Ascent of Kings Peak on 2008-08-08

Climber: Lane Johnson

Others in Party:Ken Johnson
Kenny Johnson
Date:Friday, August 8, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Kings Peak
    Elevation:13528 ft / 4123 m

Ascent Trip Report

We hiked in from the Henry's Fork trailhead on Day 1 and camped at Dollar Lake, which was in heavy use. The next morning we hiked up to Gunsight Pass, and instead of dropping down into Painter Basin we traversed right and went up over the ridge; and from there we rock-hopped back to the trail below Anderson Pass. There were probably a hundred climbers on the mountain, including a couple of Scout troops. As we headed toward the summit, a monster black cloud approached with cracking thunder but no visible lightning. As we ascended to within about 300 feet of the summit, there was a mass exodus of climbers. We barely got our rain gear on before fog rolled in and a fierce wind blasted us with rain. We hunkered down for a few minutes, and decided to continue climbing no matter what. We made the summit and took some radical pictures. Then, after about 15 minutes, the cloud rolled away and we were standing in bright sunshine. We had been idiotic to take the chance of a lightning strike, BUT we really felt sorry for those who bailed out and looked like ants down on the trail to Painter Basin, heading home. We descended to Anderson Pass and, instead of going back the way we came, we took a shortcut down "The Chute" nearby, hootin' and hollerin' as we slipped, glissaded, fell, rolled, and otherwise made it to the bottom of the 1,000-foot scree slope. Then we hiked across the grassy basin and rejoined the trail near Dollar Lake. We hiked out the next day in the wildest imaginable hailstorm, which dropped several inches of the wet stuff in an hour. Water flooded the trail in many places, and we had a heck of a time getting to the trailhead.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2728 ft / 832 m
    Elevation Loss:2728 ft / 832 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cool, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2728 ft / 832 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:North approach via Gunsight Pass
    Trailhead:Dollar Lake  10800 ft / 3291 m
    Time Up:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:2728 ft / 832 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:The "Chute"
    Trailhead:Dollar Lake  10800 ft / 3291 m
    Time Down:3 Hours 

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