Ascent of Hogback Mountain on 2010-08-03

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hogback Mountain
    Elevation:5062 ft / 1542 m

Ascent Trip Report

On NE-71, 2 miles S of the Scotts Bluff county line or 2 miles N of the junction with NE-88, I turned W on county road 40. After 1.0 mile, the road ended at a house. I knocked on the door, and a fellow answered. I introduced myself and asked him what was the best way to climb Hogback Mtn (which was behind the house). He said he'd been hiking and hunting all around up there, he wasn't sure which peak was the highest, but that I'd be welcome to see for myself. He said he didn't own the property; he was just a renter, but he was sure it would be OK with the owner. He introduced himself as Richard Archer, and the owner's name (IIRC) was Henderson. It was late in the day, and I didn't have time to make the climb before dark, but we agreed I would return the next morning for the climb.

After crashing for the night off the highway a few miles away, I returned the next morning and parked near the house. I hopped a couple of fences by some cow corrals and headed up the grassy hillside, using occasional two-tracks and drive lines. I climbed the ridge near the center of section 31 and soon reached the summit of Wildcat Mtn, which has a small weather station on the summit. I then descended NW, then climbed W, an additional mile across grass to the summit ridge of Hogback. The final push to the summit ridge involved scrambling over a few limestone outcrops.

Six 5060+ areas serve as candidates for the highest ground. I shall call these #1 through #4, in order from W to E along the summit ridge that includes point 5062; #5 is a butte about 800' NNW of #4, and #6 is about 1200' NW of #5. By that designation, point 5062 is in area #3. By a series of sightings between the peaks, I was able to narrow down the possibilities as to which is highest. From all 4 points on the ridge, #6 appeared higher than #5, thus eliminating #5 from contention. From #2 and #3, #5 appeared below the distant horizon, whereas from #1 and #4, #5 appeared above the horizon. This implies that #2 and #3 are higher than #1 and #4, thereby eliminating #1 and #4 from contention. Backsighting confirms this: from #5 and #6, #2 and #3 appear higher than #1 and #4. I therefore conclude that the highest point on Hogback Mtn must be #2, #3, or #6.

A small plastic bottle register placed by Andy Martin was found on #1.

I descended via the E ridge of #6. I tried to stay on the crest of the ridge, but I wasn't aggressive enough in doing so, and eventually I was forced to drop down into the gully to its S. The brushy gully provided more difficult travel than the open grassy ridge; future climbers on Hogback should take extra care to stay on the ridge and not be forced into the gully.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:772 ft / 235 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Trailhead:County Rd 40  4370 ft / 1331 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 

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