Sunday, March 26, 2006

King's Peak Outing

It all starts with a healthy diner. Then I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and started driving out through Wyoming to King's Peak. The plan was to ski in as far as I could and possibly climb the thing.

Andrew McClean's book states that the road to hell is paved with good intentions but the slog into king's peak is just plain hell. I don't know if that is exactly true, but then again, I did not get all the way in. At 8 in the morning I started off from the road which is three miles further to the actual trail head. By mid morning my elevation was higher, the snow deeper, and the temps warmer.

So warm in fact that snow started to stick on my skis pretty badly. Breaking trail was difficult and slow with the heavy pack on but the scenery was beautiful. It was nice to be in perfect cross coutry ski terrain, with incline for nice steady climbing and perfect kick-and-glide. By about 4 pm the temps started to drop and I conceded that I was no where near the gunsight pass that leads to king's peak and so I'd better just set up camp. I was probably about 2 miles from the pass, and then another 4 to the peak. I had enough food to keep going the next day but M's flight was getting in Satruday night and I didnt want to cut it that close. I found out that the small 220 g propane/butane tank will melt 3 L of water plus all the cups of coffee and tea you want, and cook dinner of cous cous at 20 F. The night was cold. My thermometer diped into the single digits that night. I found out that with two socks with heat packs taped to my feet, with a warm full nalgene in the foot of my bag, with long johns, flece pants, caplene and down jacket on, inside my 0 F rei down time bag that single digit temps are just barely doable. I didnt get much sleep that night but all told it was OK.

The next day I woke and had tons of coffee and relaxed as it warmed up to a comfy 20 F. I tooled around the meadows on my skis for a bit then decided to haul ass back to the car before it heated up too much and got clods of snow on my skis. On my way out I met up with this family, an 10 and 12 year old and this guy who were all doing kings peak. these kids were tough. They camped in the single digits just like i did the night before. We chatted awhile and they told me that they were really enjoying my ski track in. They also told me that the whole wastach mountain club was planning to be up there this weekend to enjoy my ski track.

I plan to go back in a few weeks when the 3 miles of road melts out so I may park closer and the snow will be more settled and there will be easy trail breaking and/or a skitrack in.


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