Capitol Peak snow; Is it termination dust?

Snow now covers Capitol Peak and the Elks. Will this end the climbing season for most Summer climbers? The Alaskan phrase for this phenomena is “Termination Dust”.

9/29/2021 view of Capitol Peak by Ann Driggers.

I suspect the answer comes down to how much risk climbers are willing to shoulder. Other peaks that are less technical like Quandary (“walk-ups”) will continue to be frequented.

I’ve climbed Capitol in all conditions and I find October climbing tricky. There’s not enough snow yet to cover all the rocks so stability is an issue and climbing is mixed.

Will it melt? Some will early (especially southern aspects). Looking at October, I foresee overnight lows on the 14ers permanently below freezing after October 4. And, I’m forecasting about a foot of additional snow on Capitol Peak and the Elks during October.

2 thoughts on “Capitol Peak snow; Is it termination dust?

  1. Patricia Casey

    Not a climber but it has similar meaning to many outdoor activities. Do you think we will get an Indian Summer this year?

    1. christomer Post author

      Hi Patricia,
      Yes, it looks like we could move into a stormier pattern mid October and that might bring Denver’s first freeze. That could be followed by Indian Summer. Thanks! Chris

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