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.
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.
Getting into the bigger boulders.
Closing in on the upper cliff band.
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)
Getting set to leave the saddle. (Photo by Shari Richins)
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.
The final scramble up the summit. (Photo by Tina Crowder)
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 - Westward
Approaching the false summit.
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.