Ascent of Crooks Tower on 2004-05-21

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, May 21, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crooks Tower
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:7137 ft / 2175 m

Ascent Trip Report

Crooks Tower is a small set of rocky spires, grouped close by one another, and accessible via vehicle from their backside, which is the way I approached. A sketchy forest road leaves the main road and climbs to these knobs. A storm from today had soaked all the roads but traction was good, until it immediately became slick, so not wanting to chance anything, I parked and walked to the highpoint areas. I had actually driven to near the Crooks Tower hills, on (supposedly) the highest street-legal road in South Dakota. The hike to the top went quickly, and I visited two hilltops of near-equal height. This journey took just a few minutes and wasn't very interesting, but the views down into the meadows and forest below were lovely.

A third area is about one mile southwest along the main road. Normally I'd have driven the road and then walked out into the forest to visit the last area. However, this road had also become a muddy mess. I was able to drive down from the first two areas but I did a lot of slipping and sliding and spinning of wheels to do it. I decided not to chance fate and parked, meaning I'd have to walk.

I walked beside the road south and west, trying to find a path of least resistance, but often forced onto the road by brush. Finally, I was at a point east of the last area. I entered the forest and walked about 3/10 of a mile. The ground continued to rise ever so consistently, so I went pretty far, almost to the far west edge of the contour area, to be sure I found the highest area. Hail balls from the storm were still in the grass, looking like patches of snow.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Trailhead:7087 ft / 2160 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country

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