A LONG, sleepy drive brings us to the trailhead for Capitol Peak, 14,130’. At 17 miles, a class 4 climb, and five deaths in six weeks this 2017 summer, Capitol is nothing to be trifled with. She requires diligent concentration, practiced route finding and scrambling skill, the proper safety preparation, and a constant reminder that the summit will always be there, even if you can’t make it to the top that day. I was on on the mountain the same day as two of those deaths. The experience has affected my partners and me and has changed the way we prepare for summits. The mountains are beautiful and astonishingly rewarding, but unforgiving. Always know your limits, hike with those you trust, and prepare more than you think you need to.