Sunday, August 17, 2008

King of the Hill

Carolina and I climbed the tallest mountain in Utah on Wednesday. King's Peak, located in Utah's Uinta Mountains, is 13,528 feet tall. A colleague of mine at work, Kenny Freestone, and I had been talking about going on this hike together for a few years, and we finally worked it into our schedules. I convinced Carolina to come along--her first major outdoor adventure since having Alex.

We left Provo about 12:30 in the afternoon on Tuesday and hiked about 7 miles in and camped near Dollar Lake, where we whipped up some dinner on the Jet Boil stove (first time I've ever tried Mountain House meals--they were pretty tasty). We spent a long, relatively-sleepless cold night--lots of frost on the tent fly by morning--at camp, then hit the trail at 7:30am the next morning (after some minor complications with our water purification devices). A few hours later we made our way up Gunsight Pass, dropped into another valley, then worked our way up to Anderson Pass, where we began heading up the ridgeline to the top of King's Peak--the final 1,000 feet of elevation gain is really grueling, requiring scrambling over lots of large rock and boulders. We made the summit by about 3pm. The hike back seemed really, really long--we underestimated the difficulty of pulling off the whole 28 miler in just 1.5 days. We got back to the camp at about 6:30, grabbed some food and finished packing up, trying to get going in time to be back to the trailhead before dark. Unfortunately, we didn't make it--at about 9pm God turned out the lights, and our headlamps helped us four straggling, exhausted hikers make our way down to the parking lot by 10pm, and utlimately back to our house by 2am (thanks to Kenny for driving). That was a very long, draining day--lots of pain! But we conquered King's Peak.

Kenny, his brother Dave, me, and Carolina - all fresh at the trailhead

Our camp near Dollar Lake--you can see King's peak in the background (looks short in the middle of the trees)

Kenny looking good

The nasty scramble up to the top of the peak--the last 1,000 feet of vertical elevation are tough and slow (unless you're part mountain goat)

Carolina has second thoughts after a false summit

Summit! The top of Utah!

The shows the scale of the scramble down from the peak (Carolina and I are both in this picture--can you find us?)

You can check out all of the photos here:


  1. strong work you two.

    judging from your recent trips, i kept waiting for you to tell me that alex came along to the summit as well:)

    you two are near the base of the rocky terrain just before the grass starts...

  2. Paul, Alex can come on hiking trips with us once he can walk, cook for himself, tie his own shoes, put up a tent, and roll up a sleeping bag. I can't imagine carrying him up that mountain.

    Kenny, Kendall informs me that I told you I would never hike with you again. If I said that, I was in a state of dehydrated delirium. What I meant is that I will never hike 30 miles (or more) of difficult trail (or non-trail) in one-and-a-half days ever again. I'm all set for Mt. Whitney if you think you can handle it. . . .

  3. Mt. Whitney sounds good--but I may not have time for a full one-and-a-half days (such extravagance!) but--good news!--summitpost says it can be done as a day trip (only 22 miles round trip, 6,000 feet elevation gain). That would be nice--no heavy packs so maybe we could jog parts of it.

  4. My brothers did that hike once. That sounds like an exhausting but fulfilling adventure.

  5. The hiking doesn't sound so bad, the SCRAMBLING on the other hand sounds like torture. I'm definitely not from mountain goat stock!

  6. That is so impressive! Well done!

  7. I'm impressed. You won't find me doing that any time soon - or ever. My knees are STILL killing me - and I hiked Timp a MONTH ago. Hopefully this physical therapy will help.