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Ascent of Brown Mountain on 2011-05-16

Climber: Ryan Aschbrenner

Date:Monday, May 16, 2011
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Brown Mountain
    Location:USA-Missouri
    Elevation:1200 ft / 365 m

Ascent Trip Report

This one was a total bust.

I was in Missouri for a few days with my wife (her home state), and I decided to take a day to myself to run amok. I first tried visiting Stono Mountain, which is about the same elevation as Brown Mountain. I approached from the east on Hwy. NN, and was met with a gate when I turned into Stono Tower Road. The Missouri Conservation Department posted a sign warning that the road was closed to unauthorized vehicles, but there was also a more troubling sign posted by Ameren (a gas and electric company) saying that unauthorized access was forbidden. The sign had a phone number for the Ameren help desk, so I decided to do the right thing and call the number. After being on hold for a few minutes, I spoke with someone, who put me on hold for ten minutes while he contacted the appropriate authorities regarding permission. When he finally got back to me, he said that no one was allowed entry without an Ameren escort.

I next tried to visit Brown Mountain. I approached from the west along North Lakeshore Drive, passing along the shore of Iron Mountain Lake, which was beautiful on this sunny day. I parked near the end of North Lakeshore Drive, and continued on foot along Arcadia Drive (following the directions posted by Bob Schwab). This is very much a 4WD road, and I walked for just a few minutes before encountering a gate with three signs: a red octagonal stop sign, a "Posted: No Trespassing" sign, and a sign warning that firearms were strictly forbidden, even for those with some special permit.

I researched Brown Mountain last week, and I don't think Richard Oestreicher's recent trip report was up yet, but apparently he had a chance meeting with a landowner who gave permission to enter, and didn't have a problem with others doing the same. However, even if I had read that report, I'm not sure if I would have continued from this point. I don't know if Richard approached along the same route that I did, and plus if I crossed the gate and had a hostile encounter with a landowner, it would have been tough to explain. People don't build gates and put up multiple menacing signs if they aren't serious about keeping people off their land.

These peaks weren't in the cards for me today. I'd say that if you want to attempt them, then hopefully you'll have better luck getting permission, or enter at your own risk.

As a consolation, I stopped by the nearby Elephant Rocks State Park, and had the entire place to myself. Kind of eerie. I recommend that place, as you'll see dozens of massive, elephant-sized boulders scattered about a hilltop. Nice views, too.

Next, on to Taum Sauk, the state high point.
Summary Total Data
    Weather:Pleasant, Clear



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