Tuesday, April 12, 2011

King's Peak via Henry's Fork

Location: King's Peak, Uinta Wilderness, Utah
Date: 9/11/2010
Elevation: 13,528 ft

King's Peak, located in the High Uintas, is the highest mountain in Utah. The Uintas are an isolated range in northern Utah that strike E-W and were heavily glaciated in the past ice age. King's Peak is in the heart of the range at the end of Henry's Fork canyon, a wide valley that winds its way north from King's Peak to the edge of the range.

The trip in total is an estimated 32 miles. Most hikers summit and hike out in 3 full days of hiking. We did it in less than a day and a half. We arrived at the trailhead on a Friday night around sunset. We hiked 4 miles in and set up camp in the bitter temperatures. It was a cold night!

The next day we hiked close to 30 miles. We hiked through Henry’s Fork Meadows where we had our first view of King's Peak in the distance. After a long gradual incline through the green meadows, we climbed up to Gunsight Pass, scrambled to Anderson Pass, and climbed the summit ridge to King’s Peak Summit. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. The views were fantastic and my can of pringles never tasted better. Unfortunately we still had 16 miles to hike back to our car and a 4 hour drive back to Salt Lake. We tried a shortcut from Anderson Pass.

The short cut down from Anderson pass was an unwise decision. It turned out to take longer due to the slow going down the steep slope composed of loose blocks on quartzite. It was a long day before we reached our car by nightfall, but we made it.