US Highpoints - Utah
Many (probably most) people treat the Kings Peak climb as a camping expedition, staying in a tent at least one night and hiking up to the top of Utah from there. We decided to treat it like an ultra hike. It's good training for us - and then we didn't have to sleep in (or carry) a tent!
We started in the darkness at 1:40 a.m., hiked up 5 miles to the Elkhorn Crossing, found the log bridge and made it across the creek just fine, and continued on. It was a beautiful night for an adventure. We tried to be quiet passing tents near the trail, and there were quite a few of them in the upper meadow around 8 miles from the trailhead.
It was still dark when we crested the first col, Gunsight pass. We tried the traverse that could have saved some distance, but didn't see where to go in the dark and ended up wasting time on a talus field before dropping down to the trail again. The sun came out on our way up to the second pass, such a gorgeous morning.
The last climb was almost all on large boulders, fairly easy to clamber up. We found nothing at the top (in fact, no signs anywhere on the road or trail pointing toward Kings Peak!), no plaque or indication that it was right. The climbers behind us all seemed to think it was right, so we decided we must have made it.
While we were hanging out at the top, a small plane flew circles around the peak and finally made a "straffing run" right over us - cool!
We talked with several hikers as we descended, and some had come up from "The Slide" so we had to check that out. It was a very long drop back down to the Henry's Fork valley, but it was basically a simple scree slope. It took a while, but it got us there.
After a long walk/run back to the trailhead, we finished our ~26-mile day in 11 hours and 50 minutes. Nice one!