Cutting through the Provo and Bear River drainages of the Western Uinta Mountains, the Mirror Lake Highway is perhaps Utah’s most scenic mountain road. Fully-paved and topping out at 10,700 feet, this road is a gem for outdoor enthusiasts looking to access big Uinta peaks without the grueling approaches that remote Uinta peaks require. Peaks such as Mount Agassiz, Hayden Peak, Mount Watson and Bald Mountain dominate the scenery from the road; however, there are many other peaks within striking distance of the road that are seldom climbed and that reward the hiker with unique views of the High Uintas.
Kletting Peak (12,055 feet) and A-1 Peak (12,377 feet) are large, scenic Uinta peaks that are as close to the road. Kletting Peak can be seen directly from the Mirror Lake Highway, while A-1 Peak is tucked just behind Kletting via a connecting ridgeline. Because there is no trail to these peaks, they are not climbed often. Summiting Kletting and A-1 takes toughness and determination. Large boulder fields and dense forests must be traversed in order to summit these peaks, though the summit views are unique and rewarding enough to make this a worthwhile effort.
Park at the Kletting Memorial marker on the side of the road where you can see the peak towering above you not too far away. The forest bushwack can look intimidating, but it really is not so bad. High Uinta forests are not too thick; the biggest obstacle will be downed trees. Cut through the forest directly towards the peak. After about 400 feet of elevation gain, the forest turns into a mixed forest with boulders. Keep climbing straight up until you reach the summit ridge. The views from the ridge are astounding. Kermsuh Lake Basin sits on the other side of the ridge, as well as Hayden Peak. This is when the hike starts getting interesting. Hike up the ridge for a quick summit of Kletting Peak. Take in the views of the Western High Uintas, which is arguably the most rugged mountain group in all of Utah.
From the summit of Kletting, A-1 Peak can be seen along the connecting ridge to the Northeast. Unfortunately, one must climb down about 200 feet to reach saddle between the peaks before ascending A-1. This is absolutely worth it, as A-1 is 300 feet taller than Kletting and is in a better position to view the core of the High Uintas. Walk up the ridge to summit A-1. The views from this summit are what make this hike spectacular. Lamotte Peak, Ostler Peak, Mount Agassiz, Hayden Peak and Spread Eagle Peaks are visible to the east, along with countless other peaks and basins.
To return, simply retrace your steps. Be careful descending the steep boulders and make sure to follow the exact route you took up. It would be unwise to wander off your route and potentially have to hike back up and around the cliffs. Plan on this adventure taking a full day, and do not count on seeing other people. While this hike starts from a major road, it is remote and seldom hiked.