Ascent to Kings Peak-Dollar Lake on 2014-08-26

Climber: Martin Ralya

Others in Party:Cheryl Ralya
Date:Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Kings Peak - Dollar Lake
    Elevation:10785 ft / 3287 m
    Remaining Elevation:2743 ft / 836 m (67% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

I made Kings Peak a goal back in 2013, and it informed quite a bit of what I did outdoors for nearly a year -- getting into peakbagging, many day hikes, one solo backpacking trip (a one-nighter), and more. After planning the trip for months, we were locked into the four days we'd blocked for it, and those days turned out to be less than ideal weather-wise.

We got half a day of good weather, watching a storm system move in, before the rain began. We made it Dollar Lake, ate a quick meal and set up the tent in the drizzle, and called it a day. It rained on and off for the rest of the day, and then several times during the night.

The next morning, the rain turned to snow. The peaks around us were completely socked in, and the sky was a solid grey ceiling -- with no signs of better weather ahead. We'd come prepared to hike and sleep in pretty cold weather, but hadn't prepared to sleep in snow or very cold weather; neither our tent nor our 32-degree bags were right for those conditions.

We did a quick risk analysis and decided that the chances of being caught in too-cold temps or more snow outweighed the possible upside of hunkering down in the tent for another day to see if the weather would break, and turned around.

Getting to go backpacking with my mom (age 67, on her first backpacking trip) was a great experience, and despite not making our goal we had a good time. The hike back was wet and miserable, but even that was full of interesting lessons about what sorts of rain gear worked better, etc. I'm very glad we made the trek.

I look forward to trying Kings again next year, probably solo and in July or early August -- and one good thing about missing it the first time is that I get to keep this excellent motivator for another year!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1358 ft / 413 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.4 mi / 23.2 km
    Route:Henry's Fork Trail
    Trailhead:Henry's Fork trailhead  9427 ft / 2873 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Calm, Low Clouds
Mixed, stormy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 40 Minutes

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