Uintas Loop in Mid September - Tips?

Jeff A

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Aug 28, 2012
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I'll be in Salt Lake for a conference in mid-September and decided to fly in early and do some backpacking in the Uintas. Nick's trip reports have me pretty excited, but I'm curious about what I can expect weather wise (hiking between Sept 15-19). I realize you never know - but any tips on how much cold weather gear to bring would be amazing.

Also, I'm still deciding on what kind of loop. I'm pretty open to how long/far (I hike fast)... 2-4 day loop would be best. It's been a while since I've backpacked in the mountains (although I hiked half the Appalachian Trail last year, but that is definitely not the same), so an easy to find and follow trail would be ideal. Thanks in advance for any help!
 

uintahiker

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September is nice, but nights are starting to get cold. Sometimes there's even a dusting of snow, but nothing that stays around long. You could look at the Long Lake/Island Lake area, hiking out of the Crystal Lake Trailhead. It's an area with a lot of lakes and is easy to find and can be customized as much as you'd lke. Naturalist Basin/ 4 Lakes Basin are two other ideas.
 

Nick

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September is an awesome time to be up there. Crowds are gone, bugs are gone, monsoons are gone, still reasonably long days. Good stuff. Definitely prepare for it to be a little colder but unless there is a storm system moving in, it shouldn't be terrible. I would pack as though it will drop down into the 20's to be safe.

So how much mileage are you looking for in a 2-4 day loop? Most of the really good stuff is minimum 20 miles round trip and that's usually for an out and back. There are some good loop options you can tie together that can get you into the goods but you'll be pushing 30 miles. Is that what you were thinking?
 

Jeff A

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Nick - First of all, your trip reports are great and helped me decide to try out the Uintas.

As far as mileage, I could either do a couple different out and backs, or could definitely push 30+ loop over 2-4 days - if you have any specific hikes that are your favorites I'd love to know. I'm usually a fast hiker and have a light pack, so doing bigger miles is not usually a problem.
 

Nick

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It sounds like you're a strong hiker, so then it just depends on how comfortable you are with navigation and how far you want to drive to a trailhead.

In my opinion, the very best of the Uintas can be summed up in this map:

View larger map.
For those areas, the loop options aren't great but out and backs are plentiful. The loops you could make would be to cross the pass between Allsop & Priord (lolliloop) or Deadhorse & Allsop. Or both! The East Fork Bear River Trailhead (TH for Allsop & Priord), connects to the West Fork Black's Fork trailhead on the Smiths Fork trail that skirts the north edge of the Uintas. So you could start at EFBR, head up to Allsop, cross the pass over to Dead Horse, hike down to the WFBF trailhead and then cross the ridge back to your car at EFBR. Mileage would probably be in the mid-to-high 20's.

The only trick is the crossing between Allsop and Dead Horse. I haven't done it myself but I know others that have, including langutah. There is no trail so you'd need to feel good about navigating it. There is also plenty of scree to navigate through. But putting those two together would be a mind blowing trip. Especially if you connected in Priord too. Again, a rough off-trail pass between there and Allsop but doable. If you're serious about it, Dan Ransom can tell you about his crossing.

And the other easy option would be Christmas Meadows. It's far more travelled than the EFBR or WFBF drainages but unless you're really ambitious, it's all out and backs. But on the bright side, you could go up and explore into up to three different basins. Amethyst, Middle Basin and West Basin. They're all gorgeous.
 

Dan

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Feb 24, 2012
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Allsop Priord loop would be sweet. The crossing between the two is fairly easy, and it makes the car shuttle nil. I recommend the purple route, there is one big talus slope with microwave size boulders to get up, but near the top you'll find remains of an old sheep herding trail, you can follow that all the way to norice, if you are good at micro-route finding.

http://www.danransom.com/TripReports/?p=869

 

Dan

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it's possible, but it requires snow travel most of the year, it's a huge talus slope on both sides.
 

Jeff A

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Aug 28, 2012
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Allsop Priord loop would be sweet. The crossing between the two is fairly easy, and it makes the car shuttle nil. I recommend the purple route, there is one big talus slope with microwave size boulders to get up, but near the top you'll find remains of an old sheep herding trail, you can follow that all the way to norice, if you are good at micro-route finding.

http://www.danransom.com/TripReports/?p=869

Nick/Dan -

This loop looks great. I'll plan on this for sure, if I can't find the crossing I'll just do out and backs. If I have time, I'll do another out and back at Christmas Meadows. Thanks for the tips!

Dan - your trip report will be a good resource as well. I'm also going to check out your PCT report - my plan is to hike it in a couple years, it must have been amazing!

Thanks again, and I'll post a report after the trip.

Jeff
 
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