Kings Peak (August 2014)

Parma

@parma26
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I know many of you probably have done this trip, but I didn't find too many trip reports on it, so you get mine!
This was done August 13-16, 2014 with our Boy Scout Troop from Saratoga Springs, UT. So for you scoutmasters looking for info on this trip, I hope this can help. Or for those that have done this, hope this will bring back some good memories.
First day we hiked from Henry's Fork Trailhead to Henry's Fork Lake, which was 9.6 miles. Some boys and probably a leader or two thought we tried to kill them going this far. But they lived, and learned they can hike that far carrying a pack.
Day two we hiked to Lake Blanchard for some exploration and fishing.
Day three we took some of the boys up to summit Kings Peak. it's a pretty strenuous hike, so we only took the ones that we knew could make it...and the one's we could deal with :)
Day four we hiked back to the trailhead.

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Here's the start following Henry's Fork.

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Trail? More like a road! This has seen its share of hikers.

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Hanging on this tree is a moose skull...I believe it's a moose.

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Very well maintained trail with small bridges over all the streams.

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Elkhorn Crossing, about 5.5 miles from trailhead. We went right, the trail toward Bear Lake, most traffic goes to Dollar Lake.

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If you look carefully left center you can see a young bull moose we found. We quietly crept away and went our way.

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It was pretty cloudy this day, not much rain...just clouds.

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I found this rock formation very interesting.

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Found another moose, or it found us.

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Here's a good look at the area.

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Finally arrived at Henry's Fork Lake. We setup camp up this hill above the lake.

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Here's our camp. Mine is the green tent on the right.

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Day two we hiked up to Lake Blanchard. This was a really pretty water fall, and it did have some small brook trout in it too.

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Closeup look at the top of the waterfall.

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Better look from the waterfall to Henry's Fork Lake.

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Lake Blanchard...fishing was good, not great.

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This was cool how the cliffs crumble away. In the distance is Island Lake on the left and Grass Lake on the right.

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Back at camp, and you gotta love the alpenglow in the mountains.

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Day three is the hike to the top of Utah. Here's a little cabin along the way to Gunsight Pass.

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Looking up Gunsight Pass.

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Looking back towards Dollar Lake.

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At the top of Gunsight Pass looking into Painter Basin.

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Normal people go down into Painter Basin and back up Anderson Pass...not us! We took the trail less traveled and headed straight to Anderson Pass.

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Looking back toward Gunsight Pass. That summit didn't have a name on my map, but is 13,263 ft high.

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Anderson Pass, this is all rocks from here to the summit. Good hiking boots are a must here. You barefoot hikers better take a pass on this one! And there would be the occasional stream beneath the rocks that you could pump water from if needed.

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Looking up towards the daunting scramble to the top. A trail shows up here and there, but you just go up...no trail is really needed.

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Here I am at the top! 13,528'
FYI...I work at BYU and these Nike Hypercool shirts are amazing for hiking. Vents/mesh in the armpits and on the back...highly recommend them (i have two).

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Headed down...this is looking at Painter Basin, the Highline Trail from North Pole Pass in the far distance to Fox Lake and Kidney Lakes. And that's Lake Atwood on the right.

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And for the return trip, we took "The Chute" (thanks @WasatchWill for the correct spelling). This is as steep as it looks. This is about 1/2 mile and about 1,200' of elevation. It bypasses Anderson Pass and Gunsight Pass. There are some videos online of people that have hiked up and down this for the fastest possible route to Kings Peak.

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This is about halfway down.

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And looking the other way toward Gunsight Pass.

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Looking back up, almost down!

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And we made it...and lived to share this with you all.

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Hiking back to camp.

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Obligatory flower photo.

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Day four we are headed home.

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Looking back at some stragglers and Kings Peak.

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Almost there, looking at this area near the trailhead, you can tell some sort of bug made it's way through these trees making this area ripe for a fire sooner than later.

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And we made it.

Great trip, it was about 30 miles for those of us that summited King's Peak, 20 miles for the others. We could tell there were others in the area but no one was too close to us by Henry's Fork Lake. If you have any questions about this trip, feel free to ask.

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natylka

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Dec 29, 2014
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Love it! I want to summit it next summer. It is on my bucketlist.
 

WasatchWill

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Great report. It brought back memories of when I tagged along with some of our neighborhood scouts a couple years ago. That shortcut trail from Gunsight to Anderson is pretty well established now. I suppose it's only a little less traveled because it doesn't appear on any official maps yet, but it's hard to miss. When we reached the bottom of the bowl just below Anderson, our group wanted to shortcut straight up to the ridge by boulder hopping and hitting some snow fields (it was last June) on the way up from the bottom of the bowl rather than keep the more gradual trail up to the pass. It proved to be quite taxing on the lungs, especially at that elevation. I'll bet the extra distance of taking the trail to the pass would have been just as quick and certainly easier due to it being a little easier on the lungs and then taking the normal ridge route from there. The "Chute" or "Shoot" as you called it is an adventure all in itself. I hit a couple loose patches going down it myself, but thankfully recovered quickly each time, and moved myself over to the bigger rocks where I could get better footing the rest of the way down. Better to have only sore knees at the end than a fully scratched up, bruised, and battered body. I still think I'd much prefer the Gunsight route to Anderson Pass out of Henry's Basin than to take that shortcut up.

