Kings Peak Trip Report (#4135)
- Signed By: Peter Korslund
- Date submitted: June 29, 2002
- Date(s) climbed: 06/15/2002
I had a short window of opportunity to do this fine trek, being out in SLC on business, so I took it for all it was worth. I started at the trail head at 12:20 pm and got back to the car at 1:30 pm the next day.
I traced the standard route up Henry's Fork and reach a nice crash site well above dollar lake toward gunsite pass at the last stand of pine. I dumped a bunch of weight and headed for the summit at 5 pm. Once cresting Gunsight Pass, the trail descriptions I have read recommend an unmarked trail to the right that kitty-corners the route to the summit. It was a great idea, but I took the cornering part too seriously and crossed the nasty boulder field under the cliffs. I don't know what was worse - the route-finding through unstable boulders or all the spider webs my gaiters caught in the process. The end of the field was met by a steep gulley with a ribbon of snow trackedwith recent foot prints. Falsely assuming this was the trail, I continued up it. It was very steep and loose. I was rewarded at the crest with a primitively beautiful alpine garden and the summit cone rising behind it. Having lost time on my crazy route, I went as quickly as possible across and up to the summit. I definitely felt the affects of high altitude as I tended to dance up the steep and loose boulder field for the summit. So it was dance and hyper-ventilate, dance and hyper-ventilate.
I reached the summit at 8 pm and greated with expansive views of the High Uinta Wilderness. I have read that this range is the largest running directly east-west and holds the largest contiguous region of alpine zone in the lower forty-eight. In any event, the panorama was breath-taking ... or was that the altitude? I quickly snapped some phots, signed the register, threw on a jacket (and, as I found out later, in the process lost my crampons!), and headed for my campsite.
Thank goodness for headlamps! I got back to my site after 10:30 very exhausted. To make things challenging, I couldn't find my stuff for a while and then I had to climb a tree in order to untie my food. I got to sleep after 12 under a star-filled night sky.
The morning brought phenominally perfect weather - not a cloud in the sky and no wind. It quickly warmed up as I broke camp and headed out. I decided to hike out on the less-travelled west-side trail and was rewarded with stellar lake vistas and many moose encounters.
Seldomly breaking, I reached the trail head at 1:30, 26 hours, 31+ miles, and two sore feet after I started.
King's Peak and the High Uinta's have captured my recollection and imagination since.