Ascent of Kings Peak in 2003

Climber: Jaron Harker

Others in Party:Tim
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Kings Peak
    Elevation:13528 ft / 4123 m

Ascent Trip Report

Tim wanted to hike King’s Peak, I had no idea at the time what King’s Peak was nor how crazy his idea was. It was summer and down in the Salt Lake Valley it was hot, I didn’t think of bringing warmer clothing. Tim said we would have to wake up at 2:00 in the morning to make the accent and return in one day. His dad (Steve) and brother (Travis) also wanted to go. When my dad (Kent) heard we were going he expressed his interest in joining the expedition. Everyone seemed real excited to climb this mountain. I did not know why it was so important to them at the time, not knowing the elevation significance.

We drove up to the Henry’s Fork Campground and threw some tarps out on the ground. We went to bed around 8:00 PM and woke up at 2:00 AM to start the hike. We all had head lights to follow the leisurely ascending trail in to the base of King’s Peak. The sun began to rise as the prominence was in sight.

We reached the summit I believe around 10:00 AM and rested/celebrated for about 30 minutes to an hour, I signed my name in the book up top. Steve and Travis went down the opposing ridge a little to stand on a smaller hump. My dad didn’t feel well, maybe because of the altitude, and descended ahead of us. When Steve and Travis came back up to the summit to descend down the mountain Steve was also feeling “old” thinking he may need to slow the pace or die with a heart attack.

On our way back instead of following the ridge down the same way we came up we decided to follow a lesser used trail down a larger crevasse, appearing to have been carved from a glacier no longer there. The trail traversed down the steep rocky hill, I slipped once sliding a little thinking I may not stop.

After getting off the prominence we still had a long hike ahead of us. Dark clouds were rolling in, the temperature began to drop; I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I remember passing several camp sights and wondering why we didn’t try to make the trek in several days instead of one long day.

When there was about 7 miles left to get back to the truck it began to rain, the big hard drops that sting and soak you immediately. The rain turned to hail causing us to take shelter under a few large pine trees. Lightning was striking all around, it was dark and cold. Everyone in the group accept for me had rain ponchos to keep them dryer and warmer. Luckily, my dad had an emergency poncho (extra one) deep down inside his day pack he let me borrow.

After waiting for a long wet cold time the rain eased off, we continued the hike back. It felt like eternity getting back from then on, seeming like most of the trail had turned into a river about 6 inches deep. We got back to the truck about 5:30 PM. I’m glad I wasn’t the one who had to drive home. When we got home I learned on the news 3 hikers had been struck by lightning in the Uinta Mountains during the storm.

I swore I’d never hike King’s Peak again however, seven years later I think I’ll try it again in a 3 day hike.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cold, Windy, Clear
good till the last 5 hours back

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