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Ascent of South Kings Peak on 2019-08-02

Climber: Dan Robrecht

Date:Friday, August 2, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Kings Peak
    Location:USA-Utah
    Elevation:13512 ft / 4118 m

Ascent Trip Report

https://www.strava.com/activities/2585549791 For GPS track and photos.
Lovely hike up Kings via Henry's Fork. Started about 6:30am and jogged for an hour or two before it starting getting steeper (and much more crowded.) Took the cutoff around the shoulder of Dome. While it's unfortunate that this must be the most popular backpack in Utah, it is with good reason, especially if one is moving fast enough to avoid the mosquitoes.

After summitting Kings, I decided to get rid of the crowds by taking the ridge over to S Kings. Being alone on the mountain was enjoyable enough that I then decided not to go back the way I'd come and instead went down the E face of S Kings. This wasn't a great choice, I should have either gone down to the lowest saddle with Kings or forward down the SE ridge until it cuts back NE. I believe either one would have given me a substantially less steep route. In any case, I descended the steep boulder fields carefully checking every step, and safely arrived at the beautiful high alpine tarn at 12300'. I pondered going directly N from the tarn as it looked like there was the start of a small canyon heading that way, but this would have been a bad call with substantial cliffs not far down. I took the safer route following the stream down from the pond which was easy, beautiful going to the valley floor. My plan was to go East to the trail labelled "Chain Lakes-Atwood", and I headed that direction. Water was everywhere even though spring runoff should have been mostly over, and I relatively quickly abandoned the effort to keep my shoes dry as large streams were interspersed with wide swampy areas. The trail did not exist as near as I could tell, so I headed back to Gunsight cross country. I pondered making a run for Gilbert via Dollar Lake, but decided I was too tired and was grateful for this decision as storm clouds rolled in and I was enveloped in a pretty violent thunderstorm on my way down. The biggest SNAFU of the trip was when I realized, back at the parking lot, that every compartment in my backpack was soaked, and I had not thought to protect my electric car key. I had to hitch a ride back to Evanston and have my wife pick me up the next day. (I later learned that most electric keys have a backstop if the battery or electronics are dead. consider looking this up in your owners manual if you have such a key)
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