Duchesne County High Point Trip Report
Kings Peak (13,528 ft)
Date: September 3, 2002
Authors: Jennifer and Gerry Roach
We ventured into the High Uintahs Wilderness over Labor Day Weekend to bag more Utah county summits.
With "summit" being the operative word, we had a very successful trip into a beautiful area. While many
Highpointers have used the trail systems in this area to claim the famous Kings Peak, we furthered our quest
by climbing its less famous neighbor to the northeast, Gilbert Peak. At 13,442 feet, this gentle peak sits in
direct proximity to Dollar Lake and Kings Peak, yet is not often ascended.
Using Diane and Charlie Wingers second edition of Highpoint Adventures for driving instructions, we found
the excellent, graded dirt roads to be well marked all the way to Henrys Fork Campground and trailhead.
Holiday weekends bring out the camper crowds, so parking in the large lot was limited. We managed a
marathon drive from Boulder, CO to this trailhead with a 5 am start and arrival time at 2:20 pm.
Quickly donning backpacks, we hustled in just under 3 hours through the 1,100 feet of gain and 8 miles to a
wonderful campsite. The camping options around Dollar Lake were crowded, so we opted for a secluded
site nestled in willows just west of the trail above Henrys Fork. This choice gave us much better water from
the flowing creek, which we carefully treated and boiled, since sheep have frequented the area.
The next morning was stunning. We set out with the ambition to climb 5 summits that day, not really
realizing that the peaks are huge and the distances vast! Striking out to the east and then southeast above
Dollar Lake, we rose above tree line easily and hiked up on the 12,000-foot arm that lies west of Gilbert's
broad plateau. From here, it is a pleasant hike over grass and sometimes loose talus boulders to the summit.
There is a large wind shelter and a BLM marker on top. We left a register. Another Utah county summit
scored by Jennifer and Gerry!
From this summit, we descended southwest to the 12,625 saddle between Gilbert and "Gunsight Peak,"
our next objective. In this vast plain, we located a tiny snow patch that yielded another quart of water for us on
this long day. More boulder-hopping led us to the top of 13,263-foot "Gunsight Peak," which has even
fewer visitations. There is a great view of Kings Peak from this vantage point. Now for the rough portion
of our day. We descended rather hastily down Gunsight's southwest slopes to reach Gunsight Pass. This
was tedious and picky over very unstable rock near several cliff bands. It took us longer than anticipated to
bypass the cliff bands. Undaunted, we continued along the Gunsight Pass Trail, and took the climber's
shortcut trail to the Anderson Pass Trail. This trail junction is unsigned, and occurs at about the 11,300-foot level.
Look sharp for it! The climber's trail is good, and goes all the way to Anderson Pass at 12,450 feet.
From here, it is a big boulder hop to the 13,528-foot summit of Kings Peak, which we reached under
beautiful weather conditions at 5:00 p.m. With the summit to ourselves, we enjoyed the fantastic panorama
from the roof of Utah. It was a great place to survey our route from Gilbert, over "Gunsight Peak" to the
loftiest perch in the State.
We hustled down the shortcut chute between Henry's Fork Peak and "West Gunsight Peak" to reach our
tent just before dark. Tent to tent, our Gilbert - Kings Peak tour took us 12 hours.