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Ascent of Taum Sauk Mountain on 1992-03-12

Climber: Greg Slayden

Date:Thursday, March 12, 1992
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Taum Sauk Mountain
    Location:USA-Missouri
    Elevation:1772 ft / 540 m

Ascent Trip Report

I finally came out to MO 21-72 in Pilot Knob, and went south a ways and finally turned up the dead-end road that led up Taum Sauk Mountain, the 1,772 foot high point of the Show-Me state. It was very cloudy and the intense snow flurries were almost producing real snow, but the road was fine as it steeply wound uphill to a parking lot near a cabin and a fire tower. There was a car there, but I saw no one in the early morning snowstorm, so I parked and then prepared for a short hike to the mathematical high point, which my guidebook by Paul Zumwalt gave directions to. Apparently Zumwalt, a surveyor, had spray painted a non-descript rock he had determined to be the highest on the flat, forested plateau, about half a mile from the parking lot.

I followed a dirt track past a pond, a clearing, a radio tower, and a run-down house where one was supposed to get permission to cross private land, but it looked like no one was home--the place was a dump. The track then crossed a barbed wire fence line into a forested area, and some tentative explorations off to the left of the track soon allowed me to see a sign on a tree. Underneath the sign was the Zumwalt rock, virtually all of the spray paint washed away, but still recognizable from the photo in the book. I had gained high point #45.

I rested here as it flurried snow around me, still not sticking to the ground, and took my standard set of summit pictures. I noticed a brass plaque attached to a tree above the simple high point sign--it had been left by some couple on a high-point tour as a super-fancy "We were here" graffiti. I was annoyed by this ostentatious display ("Gee, were so great going to all the highpoints that we are going to affix pre-engraved brass plaques with our names on them at each one"), but the plaque was put up too high for me to take down, even with a tree branch as a tool.

I returned the very flat half-mile to my car easily, and back at the parking lot I climbed the fire tower during the absolute fiercest part of the windy snow flurries--if the snow had been accumulating at all I would have called it a blizzard, but it wasn't. There wasn't much of a view because of the heavy clouds. I then picked up some good maps of the area from a brochure rack on a state park sign, and left Taum Sauk Mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:13 ft / 4 m
    Trailhead:1759 ft / 536 m
    Grade/Class:1
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Windy, White-out



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