Ascent of Hooker County High Point on 2015-10-06

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Dick Ellsworth
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Hooker County High Point
    Elevation:3800 ft / 1158 m

Ascent Trip Report

This highpoint was just as much of an adventure getting to as it was hiking it. We ate lunch in Mullen, then followed a single lane paved road, the first one I had ever been on outside of a small road in a park, from NE 97 to a ranch NE of the highpoint. It was first called Furrow Road and then called N Abel Road. No one was home, but seeing as we didn't know if they owned the summit anyway we went back to the road which was dirt at this point, and continued south to find the road to the windmill as described in previous reports. There was a small berm of sand on the side of the road which proved that no one had driven out there since the last time the road was graded. Dick had trouble even seeing where the two track left the road. I helped him find it, and we kind of safaried out past the windmill and the drinking pond and onward to a gate where Bob Schwab had parked years ago. The trick to finding the road mentioned by Schwab is to look for it from just before where the road goes from totally flat to over a small rise on the SW end of the valley with the windmill you are looking for. Anyway, when we got to the gate we opened it and kept going, cresting a steep hill where we had to make a quick change in course to avoid getting in to an eroded gully. If you have the time, I'd recommend just walking this part like Schwab did, especially if the weather is anything other than dry. We kept on this track until we made it to another windmill, this one NE of the highpoint. We turned south and parked were the ground once again rose from flat to becoming mounds.

We hiked south just a couple of minutes, then hiked west along a fenceline that led uphill toward the highpoint. It was pretty steep in spots, and I was careful to not get sand in my boots. We crossed over the fence to the south and then worked our way up to the top. The single highest spot was easy enough to find out of the various lumps. There was a piece of concrete off to the side of the top that was mostly buried in the sand. I wondered if it was an old survey marker. From the top we looked around in all directions and could see almost nothing but the Sand Hills. It was magnificent. The only signs on humans were the fence near us, windmills scattered around the fed ponds for cattle, and a couple green fields, probably watered to grow hay. That was it. It was almost a wilderness experience, despite being a short hike. Due to the lack of trees, the landscape looks much larger than it would otherwise. Yes, the hills do get several hundred foot faces, but in the right light or at a glance, it looks like they go up a couple thousand. We went back down the way we came, seeing some pronghorn along the way. I'd call this the best hike in Nebraska out of my sample size of three cohps. We went south when we got back onto the road and didn't have trouble getting onto NE61 and driving north to Hyannis.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:376 ft / 113 m
    Total Elevation Loss:376 ft / 114 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.3 mi / 2.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:340 ft / 103 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 290 ft / 89 m; Extra: 50 ft / 15m
    Loss on way in:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1 km
    Start Trailhead:3510 ft / 1069 m
    Time:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:326 ft / 99 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 290 ft / 89 m; Extra: 36 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:36 ft / 10 m
    Distance:0.7 mi / 1 km
    End Trailhead:3510 ft / 1069 m
    Time:25 Minutes

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