Summit County Highpoint Trip Report

Gilbert Peak

Dates: July 15-18, 2006
Author: Dave Covill

We secured the services of Ken Aimone, a horse packer from Fort Bridger, Mountain View WY. The plan was for two of the party to ride in to beyond Dollar Lake on Saturday 7/15, then set out from there on Day 2. While the rest road or walked to Dollar Lake, two of us, taking full advantage of the pack horses by filling up one of the mules' saddle bags with our heavy gear, hiked the Henrys Fork trail to near the main stream crossing bridge, then said good-bye to our friends and bushwhacked due east towards a break in the northern rampart of Glbert. The topo shows a "pack trail" there. There is no such thing. We saw a vestige of a trail on the steep portion ascending the northern flank of a steep gulley, right about where the map indicated a trail to be but otherwise saw no trail anywhere around there. If it existed at all, it has been gone for years. We turned southward and followed a route not mentioned in any of the on-line trip reports.

We walked for several miles high above timberline up the broad, smooth tundra plateau that forms Gilbert's north face. We saw about 120 elk up there, around 12,400 feet, here.

In this view, you can make out the pack trail coming in at the far upper left corner of the map. We left it at about 11,100 feet and turned southward and followed the snow-filled gulley (last snow of the hike) up onto the broad plateau. Cool ledges with water flowing over them in there. We spooked the last of the elk from above us at around 12,400 feet, crossed the isthmus, and curved eastward and up to Gilbert's summit. At no point did we need to take our hands out of our pockets, although the going is quite rocky at all times above 12,400 feet. Summit register is a small soda bottle with shredded pieces of paper, no pencil. We did not sign in.

We initially intended to descend a steep gulley directly to the camp a mile above Dollar Lake (a mile due north of Gunsight Pass, in the last trees) here; but chose not to as it had minor snow and wearily hiked down the grassy ridge due north down to Dollar Lake, cut above it, and west to the trail, and trudged the mile back uphill to camp. Our team mates had cracked open the wine but we fell into bed after a quick supper, 11 hours after leaving the TH at 9:30 AM.

We had originally intended to do Gilbert on the way out, after summiting Kings, but chose to take advantage of a wonderful high pressure system. We had on shorts and t-shirts the entire day, until we hit the mosquitoes at Dollar Lake.

One note; the skeeters are horrendous throughout the entire upper basin. We met a couple from TX who had a go-light style bottomless tent and no bug dope. Suffice to say they were miserable and contemplating a night time walk out to escape them.