DENVER - Glinting in a pink sunrise, a pair of gilders climb out onto Colorado's shiny gold Capitol Dome.
Suspended by climbing harnesses in the warm morning, their task is to put the finishing touches on a project that began nearly three years ago. They are cleaning up any spots or imperfections that occurred during the construction project.
"We've restored rather than repaired and refurbished," said Department of Personnel & Administration Spokesman Doug Platt. "So people will see a lot of historically accurate, restoration work. We've put, of course, modern materials that we hope are going to last even longer than the original which held up for 100 years."
In March of 2013, gold mined in Cripple Creek and Victor was shipped to Italy to be rolled into the leaf now shining above Denver's Capitol Hill. The gold is just 1/8,000 of a millimeter thick, but a copper base plate provides additional strength underneath.
"They've replaced the copper under the gold leaf for the first time in over a century," Platt said.
Under the rappelling gilders' feet, the cast iron structure of the dome is also newly restored.
Platt summarized, "If we did our job right, nobody will know we were there."
The grand reopening and rededication of the Capitol Dome and observation deck is scheduled for October 2.