Hayden Peak

I've had my eye on a peak in the Uintas for quite some time - Hayden Peak. It is one of the most photographed peaks in the Uintas, serving as a backdrop to heavily visited Mirror Lake. With my wife's family having a cabin just south of the Wyoming border along the Mirror Lake Highway, a junior high summer science camp trip, and having camped and hiked a number of other times in the area, I've traveled through the shadows of Hayden Peak many, many times. So when a local group on Facebook organized a hike up to Hayden yesterday and having the day open, I jumped at the chance to join along.

Saturday - August 22, 2015

It was a great opportunity to meet up with some other local hikers and have an experienced couple guide us along and show us a safe route. This hike to the 12,479 foot peak would take us over 2,200 feet in roughly 2 miles.  Needless to say, this was actually less of a hike and much more of a scramble featuring lots of class 3 spots en route to the top.

We met bright and early at the Highline Trailhead, exchanged introductions, and set off.

Pre-hike group photo at the trailhead (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Hayden Peak, the mountain to be conquered. (Photo by Greg Short)

Negotiating "The Bog" en route to a brief social trail (Photo by Greg Short)

Working our way up the slope. 

Getting into the bigger boulders.

Closing in on the upper cliff band.

Some beta out there suggests looking for a short little chimney to work your way up the cliff band at the top of the boulder slide.  Instead of that, we traversed across the boulders along the bottom of the cliffs and made our way up to a chute (couloir) that is also a popular shortcut up to the ridge and saddle, only steeper and likely more taxing on the lungs.  Still, there would be a rather slick and eroded spot we would have to cut across along the way.

A brief descent down the boulders underneath the cliff band. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Nearing the slick & eroded spot en route to saddle. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Soon we found ourselves up on the saddle enjoying a view down into the Stillwater Middle Basin.  For a moment, I was in familiar territory. My wife, Jessica, and I had backpacked up into the basin from the other direction a couple years ago and took a morning hike up to the same saddle we were now standing on from the side we were now looking down upon.  We would pause along the saddle at the base of a false summit for a good rest and of course lots of photos.

Our first view down into Middle Basin from the saddle.  McPheters Lake prominently seen to the left.

Hanging out on the saddle. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Our guides, Paul & Shari. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

The group surveying the false summit and what was yet to come. 

Getting set to leave the saddle. (Photo by Shari Richins)

Leaving the saddle. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Making our way up and around the false summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Above the false summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Scrambling up a small chute through the ridge.

Greg and myself taking a quick breather. (Photo by Tina Crowder)
Approaching the final scramble to the true summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

 The final scramble up the summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

The definition of Class 3 with Darrin doing his best to mask the fear. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

 Tina making the final approach.

Still scrambling. (Photo by Shari Richins)

Don't slip here! (Photo by Shari Richins)

At last we all arrived safely on the summit.  We congratulated each other and chilled out for a good while as we enjoyed some snacks, lots of photo taking, and grand views in every direction, at least as far as the smoke filled air allowed us to see. The smoke from the fires all along the west coast had accumulated throughout the mountain west's skies.


Summit selfie at 12,479 feet.

"Will and the West" (Photo by Darrin Lythgoe)

Taking in the view.

Panorama - Eastward

Panorama - Westward

Group shot on the summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Now it was time to descend the mountain.  Sometimes going down can be a bit trickier than coming up.  This would be such an occasion.

Reverse scrambling back down the summit.

Approaching the false summit.

Tina continued to make everyone pose for photos on the way down.  We obliged.

Myself with Highline Trailhead in the background. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

Overlooking Bald Mountain and Mirror Lake. (Photo by Tina Crowder)

The final descent.

The end of the final descent.

Hayden Peak, the mountain we just conquered.

One last look at Hayden before arriving back at the trailhead.

Special thanks to Tina Crowder for organizing this event and for Paul and Shari Richins for guiding us up.  We all had a great time and most importantly, we all survived!

Some more great pics from the hike can be found in this album by another member of our group, Radim Knob.  He's from the Czech Republic and recently returned from a trip back home over there, so I think this was his first outing since returning back to Utah.


1 comment:

  1. I need to do this peak! I summited Mt. Agassiz this summer, which is right down the ridgeline to the east of Hayden. My friend Dave Thomas was on this hike with you guys, but said he took a slightly different route to the peak than the group. Great pics! I'm so excited for summer to come! Alicia @ www.girlonahike.com


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