Kings Peak

Kings Peak Trip Report (#4095)

  • Signed By: Craig Lloyd
  • Date submitted: August 29, 2004

Many of you may have read my last entry from last year when i summitted the three tallest peaks in a day. This year was to be a bit different as my companion and i had a goal to do all of the Utah 13ers in a single push. That would result in 21 peaks in 5 days. Let me break the tension now by saying, we didn't even come close. hiked in past dollar lake on the 5th and went up a steep chute to the plataeu between Gilbert and East Gunsight. Skies didn't look too threatening until we were on top, completely exposed. Nicely, the clouds rolled in, lightening lit up the skies and the rains began to descend. Because we were going light all we had were bivy sacks to keep our bags (and us) dry. In our bags tight by 10 pm we somehow were able to nod off to sleep after about an hour but were quickly woken by HAIL. We endured that for nearly an hour and then the storm broke, leaving the skies clear and frigid. At about 3:30 am we awoke and decided to get going, if only to warm up. Leaving our packs we made quick time up through the three false summits to Gilbert. On top it was less than 40 degrees which motivated us to make our way down quickly. We got back to the saddle between the peaks and to our packs jsut as the sun was coming over the Eastern ski-line at about 5:30. An hour later i was standing on the summit of East Gunsight. My partner was about 15 min. behind. Two option would take us off of E. Gunsight and on our way to W. Gunsight. Straight off the south face would require a 2000 vertical foot descent down scree, sand and rock. Or we could backtrack down the way we came and then meet up with the main trail. We opted for the scree slope. While i found this relaxing and quick, my partner was not in the least prepared for it. It took every ounce of energy he had to make the descent and catch up to me, where i had increased my distance on him by 45 min. 9:00 am, at the bottom of the slope, by partner gave up on our journey. He urged me to continue, finish out the day and we would meet at a lake in Painter Basin. With my 30 pound pack i traversed over to the rock slide just south of Gunsight pass and headed straight up, 2000 feet to the summit of W. Gunsight. At 10:30 i was on the summit, but at a price. I was physically tiring, mentally breaking, and emotionally ruined. I didn't account for the emotional challenge of doing this hike alone. I knew at that point we were done. My partner wasn't going to make the peaks and would be lucky to complete the hike out, even if he stayed on the highline trial out, while i summitted. And i knew i couldn't do it alone. I continued to Anderson Pass, left my big pack, donned my day pack and bounded up to King's. On top at noon, i watched the billowy clouds roll overhead, knowing a storm would be hitting the area within two hours, certainly not enough time for me to make the six mile trek over six peaks and six miles to Emmons. If i didn't finish that first day, the trip was done. We had officially been beaten. Back down to Anderson Pass by 12:30, i stopped and hung out with random people for an hour before making my way down to the lake to meet Scott. At 2:00 pm i was at the lake, but no Scott. From 9 am till 2 pm he had to walk about 2 miles on flat soft ground and he wasn't there. Of course i was worried. I thought i would give him till 6 and then go looking. A half hour later he stumbled in to camp, exhausted. The altitude affects his ability to eat and he simply couldn't maintain the energy to continue at any sort of normal speed. Recovering over night and enduring another major storm we woke not-to-early and began to head out. With no car at Henry's fork trialhead we would have to hitch a ride with whoever would give us a lift. Thinking i would be tired from the previous day i stayed near Scott. As we passed Dollar Lake i really hit my stride though and realized that phsyically i could have reached our goal. What a dissapointment. I nearly ran down the trail to the parking lot. At the bottom i negotiated a ride back to Orem with a group of boyscouts. Those guys are nice. A lot was learned from this trip. I still have a goal to do this hike in the future. Better planning and coordination should make for success.

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