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Ascent of Taum Sauk Mountain on 2010-10-03

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Sunday, October 3, 2010
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

StHP – IRON COUNTY, MISSOURI
1772 ft.
Taum Sauk Mountain

Sunday, 10/3/2010

After completing Pruitt Mountain in Washington County, I set my GPS for a short drive to the nearby state HP, Taum Sauk Mountain. Iron County is one of the most unique counties I have had the pleasure to visit, but for reasons other than its HP pleasures. Affectionately known by me as “the boomerang county” due to a shape that roughly approximates the Australian tool/toy, Iron County was the first new state HP I would obtain on this trip. My goal for the entire trip was six new state HPs.

The drive to the state park was uneventful, and I arrived with no particular complications. I followed the winding drive to the official HP parking lot and my first stop. There were 4-5 other cars in the lot when I arrived around 1:00pm. I noted that one car had a flat tire, so I was not sure if its occupants were present in the park. People were seen coming and going from other cars, and I spoke to one family about their visit to the summit.

I immediately noted how flat the summit area was, consistent with the large area shown on the topo map. The western edge of the lot was graced with a large, metal gazebo-like structure (for lack of a better term), and a stone marker in front proclaimed “Taum Sauk State Park”. To the right of this structure was a cemented path, wide and easily accessible to visitors of all ability. The path led into the woods, and it soon passed an information building. The building had maps and all kinds of other hand-outs, and I picked up a copy of the Ozark Trail – Taum Sauk Section map.

The path continued to wind through the woods, passing the nicely developed trail to Mina Sauk Falls, for about 0.3mi. to its terminus at the HP summit area. This was one of the flattest approaches to any HP I have visited. In the total round trip of 0.65mi., gain was estimated to be a mere 25ft. I took several photos of the HP area. There was a bench for sitting, a register for signing, a large boulder that marked the official HP, and a nice square granite marker on the ground in front of the boulder. The marker had the state of Missouri etched into its face, with text proclaiming that engineering had identified this as the highest point in Missouri.

After a brief time at the summit, I returned to my truck after opting not to make the estimated 3-mile round trip to view the falls. Trip statistics: Time = 28 minutes from truck to summit and back; Distance = 0.65mi for the round trip; Elevation gain = 25ft total gain

I returned down the mountain, and I made a brief stop at a nicely designed pull-out that gave views of the nearby mountains. Back in the truck, I continued on to the observation tower. I climbed the tower, but the top was locked shut and not accessible to tourists. But the views from this level were still wide open for 360 degrees, so I snapped some photos before returning to the solid ground below.

I wandered around the tower area, both the immediate vicinity and in the area to the west where the contour #2 was found. There was a gate crossing the road a short distance west of the tower, so I parked and walked through the gate west down the road. When I was satisfied I had visited the area of the U-shaped contour #2, I returned to my truck and drove away.

In my opinion, there is no need to visit area #2 to claim Taum Sauk Mountain. The nice engineering plaque proclaiming the state HP says that engineers found this was the HP of the state, and who am I to disagree with the professionals? With roads going to contour #2, it would not have been difficult to develop the HP area there if engineering had found that area to be higher. If you must visit the area, add perhaps another 0.4mi and 15 minutes to your journey. I did not log these as part of my official trip stats for this HP.

I had hoped to visit the Jack Longacre gravesite which my understanding was in the Taum Sauk area. But I did not have definite directions to its location, and I did not find it by accident. So that visit will have to wait for a future trip to the area.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:26 ft / 8 m
    Extra Gain:7 ft / 2 m
    Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:Maintained trail from parking lot
    Trailhead:Trail next to gazebo-like building  1760 ft / 536 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:14 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:14 Minutes



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