Ascent of Hamburg Mountains High Point on 2011-08-22

Climber: Michael Schwartz

Date:Monday, August 22, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hamburg Mountains High Point
    Location:USA-New Jersey
    Elevation:1495 ft / 455 m

Ascent Trip Report

This updates my 2004 report.

Date: August 22, 2011

I guided Edward Earl to the six Passaic County NJ highpoints and the two areas in the Hamburg Mountains located in Sussex County that vie with HIgh Point as the NJ state prominence leader(s).

Of interest to county highpointers, pipeline construction from the trailhead and alongside the initial steep climb at the edge of the pipeline swath continues apace. During the early stages of construction, there had been signs officially closing the trail, but they are long gone, and there seems to be no problem hiking along the right (S) side of the swath as you head uphill. Conditions along the trails, the short bushwhacks, and at the highpoints are unchanged from those reported on the COHP website.

Edward brought along his famous hose level, and we used it to determine relative elevations of the northern and western points of the three-area cluster SW of Terrace Pond. To my surprise, the western point proved to be 1.5-2 feet higher than the northern point. There is absolutely no hint of a sight line between the two points, and it was gratifying to watch the water in the hose tell us the truth.

We then drove to the Hamburg Mountains and visited the two candidate knobs.

These two points are located on the Hamburg quad and on pages 19/20 of the NJ Delorme.

Knob 1480'+ N 41.15769 X W 74.52217
Knob 1495'+ N 41.15237 X W 74.51396

Starting from the northern junction of NJ 23 and CR 517, go north on CR 517 for 1.6 miles. Turn right (E) onto Sand Pond Road, and drive 1.2
miles on the progressively rougher, but passable to passenger cars, road to a substantial parking area on slab rock on the right, just before a posted gate. The gate is at the fork of two track roads shown on the topo just west of Lake Wildwood.

The lake and surrounding developments are private property, but the road to the north, taken from the fork just beyond the gate, is at the edge of a state wildlife management area, whose signs can occasionally be seen in the woods just north of the road. Follow the road to a fork (not shown on the map) due south of the westernmost 1480+ ft. knob, then head NE on a fainter woods road/path not shown on the topo. When the mood strikes, bushwhack left up the obvious knob to a flat summit. From there, bushwhack ESE to spot elevation 1476', picking up a newly cut path to a baited hunting clearing at the summit, where we spotted a black bear sow and two cubs. Next bushwhack SSE to spot elevation 1495', the second prominence point. Distance between each of the knobs is about 1/3 mile, and the bushwhacking through open woods is easy. The summit boulder on s.e. 1495' is marked by a large cairn, and considering the larger size of the summit contour compared to knob 1480+, is probably the higher. To return, drop into the saddle between s.e. 1476 and 1495, take the woods road left and downhill until it deteriorates into swampy ground and turns sharply left, then bushwhack WNW along the base of the 1476' knob until you pick up a woods road heading west back toward the lake. Soon the lake comes into view, and you will drop down along the NW shore and pick up the road leading back to the parking area. The entire circuit should take about 1 1/2 hours.

There are generic postings as you hike from knob to knob, and apparently private property and the wildlife management area intermingle. On three visits, I've only seen a couple of cars, and was greeted by friendly waves both times. Check out the dates for NJ deer hunting season before hiking this area in winter.

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