Ascent of Bent County High Point on 2002-05-30

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Thursday, May 30, 2002
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bent County High Point
    Elevation:4855 ft / 1479 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was heading west on US-160, then state route CO-109 into the Purgatoire River Valley. The country here was gorgeous, with high-walled mesas lining the valley. The highest point in Bent County is on the San Jose Ranch in the southwest corner of the county. I called the ranch phone number for permission but got no response. I parked along the highway alongside a fence and started the hike.

Hopping the fence, I crossed a pasture, then steeply up the slopes onto the top of this mesa. Brush was moderate and slightly heavy in spots. The day was warm, and snakes were a concern, but I saw none. On top the mesa, I hiked by sight across a narrow neck to get myself onto the higher northern lobe of the mesa, on which the elusive highpoint stood, somewhere. Now to find it.

The brush and trees were enough to shield the views, so I spent awhile walking from one rock mound to another, always scanning the area to see if anything looked higher. The formations up here are very pretty. I eventually tagged about four or five points and felt I gave the highpoint a good once-over. I didn't want to lollygag, so I started down as soon as possible. I was back to my truck in an hour, and on my way.

I learned later that the ranch owner apparently issued a blanket denial to all requests to hike this mesa. He had allowed some visitation but grew weary of the requests. I think this ban was in place when I was there. Not that I tried to be sneaky. I called them a couple times (no answer) and parked my truck along the highway in plain sight. I assumed things were cool so I went in. No one bothered me and it was a few months later that I learned of this new policy against hiking here.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:350 ft / 106 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Trailhead:4505 ft / 1373 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble

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