Summit County High Point Trip Report

Gilbert Peak (13,442 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.