Uintas Loop (Red Castle/Kings Peak)

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Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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6
Hello,
Does this look like a workable itinerary? We are fairly experienced backpackers (did a 5 day 43 mile loop in the Winds last year). There is a lot of elevation gain in the first three days though and we don’t want it to become a death march. Thanks!
79893
 

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Artemus

I walk
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Looks reasonable to me for a fit party especially if they are not coming from sea level to do it.
 

Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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Than
Looks reasonable to me for a fit party especially if they are not coming from sea level to do it.
Thanks. The three of us are from PC/SLC/JH so we should be fine in that regard. Any thoughts on the Gunsight shortcut with backpacks? We would rather cut the miles but are a bit weary with heavy packs and not sure if there will still be snow up there on Aug 8th? Thanks in advance.
 

JackBurns

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I am assuming that Gun sight is the scree field down into Henry's fork. I did nearly the same trip last year in Aug. We did that short cut with full packs after hiking up from Yellowstone basin and topping Kings peak. No one in my group was happy with my decision. It is steep and loose. Tired legs with packs was sketchy. Then to top it off a little dick of mountain goat tore across above us and knocked loose a bunch of rocks that rolled down on top of us. We had to scatter and shelter so not to get picked off. I watched several people come down the same way though out the day. Everyone appeared to make it.
I don't think I will do it again. Any kind of injury up there could be problematic. Hiking mostly down hill for a few extra miles to forgo that risk may be wise.
Jack.
 

Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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I am assuming that Gun sight is the scree field down into Henry's fork. I did nearly the same trip last year in Aug. We did that short cut with full packs after hiking up from Yellowstone basin and topping Kings peak. No one in my group was happy with my decision. It is steep and loose. Tired legs with packs was sketchy. Then to top it off a little dick of mountain goat tore across above us and knocked loose a bunch of rocks that rolled down on top of us. We had to scatter and shelter so not to get picked off. I watched several people come down the same way though out the day. Everyone appeared to make it.
I don't think I will do it again. Any kind of injury up there could be problematic. Hiking mostly down hill for a few extra miles to forgo that risk may be wise.
Jack.
Ok thank you! Good info. Curses to that mountain goat.
 

Artemus

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Then to top it off a little dick of mountain goat tore across above us and knocked loose a bunch of rocks that rolled down on top of us.
I swear they have done that to me, more than once, in the Wasatch while climbing. And then a couple of charges... I am not that enamored with mountain goats anymore... ;)
 

DrNed

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If you're willing to do the Anderson to Gunsight shortcut, consider going off trail from Smith's Fork Pass to Anderson Pass.

If you're comfortable with off trail travel and reading a map, I highly recommend this. Once you get down from Smith's Fork
stay high and follow the most direct route until you hit the trail going up the south side of Anderson. All above tree line,
good views from the top of Yellowstone, save dropping down and coming back up and shorter.
Here are a few of my images through that stretch:
yellowstone 1.jpg


yellowstone 2.JPG
yellowstone 3.jpg




Looking down the Yellowstone Basin
yellowstone 4.jpg
 

Dave

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I am assuming that Gun sight is the scree field down into Henry's fork.
I believe you might be confusing the Gunsight shortcut with the so-called toilet bowl. The Gunsight shortcut cuts the corner from Gunsight Pass to the base of Anderson Pass, saving the mileage and elevation loss of going down into Painter Basin on the official Highline Trail. The toilet bowl is the north facing scree chute just northeast of Anderson Pass that drops directly into Henrys Fork.
 
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Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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If you're willing to do the Anderson to Gunsight shortcut, consider going off trail from Smith's Fork Pass to Anderson Pass.

If you're comfortable with off trail travel and reading a map, I highly recommend this. Once you get down from Smith's Fork
stay high and follow the most direct route until you hit the trail going up the south side of Anderson. All above tree line,
good views from the top of Yellowstone, save dropping down and coming back up and shorter.
Here are a few of my images through that stretch:
View attachment 79943

View attachment 79944View attachment 79945



Looking down the Yellowstone Basin
View attachment 79946
Thanks, DrNed. So this would essentially cut off that corner, right? We were looking to camp at Yellowstone Creek. It looks like we would still hit that? It also looks like there is a lake in one of your pictures that might suffice if it’s not too exposed. Hopefully the weather will be good.
 

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Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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I believe you might be confusing the Gunsight shortcut with the so-called toilet bowl. The Gunsight shortcut cuts the corner from Gunsight Pass to the base of Anderson Pass, saving the mileage and elevation loss of going down into Painter Basin on the official Highline Trail. The toilet bowl is the north facing scree chute just northeast of Anderson Pass that drops directly into Henrys Fork.
Thanks Dave. Maybe we are still in for the short cut after all, in that case.
 

WasatchWill

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Absolutely looks reasonable for any average backpacker used to our elevation and altitude out here. My wife and I are looking to do something similar in reverse, but only over 4 days instead of 5, so five will certainly let you take it all at a very leisure pace, unless weather pushes you down a pass faster than you'd like. I thought I read somewhere last year about a rock slide that covered up a small bit of the trail on the west side of Anderson Pass, but haven't seen anyone make a fuss of it this year. I'm assuming it's been cleared up or beaten down enough by all the others who've manage to hike over it since.
 

DrNed

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Thanks, DrNed. So this would essentially cut off that corner, right? We were looking to camp at Yellowstone Creek. It looks like we would still hit that? It also looks like there is a lake in one of your pictures that might suffice if it’s not too exposed. Hopefully the weather will be good.
It would cut the corner and if memory serves there were a couple of unnamed ponds up there fed by streams.

I should add that we got hailed on that night. It’s clearly above tree line and that has certain ramifications but depending on your experience it’s unique and well worth it.
 

Ehouston24

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Jul 13, 2019
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Thanks to everyone that posted suggestions and comments to my questions. Just got back today - this was an amazing trip! We didn’t end up doing the Gunsight shortcut as we got caught in a torrential rainstorm after coming down Anderson Pass and headed down to Painters Basin to camp for the night. Luckily we made it up and down Kings prior to the weather changing since we got an early start from Yellowstone Creek. We heard five people were not so lucky and got hit by lightning on the peak. We had helicopters flying overhead all afternoon. Anyway, that is a terrific loop for anyone looking for a scenic four or five day trip. Cheers to the Uintas!
 

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