Ascent of Highwood Baldy on 2012-10-20

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, October 20, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Highwood Baldy
    Elevation:7670 ft / 2337 m

Ascent Trip Report

When I got to the left turn off of Pinewood Lane there was a barbed wire fence across the access road. The signs on the other side said that it was a national forest access road that goes through private property. In front of those signs was a no trespassing sign. I wasn't sure what to do so I went to the next house east on Pinewood and talked to the man there. He said that the road is still allowable for use, just make sure to close all of the gates that you opened once you've passed through. He also claimed that Highwood was a "good hike" from the final permanently closed gate on the road to the top.

After passing through the gate, the dirt road became very windy and exciting. Some parts were rocky, others had big mud puddles, and some parts were deeply rutted. There are many steep water bars as well, but a standard Subaru can make it without scraping. I also drove across the Middle Fork of the Little Belt Creek, but on this occasion it was only a couple inches deep. The road on the far side is initially very steep. Eventually I came to a switchback with an obvious parking place full of cowpies just below the locked gate.

The hike was extremely straightforward as I just followed the road up the mountain. The wind was gusting up to 60mph according to NOAA, so the open bits were sometimes unpleasant. I also encountered seven grouse. Near the top there were a few snow patches and even one that had been driven through by someone on the road right at the top. The equipment on top is for a Bresnan microwave tower. The highest boulder juts out of the ground maybe ten feet north of the building. I didn't find a register. I enjoyed the views of eleven or more mountain ranges that I could see in every direction.

I went back the way I came and strangely, I saw a Jeep driving up the road as I was getting into my car. It parked, but I'm guessing the bright orange cowboy hat indicated a hunter rather than a highpointer.

It took me 65 minutes up and 50 minutes to come down. I kind of power walked it.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Highwood Baldy from Willow Creek Road to the southwest (2012-10-20). Photo by Gustav Sexauer.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1910 ft / 582 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:4WD Trail
    Trailhead:5760 ft / 1755 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Cool, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:50 Minutes

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