Very sad - hope the man is alright. I have climbed Kings Peak many times via the
Henry's Fork rout and this is BIG country. There is particular danger when
hiking in the afternoon due to lightening. The storms that hit the Kings Peak
area move in fast and can be very violent with hail and lightening so I always
stay close to camp in the afternoon hours. Hopefully the man is alright and can
be found soon.
The "High Shortcut trail" referred to in the article is a shortcut that goes
from the top of Gunsight Pass to Anderson Pass, and is not a trail at all. It
involves a lot of careful route-finding and is very exposed in some places, and
easy to get cliffed out if you don't take the right route. People are often
tempted to leave the established trail and take this route because the trail
descends from Gunsight Pass into Painter Basin, giving up several hundred feet
of elevation which then has to be re-climbed as you ascend the east side of
Anderson Pass. Having climbed Kings Peak several times, including this shortcut
route, I can speak from experience that it is simply not worth it. It really
does not save very much time or energy as it is not an established trail and
involves a great deal of scrambling that uses up more energy than just sticking
to the established trail. And it is dangerous. There is a reason why the
established trail takes the route that it does. And as patriot stated, Kings
Peak is no place to be in the afternoon when thunderstorms roll in.
I have found the "high shortcut trail" to be a great shortcut to Anderson Pass.
The rock karn markers are not that difficult to follow and I found it to be less
effort than going down into Painter Basin and back up to Anderson Pass. I have buddies that go up the shoot to Anderson Pass. I have been down
the shoot a couple of times, but not personally willing to go up the shoot.King's Peak is not to be taken lightly. You should definetly get an
early start and try to be back in camp for the almost daily afternoon thunder
I'm still interested in how they became separated. Did the two younger ones
just not pay attention and outpaced the older man? Or did they make some kind
of agreement to split up? Once you're on the trail down Gunsight, I wouldn't
have a problem splitting up. But, on top - that's a messed-up place.
Glad he was found okay.