Trip Report: The 34th KPT

The 34th KPT
By Larry Swanson
SKI 03/31/2007 MSD

Mother nature to the rescue!
In late February Alexis Kelner and Larry skied in the Henry's Fork to check on snow conditions. There was lots of snow, more than usual, but the trail breaking was difficult, with sinking to the knee in many places. They didn't get far. In came the cavalry, "Team Uinta" (Dimitry Pruess, Rob Rogalski, Judy Zachary, Mike Berry, and John Marks) with the power of young legs and enthusiasm to match. They fought through to Elkhorn Crossing in a long day. Later in March, Larry, Alexis, and Judy skied in again and discovered that "Wasatch Warming" was rapidly taking its toll. Things were starting to look tough. Snow bridges were sinking and sunny sections were bare. On Monday, before the KPT, Steve Swanson, Larry, Alexis, Milt Hollander, and Dave Hanscom gave it one last concerted effort with the idea that it might be necessary to go to the summer trail (which also had long bare sections), if the forecast storm didn't materialize. The meadows above Elkhorn were 50% bare which is a first in the long history of the KPT.
The snows did come, however, with 10 inches and more of a perfect base and trail breaking conditions. I skied right to Gunsight Pass which is not often possible. The sun was out and a light breeze kept the snow just right. The wind was fairly strong(!)on Gunsight but slacked off the higher one went and was mostly calm on the summit. Folks were up there early. The track out was so good that coasting from Gunsight to the car in 3 hours was possible. All in all, we had the best conditions in years. As usual, there was a nice mixture of regulars and new folks for a total of 24. If this event were a university, some would be well into tenure by this time.
Larry Swanson