Ascent of Kings Peak on 2012-08-11

Climber: Josey Coleman

Date:Saturday, August 11, 2012
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Kings Peak
    Elevation:12500 ft / 3810 m

Ascent Trip Report

Been really wanting to do this one for awhile, and finally had a good weekend to try for it, but I developed pretty bad altitude sickness for whatever reason. I hadn't had it in years, so when I set up camp near the trailhead on Friday night, I figured I just had a headache from the drive. The next morning it still hadn't gone away and I was feeling a little uncoordinated but I thought that if I just started hiking that it would start to ease a little bit. I reached Dollar Lake fairly quickly and set up camp and drank a lot of water and took some ibuprofen. I still had plenty of time to make it to the peak and back before any nasty weather, so I decided to keep heading up even though my headache wasn't going away, but I was really slowing down.

After getting to Gunsight pass, I headed up the unmaintained trail to the right and up onto the shoulder. Ordinarily this would have been quick and easy but I was moving pretty slow since I was fighting to keep balanced. At this point I knew that it was altitude sickness so I turned back towards camp, with the thought that maybe heading down a bit would ease it and that I'd be feeling well enough to try again on Sunday. I spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging around Dollar Lake and watching a few moose roam around in a meadow on the far side, and went to bed pretty early. I slept really well and missed my goal for waking up by over an hour but with a worse headache. I knew my plans were pretty well shot by that point so I packed up and headed back down to the trailhead.

I have to say its incredibly frustrating to have been so close and not make it, especially when I've been much higher many times this year and have had 0 problems with altitude. I'm not sure what made this time so different, but I really hope its not a recurring thing.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4000 ft / 1219 m
    Extra Gain:450 ft / 137 m
    Distance:23.2 mi / 37.3 km
    Route:Anderson Pass Cutoff
    Trailhead:Henry's Fork Trailhead  9400 ft / 2865 m
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear

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