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Utah questions

August 11 2003 at 10:11 AM
Cole Smith  (no login)

My wife and I are planning to attempt Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah's highpoints next weekend. Hope to see some of you all out there.

I have some questions for those of you who have done Utah before, or who haven't but have enough experience to offer advice. We will try Utah a week from today (Monday, August 18th). All opinions are much appreciated.

1) We are planning on starting around 1pm (would rather start sooner, but not sure if it's possible). This should give us enough time to get in about 8-9 miles along the trail before darkness. Where is the last good place that we could stop to camp? I was thinking somewhere around Gunsight Pass.

(We're trying to do this in two days, rather than three, because of travel restrictions. We will bring enough supplies for three days just in case.)

2) I have read opinions on whether to shortcut by scrambling boulders on the way up past Gunsight Pass, or whether to use the longer, established trail that goes down 600 feet and regains it later. Opinions on this? Which is easier/faster, or for whatever other reasons preferable (e.g., views & scenery)?

3) On the way down, I understand that there's a big scree slope that we can take to shortcut our path back home (the "toilet bowl", as I've heard it referred to). Is this similar to the scree slope in New Mexico on Wheeler Peak? Is it reasonably safe to take? We could not believe the steepness of the Wheeler Peak slope at first, but once we started descending it, we were very glad that we did.

4) Anything else? Bug problems, wildlife, trail warnings? We know of thunderstorm danger, and will try to summit the next morning pretty early to avoid those troubles, and to get to the car.

Your opinions on any or all of these are much appreciated. We have a website for our highpointing ventures that we'll "launch" very soon; it will give trip reports of this hike and about 24 others. I figured after 25 highpoints (assuming we get these four), we could at least share something with everyone else . We also have highpointing dogs, who should each have 14 soon, but won't join us on top of Utah.

Thanks again!

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