Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kings Peak 2009 - Highest Point in Utah

     This trip has been in the planning since early May when we (S&S Adventures) were contacted by a gentleman from New York by the name of Marty who wanted to be guided up Kings Peak as it was his goal to reach all 50 of the US high points Utah is the 7th highest. We began looking into permits and found that a company based out of Ft Bridger WY has the only permit available and will have for the next 5 years. We decided we wanted to go up anyhow and told Marty that he could join us as a guest but not as a client as we were at this point interested in going anyhow. Based on the information Marty had given us on what he had already done and his skill-sets he should be able to go up without any assistance and that would make it a no work issue for us.

     Fast forward to July 15th, after many phone calls to the company that owns the permit and failure to contact them we decided that I would go up early and try to track them down. This turned out to be a slightly futile effort though I did learn from 2 hours of runaround trying to find the guy in charge that the best time to contact him would be after 9:30 at night (not what I would call normal business hours).

     We all met at the Henrys Fork Trail-head near 6PM (Marty hitched a ride with Sam from Salt Lake) where we set up camp ate some dinner and sat around the campfire talking about previous trips and the hike up the next day.

     July 16 the start up the trail came at 7AM after taking down camp and application of liberal amounts of bug spray. The trek up was beautiful as we went from 9364 feet to 11067 Feet in elevation in 9 miles. Much of the way we were walking in the shade of the trees and just enjoying ourselves. We reached camp around 1PM just below Gunsight pass in an open meadow. We lounged for the rest of the day in the sun playing cards or just looking at the mountains that surrounded us going to be early so we could get an early start the next day. Both Sam and I were testing out some new gear on the mountain. Both of us had new stoves to play with, I tested out a Mil Spec Bivy and my boots and Sam a new lightweight backpacking tent (Detailed reviews of these will come out soon).

     July 17 Summit Day. We started hiking up Gunsite pass at 4 AM by the light of the moon and then hiking back down into painters flats on the other side by the rising sun. Soon to be hiking up the west side of the mountain until we reached the last major rise and the beginnings of the boulder field. We ended up going up the West face instead of the long northern slope while more climbing up is needed the footing is about the same and you cut off a lot of distance going up this way. After the long scramble we made it to the top of Kings peak for a short rest and then to head back down. Marty pounded his head good on a rock coming up and the altitude had some effect on him as he is a lowlander but made it to the top. Sam summit ed a little before us as we decided Sam would rush down to get Marty's pack and move it to Anderson pass where we would go down the Chute to cut 6 miles off the return trip.

Looking down Anderson Pass and the Chute our way down to Henrys fork Basin and back to camp. Dropping 1200 feet in a little under 1/4 mile. Great fun sliding down the scree field.

Once back at camp we decided to push for the trail head and drive back to Salt Lake for the night. We averaged 2.2 MPH going out even after the long trek to the top and with our packs ending the day by saying bye at the trail head as we drove back to civilization.

          Great Trip!

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