Summit County Highpoint Trip Report

Gilbert Peak

Dates: July 2-4, 2004
Author: David Wallentine

I hiked to Dollar Lake on July 2nd with a group of friends with the intent of climbing both King's Peak (which I did in August 2002) and Gilbert Peak (which I never had climbed). As tends to happen in the High Uintas, the weather quickly disposed of any plans to climb King's. I decided that Gilbert Peak, being a much shorter climb, would suffice for this trip, and set off alone on July 3rd, my companions opting for a day of fishing and relaxing in camp. I climbed rapidly to the ridge west of the peak which gradually levels to a gently sloping plateau of sorts. It is easy going all the way to the final push to the summit, with occasional steeper sections. I heard thunder frequently as I hiked, but never saw any lightning, and it all seemed far away. I reached a point just below the summit "plateau" and the weather turned rather ugly. My GPS indicated 13,148 feet and 0.3 mile to the summit itself.

As I sat pondering the weather, I heard lightning hit the summit. I wondered if I could wait it out and attempt to summit when the storm had passed but thought better of it and reluctantly fled for lower ground. I reached camp in about half the time it had taken to get as high as I did.

The next day (July 4) the weather was not much better but there was the notable absence of thunder. This time there were 5 of us who set out and I was understandably concerned about the clouds that continued to gather. I mentioned to my companions that if I heard thunder, I was DONE. We got just about every kind of weather on the way up EXCEPT thunder as snow, hail, rain, and even some balmy sunshine passed over us. As luck would have it, we never heard a single thunderclap until three of us had already reached the summit, at which time we heard plenty. I scrambled to sign the summit register and take a few photos, then ran all the way back to the edge of the large treeless basin west of the peak. I watched my companions also come one by one off the summit and proceed to lower ground, and satisfied that they were all relatively safe, headed around the ridge and back to Dollar Lake.

Total hike (single trip) was 2.46 miles (one-way from Dollar Lake).
Elevation gained from 10,800 feet at Dollar Lake to 13,442 feet at summit is 2,642 feet.