Capitol Peak demands respect

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. -- There is nothing standard about the standard route on Capitol Peak. It must be respected.

How do you respect the mountain? Capitol Peak is not a beginner's climb. You should have years of experience on other peaks and consider going with someone who has climbed it before.

You should be able to handle exposure, be able to climb the standard route in the dark, be in the best shape of your life, forget about social media and be in the moment by paying attention to maintaining three points of contact at all times.

You should understand the weather forecast inside and out, be acclimatized to the altitude, and choose the right climbing partner or partner(s).

You will have to cross the knife edge twice. Summiting any later than 9:30 a.m. puts you at risk for afternoon thunderstorms on your return trip across the knife edge. There is no easy escape route.

If you do not meet any of these standards, then turn around and save Capitol Peak for another day.

Editor's note: This is a short entry in what will be an ongoing effort to educate new climbers. We are entering a new chapter in Colorado mountaineering and we must rise up to meet the need.