Peak(s):  Powell A, Mt  -  13,580 feet
Date Posted:  09/05/2019
Modified:  06/16/2020
Date Climbed:   08/24/2019
Author:  Kitten
Additional Members:   Mountain Mike
 Return to Mt. Powell   

  • Trailhead: Piney Lake Ranch (9,400 feet)
  • Distance: 12 miles (gps recording)
  • Elevation at camp: 9,750 feet
  • Elevation gain from camp: 4,300 feet
  • Time (one way): 1.5 h to camp + 4.5 h to summit

I quit writing trip reports mainly because there are so many… but when I come across a peak where there are less than 20 reports and/or the route is not well described, then I feel an urge to do so.

We attempted this peak about 5 years ago and even with descriptions of the route from the Dziezynski book we could not it figure out, plus the weather did not cooperate either. I have read some of the trip reports on this route, but couldn’t find much beta or detailed descriptions. Peaks are lumped together or reports are somewhere else on another website… So, I hope this will add some important info and pictures on the route followed.

I would divide the route in 4 parts:

  • Piney Lake to split of trails (9,700 feet)
  • Up to the basin (at 11,100 feet)
  • Up to Kneeknocker pass (12,200 feet)
  • Down and up the gulley that goes to the summit (13,534 feet)

So, here we go:

We camped the night before just before the split of the trails, this saves 3 miles each way, we figured out it would be easier the next day.

This is the key picture of the split of the trails, the one on the right goes to the upper Piney Lake and the one on the left goes to Mt. Powell summit. The route description on the Dziezynski book shows two trees, could not figure out which ones, there are so many! In fact in that same area there are a maze of trails because of the waterfalls and all the day-hikers that visit them. So, this shows the most recent one:

Split of the trails, left goes to Mt. Powell, right goes to upper Piney Lake

From here on, the trail is really good and it is difficult to lose it. It is steep though!

Through the trees

At 11,100 feet you come up to a beautiful basin:

Upper basin

Flowers still blooming:


From here you can see the route up to Kneeknocker saddle (there is a trail all the way up).

Kneeknocker saddle

Looking back at the basin and Piney Lake in the distance:

Looking back from Kneeknocker

From the saddle at 12,200 feet you can barely see the summit. Here it got tricky as we had to descend a steep area that was holding some snow. But we managed to find a path through, just next to the rocks. Microspikes would have been nice to have, but the snow bank looked really steep.

East side of Kneeknocker saddle

There was another section with snow. Again, there was a path through it. Looking back:


This family wanted us to follow them, mmmh not there... but after a goat glissade (yes, we witnessed that!), they were the ones following us all the way to the summit though, pretty cool! And no, they were not interested in our urine, just some company :-) It gets lonely up there...


After descending about 100 feet we crossed a snow field. This one was not so steep so it was easy to cross without spikes.


A look at the gulley that goes all the way to the summit. We stayed to the left on grassy slopes.


Nice view of Peak C and the saddle:

Peak C

Finally the summit in view, and another snow patch to cross.


Last part on boulders!


And the summit!


Same route going back, a bit faster, but still slow because it gets really steep and scree walking is still slow, so make sure you allow enough time for this peak, especially if done in one day. Take into account that it is 12 miles round trip as noticed by others here, not 10.2 miles as described in the above mentioned book.

Oh, and there is a reason why the name Kneeknocker saddle, our knees were hurting when we got back to camp!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments or Questions
Awesome report!
09/06/2019 09:18
Thank you for the report!. I am going to attempt Powell soon. I was wondering if when the trail splits and you take a left, from there to the saddle the trail is visible, overgrown, dead tress or hard/easy to find.


09/06/2019 09:58
Hi Teresa, we found the trail to be quite visible all the way to the upper basin, except for one little stretch where it goes around a big rock. I remember only one dead tree blocking the trail. There is also an area with lots of willows, but the trail is still visible if you look carefully.

Thanks for the report!
06/22/2020 20:20
When I do this one, I hope to see a goat glissade too! Nice report!


Goats rock!
11/23/2020 15:43
Very cool wildlife sighting! Nice TR, I will certainly use the beta to help when I attempt this some day. Looked like an awesome hike! Beautiful wilderness!

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