Ascent of Second Gemini on 2020-09-05

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, September 5, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Second Gemini
    Elevation:13306 ft / 4055 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine Second Gemini is the 6th highest named highpoint in Utah. This climb included Trail Rider Peak (Ramp Peak) and Painter Peak (First Gemini), but I will only report the climb of Second Gemini here. See the separate reports for the other two peaks for more information. A climb of any of these three peaks requires a backpack of over 20 miles. I approached Second Gemini from the south on the Swift Creek Trail and camped east of Lower Carrol Lake. On summit day I got up at 4:51 AM before my alarm and was hiking by an early 5:14 AM. I reached the summit of Trail Rider Peak first from my high base camp east of Lower Carrol Lake in 4 hours and 36 minutes, which includes 13 minutes of rest stops, then I reached Painter Peak (First Gemini) in just 1 hour and 19 minutes. From here Second Gemini was only .55 air mile to the northwest, but it looked farther. The saddle drop between First and Second Gemini was less than 200 feet and a lot of the travel was easy on large flat level slabs of rock, but in a few places there were a some small cliffs and I had to descend and detour around these sections which cost quite a bit of time. As a result, I did not reach the summit of Second Gemini for 1 hour and 36 minutes. On the way I saw a Marten for the first time in the wild. I would have never expected to see a mammal like this so high up in a rocky landscape. I guess he eats pikas, but I did not see or hear any. From this summit I could see nearly every one of the eighteen 13,000 foot peaks I climbed during my several weeks of backpacking in the Uintas, but I could not enjoy the view long. I had a very long hike to return to my camp. I decided to contour below the top of the ridge in order to reach the saddle between Painter Peak and Trail Rider Peak, so I would not have to reclimb Painter Peak again, but the travel on the rocky slope was very slow. During this part of my return hike I came upon a solitary mountain goat that was traveling in the same direction that I was. He did not seem to be too bothered at my presence, but he did keep his distance of about 20 yards before finally turning uphill to the ridge line. It is not uncommon to see mountain goats at this elevation, but I wondered what the goat was going in this area. There is absolutely nothing to eat with the terrain completely covered with several feet of assorted rocks and no vegetation. I was not back on Trail Rider Peak again ready for its steep descent for 3 hours and it took me another 1 hour and 47 minutes to reach the valley floor. I then followed my same ascent route back to my camp east of Lower Carrol Lake and reached it in 1 hour and 30 minutes for a total descent time from the summit of Second Gemini in 6 hours and 17 minutes. I cooked a hot dinner with the company of a very bold mouse that I had to keep swatting away and even cleaned up before getting in my tent just after 10:00 PM. I got up just before 8:00 AM, but I was not packed up and hiking back to the trail head until 10:00 AM. As I got closer to the parking area there was more and more forest fire smoke and the ground even started to look orange. I was glad to finally reach my car after 7 hours and 30 minutes of hiking, which includes 1 hour and 17 minutes of rest stops. I was surprised to see so many parked vehicles at the trail head, especially with the thick smoke evident overhead from the forest fires to the northwest. The Yellowstone Creek Trail was even closed, which is to the west of the Swift Creek Trail that I hiked. This was my last backpack on this trip to Utah and during the five backpacks I did I climbed 18 of the 13,000 foot peaks in Utah out of 23. I might return next summer and try to summit the 5 peaks I have left. On the way home I did not drive out of the forest fire smoke until near my home state of Missouri!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles, Tent Camp

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