Snow crunched underfoot as I trekked toward the chute, a shadowed corner pinched between cliffs at 11,000 feet. It was a Monday morning, cloudless and quiet, the sun just poking above distant peaks of the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah.
Thus starts my story in the New York Times for Friday, November 14. In this article Climbing as High as You Can Go in Utah I tell the tale of my two-day ascent of Kings Peak last month, which at 13,528 feet is the states high point.
The trip started in Salt Lake City, where we drove east and north into Wyoming then dipping back south across the state line en route to the High Uintas Wilderness, a protected region of peaks and pristine lakes that are among the most remote in the lower 48 states. The hike to Kings Peak a 28-mile round trip led us into an alpine Eden then up and up through a chute and a long talus climb to the top.
We even encountered moose on the hike in by headlamp, two large shapes moving away off the trail, their eyes sparking blue in the artificial glow. We then slept tentless, the sky utterly clear, stars dusting in three dimensions on the black void above, before getting up the next day to climb.