Duchesne County Highpoint Trip Report

Dates: August 22-25, 2006
Author: Roy Wallen

A group of state and county highpointers converged on Henrys Fork Campground on the evening of August 22nd. Dean Molen and Dennis Poulin greeted us, having completed Gilbert and Kings the few days before our arrival and just arrived at the trailhead that that afternoon. Rick Hartman and Merle Thomsen had arrived earlier that day from a successful completion of Gannett Peak. We swapped a few stories and settled into our individual camping arrangements.

Early on the morning of the 23rd, Bill Jacobs, Jack Lyons, Doug Urban, and Ryan Urban arrived and we all began to assemble gear. Dennis and Dean saw us off at the trailhead, declining to join us for another summit bid. We made an uneventful ascent to Dollar Lake, leaving the trail before it ascends to the plateau above the lake. We found a good camp site among the pines and settled in for the evening. There was a light rain in the evening but nothing dramatic. Thankfully, the mosquitoes had subsided from earlier reports we had. It was apparently late enough in the month to avoid the bulk of the critters.

Up well before dawn to ascend ahead of any potential thunderstorms, we assembled the things we would need for a long summit day and, headlamps shining, we ascended to Gunsight Pass, arriving just as the skies were beginning to lighten. We stayed generally high on the shoulder above Gunsight Pass, working our way across boulders and scree to Anderson Pass. Scattered across the open area, we fell into line for the trail up the ridge to the summit of Kings Peak. The faster members made the ascent easily while some of us in the back trudged our way up to the summit. Everyone made the peak, however, and Rick was sprinting ahead of us to also do South Kings.

After the obligatory photos and a good rest on the summit, we made our way down the boulders toward Anderson Pass. There were many hikers on their way up as we descended. We made good time on the descent and Rick caught up with us as we rested at Anderson Pass. Here we had the choice of walking more to the east around the normal route and back through Gunsight Pass or across to the shorter but steeper route of the Toilet Bowl. Bill and Jack elected the longer route to Gunsight Pass and the other 5 elected the steep descent of the Toilet Bowl. There was a party of 3 with a dog that passed us at the rim of the bowl then waited as we descended. The Toilet Bowl was full of very loose sand and scree and the going was slow. Eventually, we all safely descended and reassembled at the grassy bottom, greeted by many sheep. It was then an uneventful trudge across the open meadows and scrub trees to the ridge above Dollar Lake and our camp site. Bill and Jack arrived a bit more than an hour after the rest of us. The entire day was cloudless and the temperatures were perfect for the climb.

After some debate, we all elected to pass on Gilbert Peak, originally planned for the next day. A couple of members had commitments that prevented an ascent of Gilbert, a few simply had no interest in a county highpoint (pure state highpointers), and the rest simply had no motivation for a second long day of climbing. We all agreed that we would stay together, pack at a leisurely pace the next day, and hike out together to Henrys Fork Trailhead.

On hiking out on the 25th, Kings was already beclouded at 9 AM. We felt even more blessed by the clear weather we had for our summit day. Another uneventful hike brought us to the trailhead and our vehicles. After a change of clothes and getting gear sorted and packed, we drove into the town of Mountain View for lunch at Sills Café (highly recommended).