Ascent of Sweetwater Mountains High Point on 2009-05-20
|Date:||Wednesday, May 20, 2009|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Hi-Clearance Vehicle|
|Peak:||Sweetwater Mountains High Point|
| Elevation:||6440 ft / 1962 m|
Ascent Trip ReportThe ranch that includes the HP of the Sweetwater Mtns (and the most convenient access thereto) is owned by Bart Roberts. Mr. Roberts does not have a personal phone, but he works for the city of Newcastle. I was able to meet him by going to the city office, which is in a red brick building located behind the county courthouse at the E end of the city's main drag. After a brief discussion, he approved my request to travel across his ranch to the summit of the Sweetwater Mtns.
On US-85, about 12½ N of the junction with US-16 near Newcastle or 5 miles S of the junction with WY-585 at Four Corners, is a prominent red fin of clay called Red Butte. About 0.6 mile N of Red Butte, I turned W on an unsigned gravel road by a mailbox on a barrel. Call this point mile 0.0. At 1.2 miles is the main ranch complex. To the L is a green gate with cows beyond, and this appeared to be the way up the mountain. Though I had Bart Roberts' permission, he didn't warn me of any gates, so I thought I'd better check. In the house nearby was a woman vacuuming; I got her confirmation that the gate was the way up the mountain. I proceeded through the gate, which was secured by a chain but not locked. The road beyond the gate was heavily rutted and requires high clearance; in wet weather it would require 4WD. At mile 1.6 I went straight ahead at a junction where a R turn goes to a pond. The road then begins to wind and climb. At mile 2.2 is a pond on the L. At mile 2.8, I reached the summit plateau and a fork. The L branch is unmapped; I took the R branch which proceeds N toward the summit. From here, the road is usually a grassy track with occasional rutted dirt. At mile 4.4 I parked in a grassy field with scattered pines near a slash pile and continued on foot.
The road headed E, skirting just S of a hill in that direction, dipped slightly, and then climbed. After about 5 minutes, the road faded and I traversed L and uphill to the HP, which is covered by scattered pines.
On my walk back to my truck, I spotted a bright yellow wand on the top of a hill to my R. Wondering if it was the location of the Cambria BM, I decided to investigate. My hunch proved true; the BM is easily found among a bright yellow spray-painted pile of rocks.
|Summary Total Data|
| Elevation Gain:||120 ft / 36 m|
| Extra Gain:||40 ft / 12 m|
| Distance:||0.5 mi / 0.8 km|
| Trailhead:||Sage Flat Rd 6400 ft / 1950 m|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Open Country|
| Time Up:||10 Minutes|
| Time Down:||10 Minutes|
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