I'm hoping to get up that way again myself this summer if I can get some able people to go with, but am interested in looping in Red Castle, either starting from Henry's Trailhead to Gunsight, up and over Anderson down to Yellowstone basin to Smiths Fork Pass and Red Castle and then drop back down over into Henry. Or, more likely, start at China Meadows to Red Castle, Smiths Fork, Yellowstone, Anderson Pass, Gunsight, Henry, then back up and out to China Meadow.
 
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Vegan.Hiker

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Awesome. That cascading waterfall is beautiful. It's amazing how well kids can endure tough hikes.
 

Parma

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The "Chute" or "Shoot" as you called it is an adventure all in itself.
Ya, it should be chute instead of shoot.
And taking the Gunsight route on the way back is what I'd do next time. We just wanted to take the CHUTE because we heard of others doing it and wanted to give it a try.

Great report and pictures. I can't find the first moose.
You can see his nose on the left of the tree in the center.
 

DrNed

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Thanks for posting! Perfect timing too.

My #2 daughter asked me last night if I would take her to summit Kings Peak for her "Senior Trip." I guess kids here in Utah do a trip to celebrate graduating HS. Hey, if it means a trip to the Uintas and summiting KIngs Peak, I'm all for it!

I will post questions when I do a little more study of this area. At this point I don't even know what I should ask - so thanks for the offer.

@WasatchWill I'd definitely be interested if you could tolerate a fat, old guy and a few loud mouthed teen agers who are more often than not yelling, "hurry up dad!"
 
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andyjaggy

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Great report. It's not the prettiest area of the Uintas but it feels like the biggest area, huge basins stretching to the horizon. Love it.
 

WasatchWill

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@WasatchWill I'd definitely be interested if you could tolerate a fat, old guy and a few loud mouthed teen agers who are more often than not yelling, "hurry up dad!"

I've penciled in the last week of July for the time being. Would that be too late for a senior trip?


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Brad Gaddis

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Awesome trip report. I'm a scoutmaster in Eagle Mountain and was looking for a place to take the boys this summer. This will definitely go on our list of places to go. Was planning on going to the Tetons but was shot down by "upper management".
 

poulson

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May 29, 2014
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Great trip report! Looks like we were up there with our scouts just the week before you last year. Very similar experiences and almost the exact same route too. It's fun to see all these pictures from a different perspective. I Have a couple good pictures in should dig up and get on here somewhere. I highly recommended this hike to anyone. It's a great accomplishment and a beautiful basin to hike through.
 

Nick

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lookin at that bolder field, thinkin.... Id snap my ankle in half in there.... Great report!

Me too! Back when I was 20ish we used to go hiking up mountains with the sole intention of finding chutes that we could 'rock ski' on. The smaller the rocks, the funner, but we had a few where we got a full avalanche of boulders going. Had to dive out of one as it poured off a rather large cliff and ended up ledged out on another occasion. Totally irresponsible behavior, but man was it fun. Now my knee hurts just thinking about it.
 

backwoodsBob

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Reminds me that I hiked it in my Birkenstock's one time. The whole 26 miles including the boulder field - because I forgot my mountain boots and am somewhat stubborn....
that brings up a good question! Is there one "catch all" uintas book you folks like to carry for reference in the field???
 

Nick

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Bob

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Reminds me that I hiked it in my Birkenstock's one time. The whole 26 miles including the boulder field - because I forgot my mountain boots and am somewhat stubborn....
Haha .... reminds me of the time I hiked from Lava Point CG, Zion. Down into Kolob then up and out Deep Creek to the road from Kolob reservoir....
 

Bob

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that brings up a good question! Is there one "catch all" uintas book you folks like to carry for reference in the field???
I don't carry books, research with them at home, plot the route in Garmin Mapsource and Goggle Earth, then transfer to my GPSr. By the time I do all that I usually know the route by memory. I carry a map copy with the route as well, just in case. The GPSr just records it for when I get back home..
 

Parma

@parma26
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that brings up a good question! Is there one "catch all" uintas book you folks like to carry for reference in the field???
Probst's book is first and I like Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails by David Day: http://www.amazon.com/dp/096608585X/?tag=backcountrypo-20
It doesn't cover a ton about the Uintas, but those sections do offer good info. And it has all color images, and the hiking mileage on the maps is pretty accurate too.
 
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