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Ascent of Hogback Mountain on 2017-02-18

Climber: Dave Covill

Others in Party:Clare Comstock
Date:Saturday, February 18, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hogback Mountain
    Location:USA-Nebraska
    Elevation:5062 ft / 1542 m

Ascent Trip Report

We visited this area enroute to Panorama Point, the NE HP, later that afternoon. This is the NE Prom Point.

Previous Trip Reports are great and still valid. This is a very cool part of NE, an unexpected oasis. We began our hike at 10:25AM, driving up from Denver area. Arch was not at home, neighbors were in the yard fetching a huge roll of hay.

We set out on a loop hike, N side first, then main mesa top, and hit Wildcat Mtn on the way back down to the S side of the pasture. 6 miles, 1,200' of total gain or so, took us 3:15 to do it all, arriving back at the car at 1:40. We passed through a large metal gate just 100' NW of the house, our only gate. It keeps in the lovely black horses that Arch's landlord keeps on the ranch.

I forgot to bring a handlevel; bad me.... It would have been somewhat useful. From strategic points, one can see all 6 points from all other 6 points, EXCEPT point 1 from point 2. Too dense in the pines.

It did seem to me that the area is very seldom visited. We saw a lot of evidence of deer, some elk also. The only sign of humanity was atop Point 1, a large cairn of phonebook-sized rocks had been built there, perhaps a foot tall. Nothing on other points.

Point 5 has a caprock around it, the best access is a weakness on the SSE corner, Class 2+. All other points could be gained by sniffing around a bit for a Class 2 access way. Point 5 was small and felt like you had actually climbed something. Point 6 was larger, great views to the NE towards Scottsbluff. We followed a faint 4WD trace until we were within 200 yards of point 6. The main mesa, points 1-4, should be visited all along the ridge. You never gain or lose more than perhaps 15' it seemed. Difficult but possible to see from one area to the next. The loop hike worked great to visit all points.

On the way down we went out of our way to ascend Wildcat Mtn. Great views from it, obviously well lower than the Hogback Massif, as it were. Easy access from the W ridgeline from Hogback. Reasonable descent route off the E edge of it. We followed game trails eastward and stayed high until we were halfway to Peak 4,818', then cut down northward through trees to lower terrain, crossed our only fenceline there, and hit an old 4WD trail above the creek, which came and went as it made its way back eastward to the pasture area.

We gained Point 6 in 1:00 hours, and were leaving point 4 having already gone all the way to point 1 and back, at about the 2:20 mark. Adding in Wildcat Mtn will cost perhaps an extra 20-25 minutes I think; well worth it.

Arch was home when we got back, and waved to us as we were still 1/4 mile out. Interesting character. Perhaps younger than I had been led to believe, maybe 50 and change? He invited us in, we stayed for 20 min, and we gaped at his collection of pelts, skulls, antlers, snakeskins, etc. Clare called it a Man-Cave. Nice guy, lives off the grid completely except for electricity. He had lived in Golden CO for a long time, but many years ago. All visitors are welcome. We left a note on the dash for him, and he was fine with that.

Temps were very warm, in the 60's and pushing 70. Clear skies, snow on the ground only here & there in tiny patches in sheltered spots. Mileage and Gain are from my TOPO! software tracing the route, but concurred closely with Clare's cell phone GPS and DeLorme In-Reach device.

Why did we choose to come here? Because...

Dude - it was EPIC !
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1192 ft / 363 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2+ for point #
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1192 ft / 363 m
    Extra Loss:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:4370 ft / 1331 m
    Time Up:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics



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