our tent, it started raining…and raining. From 2 PM on Saturday, to 7 AM on Sunday, it rained on and off. Our alarm was set for 4:15 AM to start the climb, and around 6:30 AM we knew we had missed our window to start the climb. In order to avoid dangerous afternoon storms, it’s extremely important to start early enough to be off the top by noon.

Despite another failed attempt, we still had a wonderful trip, and it’s hard to get tired of such beautiful scenery. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

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