Ascent of Peck Hill on 2017-09-26
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Tuesday, September 26, 2017|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Location:||USA-North Dakota|
| Elevation:||2860 ft / 871 m|
Ascent Trip ReportAnother humble highpoint, with only 100' of prominence, surrounded by more interesting badlands, and generally unknown even by some park rangers. The upside is a very pleasant* scenic hike with almost guaranteed solitude. On the way to the base of the hill, you take an old dirt path to an old ranger station and the original park entrance. The path also passes right through a prairie dog town. You can soon leave the path and head up a ridge on of the formations to access a plateau that brings you to the top of peck Hill. There were six feral horses near the summit which were grazing and not minding my presence all too much. There were some bison at the base as well, but there are bison all over the place, including particularly all over the road.
Now for the * part. My timely arrival meant there was a layer of very wet slippery mud over a much harder surface. On the flats this wasn't much of an issue, especially with poles (and the ground was softer too). But on the way up the short steep ridge, I had to do all I could to not slide back down, often pulling up most of my weight through my poles, which were embedded deep into the mud. If I put significant weight on my feet, they'd just start to slide. I couldn't kick step with my toes because of the underlying harder surface. Of course, there were probably easier ways up (likely on the west side which has some vegetation) but what fun would that be? Anyways, I managed to get all the way up without fully falling, but on the way down, I had indeed found a route with good vegetation (and therefore little mud) and was speedily dropping down of the little ridge when I hit an unexpected mud patch. I tried to slow but that was obviously impossible. I slid down about 6 feet while staying on my feet, but right at the bottom where it flattened out, I flattened out as well. And got stupid muddy. All over my pants, my jacket, poles, hands, etc. Not usually that bad, but pretty annoying when it's cold out and there's no shower/laundry around and you've got lots of driving to do. Also even before this my boots were covered in mud up over the ankle. I ended up finding a lake later that day, and again the day after to go round two on cleanup. Water in ND isn't that warm, especially on cloudy days in late September after heavy rains. This means lots and lots of push-ups and squats post-dip in the lake:)
All this description to essentially say, I'm having a great time and loving it! It makes crawling into a warm dry sleeping bag at night on a full stomach so amazingly enjoyable!
|Summary Total Data|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Open Country|
| Gear Used:||Ski Poles|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Mitch Mitchell
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