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High Uinta ~5 day backpacking ideas

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Re: High Uinta ~5 day backpacking ideas

Postby Scott » Fri May 10, 2013 2:11 pm

Looks kind of sketchy/loose, but I think it will go??


It's actually on old trail, but parts on the Priord side have faded or slid away. It's not bad if you look around for the correct route. In late June/early July, I'd recommend an ice axe for the Priord Lake side.
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Re: High Uinta ~5 day backpacking ideas

Postby ZeeJay » Fri May 10, 2013 9:17 pm

mkpatrick wrote:http://images.summitpost.org/original/424027.JPG

I think this photo shows the pass from Priord to Helen. Looks kind of sketchy/loose, but I think it will go early season?

I think the route goes behind that little cliffy section near the pass so you can't really see it in that picture. It wasn't so bad. Here's another picture taken the end of July, showing the terrain close up.
http://www.summitpost.org/first-steps-a ... ail/427585
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Re: High Uinta ~5 day backpacking ideas

Postby mkpatrick » Sat May 11, 2013 5:38 am

ZeeJay wrote:
mkpatrick wrote:http://images.summitpost.org/original/424027.JPG

I think this photo shows the pass from Priord to Helen. Looks kind of sketchy/loose, but I think it will go early season?

I think the route goes behind that little cliffy section near the pass so you can't really see it in that picture. It wasn't so bad. Here's another picture taken the end of July, showing the terrain close up.
http://www.summitpost.org/first-steps-a ... ail/427585



Yeah, agree that cliff band is hiding the route, but it was the best I could find. We will pack axes just in case. Can anyone fill me in on what kind of snow year you guys have had in UT? Low in the Sierra a a little below average in Oregon, hope you guys are following a similair pattern. Are the skeeters as bad as advertised in early July? I am pretty familiar with buggy backpacking here in the PNW, but wanted yalls opinion. Scott and ZeeJay- Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

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Re: High Uinta ~5 day backpacking ideas

Postby ZeeJay » Sat May 11, 2013 7:05 pm

We had a cold wet early spring which brought snow levels up to average for the Uintas. Lately though it's been extra hot and dry so the snow is melting fast. Here's a link for some snotel data.

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/datamap/ind ... e=0&fire=0

Click on the asterisks. Lakefork Basin is probably the one you want to pay attention to. It's currently reporting 98% of average.

Mosquitoes might be ok and then again they might not. Last year I was only bothered by them one time, but other years have been bothered a lot.
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Re:

Postby bkbaugh » Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:18 pm

46and2 wrote:I second the Red Castle option albeit with a slight change. If you want a loop hike that lasts 4-5 nights might I recommend:

o Start at East Fork Blacks Fork TH
o Take Bald Mountain Trail (11.6k feet) over to Red Castle (in Smiths Fork) -- camp 1
o Head over Smiths Fork Pass and Tungsten Pass to North Star Lake -- camp 2
o Go west over Porcupine Pass (12.3k feet?) , through Oweep Basin to Lake Fork -- camp 3
o Up and over 12k foot Red Knob Pass to Deadhorse Lake -- camp 4
o Back over Red Knob pass into East Fork Blacks Fork -- camp 5
o Walk ~8 miles back to your car.

I've been to all these places but on three separate trips. The scenery is nothing short of biblical! Deadhorse Lake is the prettiest place in the range... imho.



I wanted to thank you all for your suggestions on this loop hike. Me and a buddy, both relatively novice backpackers, followed the advice of this thread and did the above loop with a small modification. Here's a trip report.

Sunday 7/10/17: Arrived at East Fork Blacks Fork TH in the evening (parking as far to the Southwest as possible to make it easier on our last day of the loop). We put in 4 hard miles hiking up bald mountain and camp at a beautiful meadow in a couple hours. Pitched a tent at dusk. Slept well. Total mileage: 4 miles.

Monday 7/11/17: Hiked to Red Castle Lake and had the time of our lives fishing. Got rained and hailed on real hard. Hunkered down and waited for sun to come out. Caught 10 fish between the two of us, the largest about 14". We must have seen hundreds, close to the waterfall. The hike from Lower Red Castle to Upper Red Castle was deceptively difficult. After cooking the fish near there, we headed down to Lower Red Castle Lake to set up camp for the night. Mosquitoes were worse here than they were at any other place on our entire trip. Horrible. If it had been like this the whole time our trip would have been much less enjoyable. Luckily, this was pretty much the only place on the trip where it was so bad. Total mileage: 9 miles.

Tuesday 7/12/17: Over Smiths Forks Pass and Porcupine Pass. Like clockwork, around 12-1pm we got dumped on with rain/hail. We tried to seek shelter but got pretty wet. We actually ran into a group of 3 hikers who we had seen camping at Lower Red Castle Lake. Rather than taking the long detour which we had done, they saved some serious mileage by going directly over the pass at Upper Red Castle Lake. They told us they found about this trail in some guidebook and that it was a reasonably good trail to follow. It must have saved them 5 miles of hiking relative to what we did. This is probably my one regret this trip. We had contemplated doing this ourselves, but were intimidated by the looks of the pass when we were fishing at Red Castle Lake and figured we'd be faster going around and sticking to trails. We ended up camping in the valley to the west of Porcupine Pass, which was my favorite campsite the entire trip. Just gorgeous. Total mileage: 17 miles.

Wednesday 7/13/17: We initially planned to camp at dead horse lake on Wednesday, then finish the trip on Thursday. We started off the day at a good pace, but the walk up Red Knob Pass was a bit taxing. We must have hit the top of the pass around noon. The view from here was spectacular. We had a decision to make. Go down several miles, lose a ton of elevation, camp out at Dead Horse Lake, then come back to the same point to finish the loop. Or we could cut off the detour and make it back to the car. We were pretty torn, but we decided to just head back to the car that night. So we headed down East Fork Blacks Fork trail. Once in the valley, we lost the trail, which wasn't a big deal because it was easy to walk through. But eventually when we descended into the treeline, losing the trail proved to be problematic. We stumbled our way down over the next few hours to reach the river down below. Unfortunately, when we reached the river at the bottom of the valley, we found ourselves in a marsh land. And we still had a good 6 miles left to the car. We walked for miles through the marsh without finding the trail (probably 4), and eventually found it. It was poorly maintained with fallen trees and many river crossings. Our feet were pretty wet but the promise of a warm bed and a Costa Vida burrito kept our spirits high. We reached the car at around 6pm. These were the hardest miles we had on the trip due to losing the trail + marshy conditions. Had we done the loop in this direction, we probably would have quit rather than continue on; it was that bad. Total mileage: 21 miles.

Total trip distance 51 miles over 3.25 days.

Link to route here: https://caltopo.com/m/121B

If I were to do it again, I'd probably take the shortcut over Upper Red Castle Lake, which would have freed up time to go to Dead Horse Lake.

Gear recommendations: $30 Costco Cascade Tech Carbon Fiber Hiking poles were a life saver. Rain coat that wasn't waterproof was a mistake. I brought 3x as much food as was required, which was a rookie mistake. We both hiked in running shoes, which worked out fine.
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