The highest summit in Utah

Kings Peak in the High Uintas

44 miles in 48 hours & approx 7k of climbing.

So the trip began with a bit of a rough start. Our original idea was to approach from the south via the Yellowstone drainage. After drivin dirt roads for miles and miles, we were greeted by a ROAD CLOSED sign right next to the trailhead. Somthin about helicopters flying heavy machinery over the mountain range or the possibility of cougars riding moose throwing rattle snakes. Either way, there was no talk of turning around and heading back to Salt Lake so we opted to climb King’s by the gnarliest route possible…. Uinta Canyon.

Off we go.

Over the Sheep Bridge.

And into the Wilderness.

10 miles of rough, rocky terrain later, we were at base camp in the middle Chain Lake.

After cookin some good eats and staring for hours at the brightest night sky in America, we woke up in the Taj well rested for a 24 mile summit bid. Thats right… we absolutely need a 6 person tent for 3 people at 10,600 feet. 

Sheldon, Ally, Jose and Mark kickin it by the lake and throwin dry flies.

Brookies were everywhere.

High above the water.

And over Robert’s Pass.

Nice and rocky for my worsening blisters. I thought it would be a good idea to wear skinny socks for the first day so the summit attempt began with some fire in my boots.

14 miles in. See that peak in the background? Thats not even near Kings.

Onward.

And now for the main attraction…

Lake Atwood.

Not a soul for miles.

And another chance for Mark to catch some more fish. He must have caught 3 fish at every piece of water along the trip.

These high basins and lakes are really amazing places to be. The massive flat areas are higher than most peaks in the Wasatch and even higher than some highly glaciated peaks in Alaska. In the land of 1,000 lakes, we picked the best one to visit. I could camp out here for a month and just fish and bag peaks everyday.

Goin over Trail Rider’s Pass. Lookin east.

With my eyes on the prize to the west.

I can taste it…

Summit! I have never been so high in my life! 13,528 feet. The last few steps to the top were glorious. Seconds away from standing on the top of Utah was like somebody handing me a huge trophy on the peak. I earned it. Check out the looming shadow of Kings over Painter’s Basin. 

Lookin Southwest over the Yellowstone drainage.

More brookies down below.

North into the standard Henry’s Fork route. Only 15 miles to the summit.

And back down to Atwood.

I never wanted to leave… but the sun was goin down so I took the hint.

What happened next was pretty ridiculous. To make it back to the Trail Rider’s pass, you had to traverse giant boulder fields and summer snow patches. I didnt quite make it back before dark and I ended up losing the route for miles. Traversing wayyy too high and doing an insane amount of unnecessary climbing, I followed the brightest star/planet in the sky and wandered blindly in the dark for hours. Somewhere up on the pass, I saw a signal fire my buddies made on the far side of Atwood Lake. It was my only beacon of hope as I got cliffed out, stumbled through marshes and bushwacked for who knows long. I found the trail right as Ally and Sheldon found me, sat by the fire for a coupla minutes then 6 more miles back to camp. We wouldnt have made it through those dark woods without Sheldon’s GPS… thanks buddy. 

Woke up with a giant breakfast and some chill time by the lake. None of us wanted to abandon our temporary home but getting stuck in afternoon thunderstorms is no fun.

Then another 10 miles of rockyness back to the trailhead.

Through the woods.

Over the creek.

And back to Sheep Bridge for the last 4 miles.

The end result. I got one of these on each foot.

….and it was worth it.