Ascent of Taylor County High Point on 2007-01-14

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Sunday, January 14, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Taylor County High Point
    Elevation:1840 ft / 560 m

Ascent Trip Report

I awoke around 6:30am and packed the few things I had brought in from the car. The motel had a simple breakfast bar that included coffee, juices, waffles, toast, bagels, and cold cereal. I grabbed a cup of OJ and drank it down. I got a second cup because the first was icy cold and refreshing. A few others were there at the time. After waiting for the waffle iron, my turn finally came, and I poured the batter onto the automatic grill. 3 minutes later, I had a warm, toasty waffle ready to eat. I sat down and ate my waffle and remaining OJ.

Seeing the bagels, I grabbed a couple for later in the day in case I got hungry before I could get lunch. I also took a cup of apple juice. About 7:30am, I was on my way out of the motel. I stopped across the street to fill up my gas tank, and I checked the oil as well. Oil was down a bit, so I bought a quart and brought the level back up as appropriate.

Inside the gas station, I thought I had found a gold mine. I had found a 5-pack of mechanical pencils! Until now, I had attempted to use various pens to make my journal notes. The coldness of the temperature had rendered each pen virtually useless, and getting a solid ink flow was not going to happen. But pencils, I found, worked great! The 5-pack allowed me to take a couple with me and leave some others in the car at all times. This find certainly ranked as one of the utility highlights of the trip – right up there with the clothing sales at Gander Mountain!

I left the gas station still engulfed in darkness, and I paused to take a couple pictures of the fully-lit Granite Slopes Ski area on Rib Mountain. I was on my way to the next high point. I did not know what weather conditions I would encounter today. I had not heard any weather reports since I arrived in Wausau.

About 70 miles and 1 ½ hours later, I arrived in Rib Lake, WI. Daylight had arrived about an hour ago, and I was able to clearly see my way towards the James Lake ski lift. I was following directions I found in a CoHP trip report, and the directions so far had been right on.

All roads were clear until I got onto the Rustic Road that wove around James Lake. Though not totally clear, that road had at least been sanded to make it passable. I had no trouble winding around the lake area and reaching the ski lift road.

When I reached the ski lift road, I made a sharp right turn – perhaps 315 degrees from the direction I had been traveling. There, I encountered a steep road that led up to the ski lift station. Unfortunately, I had not seen the icy conditions that covered the road before I made the turn. I started up the hill, but the slope was too great, and my car slipped backwards – and into a snow bank that captured my right rear tire. I was stuck!

Fortunately, this was just a minor stick. I had my trusty snow shovel that was packed in as part of my contingency/emergency supplies. In about 10 minutes, I sat the shovel aside. I had cleared snow and pushed my car free. Now I could concentrate on the summit.

I took an altimeter reading at the car and began climbing the icy incline on foot. A brief ¼ mile and 5 minutes later brought me to the summit area. I looked around the ski lift station area and noted that the high ground was a mound of dirt located behind the lift station. I climbed the mound and proclaimed the summit “bagged”!

I took a few pictures and was back down at the car in another 10 minutes. Based on the 20-ft contour topo map I had with me, the summit was at 1840+ ft. My car was located around 1768ft, making the elevation gain for this trip 72ft. I drove away, not yet aware that I had left the snow shovel on the side of the road!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:72 ft / 21 m
    Route:Road to summit
    Trailhead:Road to James Lake Ski Lift  1768 ft / 538 m
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear

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