Capitol Peak PhotosThe plan was to hike/climb Capitol Peak in a single day (June 29, 2012). I would have preferred to start as early as 3 am, but my friends got into their camp late and as a result we didn't start from the trailhead until 7:30 am. I had planned on doing a couple acclimatization hikes in the Wasatch beforehand, but a hectic work schedule that took up both of the preceding weeks (including weekends) leading up to the trip prevented that, which led to my first encounter with altitude sickness on the way up. It hit me hard at the saddle below Mount Daly. We stopped for half an hour at the lake for me to attempt patching up some blisters, and another half hour on the boulder field below K2 to wait out a rainstorm that sideswiped us. It was almost 2:00 pm by the time we got to K2, and I knew I just didn't have it in me to continue on (a couple Advil had helped mask my dizziness and pounding headache earlier on, but it returned on K2). I had been looking forward to trying the knife edge more than any other hike the last several years, so it was disappointing turning around, but looking back on how late it was and my condition at the time, I still feel it was the right choice.
The scenery throughout the hike is awesome. For as long as the approach to Capitol Lake was, I was expecting it to be dull for the first part of the hike, but the views were great the entire way. Right at the trailhead you can see Capitol Peak towering over Capitol Creek, and the ditch trail provides frequent views of the awesome north face as you get closer and closer. We were there at the perfect time, as well, since much of the snow had melted out of the basin south of Mt. Daly, and the bright green foliage and various wildflowers seemed to be at their peak (earlier than usual since it was a very dry winter). The view of Capitol Peak over Capitol Lake was simply amazing, and the view from the top of K2 looking out over Pierre Lakes Basin and the other 14ers to the south, along with the imposing northeast ridge of Capitol Peak, is one of the most rugged scenes you'll find in the Rockies.
All in all, it was one of my favorite hikes (if I'd had the energy to continue to the summit, it might have been my all-time favorite), and I can't wait to get back and try it again.
I put together a slideshow of my pictures here.
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