At 13,527 feet, Kings Peak is the roof of Utah standing above the incredibly remote and beautiful Uinta range. Utah’s 13ers are not overly technical, but they usually require several days to summit due to their remoteness and their distance from the nearest road. Kings Peak is no exception to the rule, with summertime round-trip hikes totaling 25-30 miles round trip. Slap on some skis, however, and everything changes. The ability to ski directly off the summit takes hours off of the round-trip hike and makes it possible to ski this incredible summit in one long day.
There are no roads in the Uintas that are plowed in the winter, so Kings Peak is best skied in May when the road is melted out enough to reach the trailhead. Alternatively, most roads in the Uintas get their only plow of the year around June 1, so that would be a good time to make the ascent.
The skiing route up Kings Peak is very similar to the hike. Start at Henry’s Fork Campground, and follow Henry’s Fork all the way up into Henry’s Fork Basin. This is 5 to 6 miles of very mellow, forested climbing. The summit of Kings Peak is visible from the basin as well as the daunting and somewhat inviting chute that splits Gunsight Peak from Henrys Fork Peak. This is where the ski route differs from the hiking route. Skin to the base of the chute, and boot right up it! This is a steep chute, but nothing out of the ordinary for someone with the skills to attempt this peak.
Once up the chute, simply skin up the ridge to Kings Peak, and enjoy Utah’s highest peak, which you will almost certainly have to yourself.
This tour is around 23 miles and 12 to 15 hours round trip, and it requires skinning on the descent. Please respect this mountain and only attempt a winter ascent if you are in peak physical condition.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.