Ascent of Meade County High Point on 2004-05-21

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, May 21, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Meade County High Point
    Location:USA-South Dakota
    Elevation:5460 ft / 1664 m

Ascent Trip Report

The weather so far today had been rainy and foggy, then clear and nice, but now, around noon, it was getting cloudy again, the big puffy kind that forms over the peaks, potential thunderstorms. I was eyeballing an unnamed peak, the highest point of Meade County.

The highpoint hill is not necessarily obvious. Other than its status as the Meade County highpoint, it doesn't do a whole lot to attract attention to itself. The access to this peak is along paved Forest Road-26 north of Nemo and accessible south out of Sturgis. I parked at a large pullout that is northeast of the peak and beside a stream. It was about 1 p.m. when I arrived, in weather that was mostly sunny but definitely getting more threatening.

From my vehicle, I descended the grassy banks off the highway, scooted under a fence and crossed the small stream. Climbing up the other side, I was met by a thick mesh of downed trees, grasses, doghair thickets and lots of undergrowth. Going mainly on instinct, I started up a ridge and mostly bashed my way up the steep slope until after 50 vertical feet, the forest became less thick, which was a relief. The gradient was still steep, but now navigation was easier.

The peak is crescent shaped, and the route I was following goes up one of its main ridges, a prominent northeast-southwest ridge. I stayed on the ridge crest whenever possible, and could see through the forest to my left the rounded cliff edges of the ridge. Shortly, the grade moderated and became flatter. I was near the top, but I had to make a right turn and walk west about 300 feet in very thick forest to cover the top sufficiently. I found a large tree with a pink surveyor's ribbon tied around it that seemed to indicate the top. It was an easy matter to cover the summit area for its potential highpoints. After a few minutes, I started back down. The hike down went fast, and I had no trouble with route-finding. Along the way I was treated to thundering booms and some lightning. A storm was building.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:800 ft / 244 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Trailhead:4660 ft / 1420 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack

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