We bring it on ourselves. Primarily resulting from the activities we partake in and the way we go about pursuing those activities. The idea was simple. Climb capitol in a day from the car going as light and fast as possible. Now I’m not talking Andrew Hamilton fast, but deliberate fast. At the last “first Friday” block party in Golden I mentioned this idea to Carl and he agreed it sounded like a fun day. The last time he climbed capitol without skis was like 8 years ago and he wanted to revisit the peak, he was in. We chose a couple weekends with some weather flexibility and a plan was set.
The gear choice was simple. Smallest pack I own (an 18L mtn biking pack from osprey – the raptor) stuffed with a rain jacket, feather weight beanie, thin glove liners, head lamp, brain bucket, small bottle of sunscreen, can of Pringles, a bottle of Gatorade, a 1L Nalgene (which was nearly empty leaving the TH in the morning), Brookside Blueberry Acai chocolates, a PP&J sandwich (which I didn’t eat), and a package of honey stinger fruit smoothie gummies (competes with pink lemonade for best flavor). Oh yeah and Carl carried a small UV water filter so we could refill water once we neared the outlet of Capitol lake on the way up.
The logistics were simple. We drove down Friday night, sleeping at the capitol creek TH. Carl slept in his 4runner as per usual, and me in the bear delicacy – the prepackaged human burrito wrapper. On the ditch trail Saturday am by 5am, a few short breaks and a cold barefooted river crossing later found ourselves at the K2-Daly saddle at 8. Blasted up K2, scooted across the knife edge (which is cool but overrated in my opinion) bobbed and weaved through the upper ridge arriving at the summit at 10:30. Carl’s chicken tenders paired well with my Pringles and chocolate. After taking in the views, downing a little more Gatorade and water, we left the summit just prior to 11 and more or less retraced our steps back towards K2. Caught up with a couple other groups descending K2 and met some fellow Grand Junctionites (Climb on Lisa and Alyssa!!). Weather was beginning to look threatening so we hustled back to the saddle and started to jog down the trail towards Capitol lake. We nearly made the lake before being forced to don rain jackets due to the standard early afternoon mountain weather (hail, rain, thunder and lightning). Continuing to jog down trail, we stopped briefly a couple times to talk with backpackers headed to the lake that had taken cover from the rain. At this point the trail had more in common with a small river than a trail and Carl and I were totally soaked, head to toe, so we kept going maintaining a purposeful pace with some jogging where it made sense. The rain turned the trail to a muddy sloppy mess but the rain did eventually stop, after like 2 hours, but unfortunately the mud did not stop, it continued for miles……all the way back to the truck. The mud made for some slow going – the trail basically became a slip’n slide. One out of balance foot placement would have landed your ass in mud, or cow shit. We eventually arrived back at the truck at 3:30 where beer and a dry change of clothes were waiting. And I have to say, stripping down naked (discretely?) at a trail head at the end of a day really is invigorating, I suggest you try it some time. Qdoba in Glenwood on the way out finished the day. All in all it was another great adventure in the hills!