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Ascent of Proffit Mountain on 2013-07-14

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Date:Sunday, July 14, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Proffit Mountain
    Location:USA-Missouri
    Elevation:1700 ft / 518 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine, Proffit Mountain is the 6th highest named summit in Missouri, as well as the highest point in Reynolds County. Originally, my son, Marshall, and I were going to climb this peak from the east, beginning on Taum Sauk Mountain, but we decided to attempt to locate an access point from the west side, since it would reduce the hiking distance. It took quite a while, but we were eventually able to locate a friendly landowner on the east side of county road N, near Fitzgerald Cemetery. This landowner allowed us to cross his property and access an old gravel road that made our travel much easier. We did have to make one shallow creek crossing early in the climb over the East Fork of the Black River and we were actually traveling on land that did not belong to the landowner we started from, but we had an enjoyable climb up the NW side of Proffit Mountain with no trouble from other landowners. It was a long hike, however. Early in the hike we reached a fork in the road. The right fork was overgrown and passes by a 60 acre lake that we were told was for sale at one time for 7 million dollars, but the price was now reduced to a mere 1.1 million dollars. We were told a story how the original owner of the lake and surrounding land had murdered the landowner of some adjacent property because he would not sell some of his land to allow the lake owner easier access to his property. The next day this individual had a shoot out with law enforcement authorities and he met his death. We were told booby traps were later found on his property. It's probably wise to stay on the road! We took the steep left fork which eventually ends at a large power line right of way with an easy to follow service road. At this intersection, Proffit Mountain can be seen for the first time to the SW, 1.5 miles away. This route will lose elevation in two places before you will finally be making the final push for the summit, but, at least, there is no bushwhacking required. The entire one-way distance to the summit is a little over 3.5 miles. The highest point, according to the topo map is just to the east of the power lines in the woods on an ATV trail, but some rocks under the power lines seemed to be higher to me. Since the right of way is cleared of all trees, there is a good view to the NE and the SW. The view to the SW allows you to see the famous Taum Sauk Mountain Reservoir above Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. It is an unusual sight to see such a large concrete structure on top of a mountain. It is no wonder so much damage was done when its dam broke several years earlier and flooded Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park (well worth a visit).
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