2008 Trip Reports


2008 Trip Index

King's Peak - 08Mar08

Pfeifferhorn/Hogum/Thunder Bowl/Coalpit Gulch - 12Jan08


Pfeifferhorn/Hogum/Thunder Bowl/Coalpit Gulch

Elevation Pfiefferhorn: 11,326'
Location Wasatch Range, Utah
Date 12 January 08
Time 5:40AM-5:55PM - 12.25 hours
Group Chad, Chip, Andy, Eric
Route White Pine Trail Head to Red Pine Lake to Pfeifferhorn via the SE Ridge.  Ski the south summit of Pfiefferhorn, ascend to the ridge of Hogum, ski down and traverse Hogum, Ascend to Thunder Ridge, ascend Thunder Ridge, descent Thunder Bowl, Ascent to top of Coalpit, Descent Coalpit to the road.
Gear Skis, Skins, Ice Ax/Whippet
Weather - Darkness
- Cloudy and very windy with low visibility
- Clear skies and wind
- Darkness
Ski Conditions Good to great.  Mostly powder with a few areas of inconsistent thin crusts



Ascent: 5,800'

Descent: 7,000'

Distance: ~10 miles


King's Peak (in a day)

Elevation King's Peak: 13,528'
Location Unita Mountains, Utah
Date 08 March 07
Time 3:45AM - 10:15PM - 18.5 hours
Group Chad, Chip, Audrey, Andrea
Route Henry's Fork Road -> Henry's Fork Campground -> Dollar Lake -> Gunsight Pass -> Anderson Pass -> King's Peak (return on same route)
Gear Nordic Skis, Skins, Crampons, Ice Ax/Whippet
Weather Visibility
- Cloudy with low visibility:
- Cold: temperatures were in the teens
- 25-30mph
- Gusts 45-50mph
Ski Conditions Heinous


We had a grand plan to ski King's Peak in a day.  We had planned for this to be a long day of ~14 hours.  We slept for a few hours, then left Summit Park at 1:00 AM on Saturday morning.  We were at the end of the plowed road to Henry's Fork Campground at 3:30AM and were skiing by 3:45AM.  We had hoped for the standard snowmobile trail all the way to Henry's Fork, but there was no trail into the campground.  Instead, in the dark of the night we got off the main road and onto a short cross country ski trail.  By 5AM, we were back on the road, less than 1 mile from the car.  From this point on, we had no trail to follow.  The early morning weather was light snow, but as dawn approached, the snow and wind both picked up.  We were left with minimal visibility for the entire day.  We had some struggles navigating through the woods in the morning hours.  When we broke into the open meadow, visibility was very poor due to snow and wind.  We were able to use patterned bases to get all the way to the base of Gunsight Pass.  We skinned up Gunsight Pass, traversed the other side, then skinned and booted up to Anderson Pass.  We started up the final summit approach at about 1:30 PM.  We had set a 2:00 turn around time which we eventually pushed to 3:00.  At 2:50, we were 0.3 miles from the summit and moving at a low pace as we front pointed up the hard snow.  At this point, we knew we were pushing our hours of daylight remaining and made the decision to turn around.  We suffer-skied back down on nordic gear to where we could traverse to Gunsight Pass.  Skied down the pass, then started the long trail breaking back to the car. 

In the end, we were on the trail for 18.5 hours and had to break trail the full distance both directions. 

Weather was our main culprit in making what should have been a fun summit day into a long and defeating death march.

King's Peak Photos


Ascent: ~5,400'

Descent: ~5,400'

Distance: ~40 miles



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