Saturday, August 16, 2008

On Top Of Utah - Kings Peak

Brennan and I capped off our summer with a fantastic 3-day backpacking trip to Kings Peak; the highest point in Utah.


We started at the Henry's Fork Trailhead at about 11:00 AM on Monday. We proceeded to put in an 8 hour day of backpacking, hiking about 12 miles and over Gunsight Pass into Painter Lakes Basin.

This was the view outside our tent the next morning.

On Tuesday we hiked up to Anderson Pass, and then started the 0.8 mile boulder scramble to the top of the peak. I had figured we could make that portion of the hike in about an hour, but in the end I think it took us closer to two hours.

There were a number of people up on top when we got there, so we asked a volunteer to snap this picture for us.


We only stayed on top for a few minutes. Recognizing that the east face was really not that much steeper than the north ridge, we made a bee line down the east face and back to the meadow below the peak. I think that saved us about an hour of hiking time.

We got back to our campsite at about 4:00 PM, so we decided to pack everything up and head back into Henry's Fork Basin. We went back over Gunsight Pass and headed north for Dollar Lake. We camped about 1/2 a mile to the south east of the lake.

Neither of us slept well that night, so we were up by 6:00; packed and on the trail by 7:00. By 11:30 we were back at the trailhead and looking forward to lunch at the Pizza Hut in Mountain View, WY.

More Pictures

You can visit my Flickr Page for more pictures from this trip, including a critter, some wildflowers, and an unusually happy teenager.

Lessons Learned
We really hiked in an aggressive manner, putting in long days. If you have 4 or 5 days I would recommend spending the first night in Henry's Fork Basin, then crossing the pass on the second day and camping in Painter Lakes Basin. In fact, there are a number of pretty and secluded lakes in Henry's Fork Basin so you could spend several days there prior to crossing over. A key advantage of taking extra days would be that you would be better acclimatized when you actually attempt the peak.

There are a couple of short-cut routes to the base of the peak. In fact our campsite sat near a spring on one of the longer short-cuts. Most of the shortcuts involve significant boulder hopping or scree slope navigation. I am not sure that the savings in distance equal any savings in time unless you have experience navigating that kind of terrain.

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