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Ascent of Big Thunder Peak on 2017-06-24

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, June 24, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Thunder Peak
    Location:USA-Minnesota
    Elevation:1752 ft / 534 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was able to drive to within .5 miles of the summit of Big Thunder Peak, but the approach here involved some serious bushwhacking with vegetation well above my waist, so I searched a bit longer and found an access point for ATV trails at 47.12210 N 93.66016 W. From here I was .76 air miles from the summit, but I had the advantage of overgrown ATV trails. The going was slow, however, and I encounter several other trails during my climb. I lost count of how many different routes I followed during my attempt to avoid the tall vegetation and downed trees, but after a struggle of about 40 minutes I reached the summit. A few hundred feet before my goal, I intersected a much better road good enough for a vehicle and my last few minutes of hiking were much more pleasant. I was surprised to find a grill and picnic table at the summit, but it is a long way to haul meat to BBQ! Beside the picnic table is a mound that ascends about a dozen feet, but it looked man-made. A slight view to the north is available, but I did not see any evidence of the old ski lift that used to operate here. A short distance to the east before the picnic table is a ridge on the south side of the road. It's possible that the highest natural point on Big Thunder Peak is located there. It's an easy ridge to climb, so you can be guaranteed of reaching the true Itasca County highpoint. I followed the good road I discovered near the summit and followed it until it began heading in the wrong direction, so I was back to bushwhacking on overgrown ATV trails and reached my car after a total descent of 1.3 miles in 39 minutes. Do not attempt this highpoint unless you have great navigational skills or own a GPS and know how to use it!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack



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