Ascent of Mount Whittlesey on 2014-07-31

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Artski
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, July 31, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Motorcycle
Peak:Mount Whittlesey
    Elevation:1872 ft / 570 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mt. Whittlesey was the last county highpoint for me to complete Wisconsin! I had saved it for last because it looked straightforward, like it was a good place to celebrate, and because it looked like a good hike. Hiking was the whole reason I got into highpointing, definitely not for the drive-ups. Artski and I rode down P to Lake Drive and realized we went too far. We turned around and went back north to a dirt road that headed SE along Devil's Creek. I parked at the base of the road because I wanted the full vertical, but Artski parked a little ways up. This road would have been drivable in a car or on our motorcycles, but that would take away from the great hike. We followed the dirt and rock road up the northern flank of the big mound that is Mount Whittlesey. There were mosquitoes out but we did use bug spray. Eventually the road flattened out and had an intersection with a few trail options. We went NE on the most well traveled one which quickly turned SE like we wanted it to, following the topo track. The trail then went down and by an old concrete building from a mine. This is the mine ruins that the map shows. A bit eerie, but pretty cool. There was a lot of standing water around it so we didn't check it out up close. It was also getting late in the day. The trail then turned back uphill and there was one turn off for a rocky lookout point. Worth walking out onto. The views were great, but we couldn't see terribly far because of the haze from Canadian wildfires. From the lookout, the fire tower is close. We didn't, however, look for the benchmark yet because we wanted the far point first and to save state completion for the benchmark. The road split in two, but both sides headed east and rejoined before dropping steeply down to another flat area. There were mountain bike tracks in the dirt. In the big clearing we didn't know which way to go because the topo didn't show where the new logging roads ended up. I used the compass and the GPS receiver to help up bee line through the marshy, hummocky, brush. We picked up a few faint logging roads, but none went to where we needed to go exactly. After maybe ten or fifteen minutes we found a good logging trail going N-S. We didn't take it, but kept on our bearing. We made it to the top which turned out to be a log staging area and had been bulldozed to make a large clearing. We walked around and stepped on bulldozed piles and rocks that appeared to be in the original places. It was hard to say what was the natural highpoint, but our rambling covered our bases. To go back to the fire tower we followed the good logging road, and sure enough it became the N-S road and then turned west and took us back to the clearing to the east of the fire tower mound right where we started to bushwhack. Future hikers can just take this as it is much easier than bushwhacking. We then regained the top on the smaller woods trail and found a witness marker just to the east of the fire tower. It had been moved and wasn't pointing exactly the right way. The benchmark MELLEN was right under the fire tower's center and looked to be the highest ground. We took our pictures and I got my Wisconsin flag out. We then climbed the tower to get a good view. It was oddly quiet at the top with no wind. The sun still had a couple hours to go in the sky and the birds were singing down in the forest like they were right next to us. We couldn't quite see the lake because of the haze. Artski pointed towards Montana and said that's what's next. It's true that this could be my last stint as a Wisconsin resident and the end of not only a chapter, but a volume of my life. Also, we'll be trying for Montana's state highpoint in mid August after a year of anticipation. It was great to spend some time on top with Artski after seven years of highpointing Wisconsin. I had help from many, but him especially. We thought back to our first Wisconsin cohp which was Timms Hill seven years back. We ran up the observation tower there and took a ten seconds glace around before retreating to the car at full chat before we could get struck by lightning in the onset of one of the most violent storms of that year. Mt. Whittlesey, what a great way to end the journey.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:882 ft / 268 m
    Total Elevation Loss:882 ft / 267 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:847 ft / 258 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 552 ft / 168 m; Extra: 295 ft / 89m
    Loss on way in:295 ft / 89 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Start Trailhead:Devil's Creek Road  1320 ft / 402 m
    Time:1 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:587 ft / 178 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 552 ft / 168 m; Extra: 35 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:35 ft / 10 m
    Distance:1.3 mi / 2 km
    End Trailhead:Devil's Creek Road  1320 ft / 402 m
    Time:40 Minutes

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