Ascent of Bush Mountain on 2019-11-18

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, November 18, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bush Mountain
    Elevation:8631 ft / 2630 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine, Bush Mountain is the 2nd highest named highpoint in Texas. Although there is a good trail all the way to summit of Bush Mountain, it is not an easy hike. There is nearly a 2800-foot elevation difference between the trailhead at the Pine Spring parking area and the summit, plus there are several places during the climb where you have to lose quite a bit of elevation and then reclimb, so the actual elevation gain is nearly 4000 feet and my GPS indicated I had hiked 7 miles one-way to reach the summit, even though it is only 3.77 air miles from the trailhead to the summit. From the trailhead at the Pine Springs parking area you only hike for a few dozen feet before you reach the Guadalupe/Tejas Trail junction. The Guadalupe Trail goes to the left to the summit of Guadalupe Peak (the highest point in Texas). Here you turn right and follow the Tejas Trail to the right. In less than 10 minutes you reach the Tejas/Frijole Trail junction. The Frijole Trail goes to the right toward Hunter Peak (the 6th highest peak in Texas). You follow the Tejas Trail to the left and reach the Bush Mountain/Tejas/Bowl Trail junction after a covering a total of 3.96 miles. Of course, here you turn left and follow the Bush Mountain Trail. At this point you will have ascended nearly 2000 feet, but you will have nearly 2000 feet left to climb due to several trail descents, even though the summit is only a little more than 800 feet above you here. After just .2 mile from this junction you reach the Pine Springs Campsite, which would make a good place for an overnighter if you choose to lessen the one day mileage required for a day hike, but I think carrying a loaded pack all this way would be more difficult than just covering the mileage in one day. You will pass another campsite (Bush Mountain Camp) after covering a total of 6.45 miles. When I was only 1/4 mile from the summit I stopped for lunch and dropped my daypack for the last push to the top, which I reached after covering a total of 7.02 miles in 5 hours and 23 minutes (including my lunch stop). My GPS indicated I had climbed a total of 3937 feet. There is a small communication tower on Bush Mountain, but the highest point is located a few dozen yards to the south. I was unable to find the summit benchmark. After a short 10 minutes on the summit I returned to my pack and began my approach to Bartlett Peak (the 4th highest named highpoint in Texas). From my lunch stop at 31.92586 N 104.87871 W, I was only .59 air miles from the summit of Bartlett Peak, but my actual mileage to reach it was a great deal more. (See my Bartlett Peak trip report for those details.) After my successful ascent of Bartlett Peak, a return to the Bush Mountain Trail and the descent back to the Pine Spring parking area, I had covered a total of 15.8 miles in 13 hours and 52 minutes. If you decided to follow the same route I did, you will probably go much faster. At 71 years old I have slowed down a great deal and I have to be careful of my greatest limiting factor anymore, leg cramps. I was extremely pleased that I had no such problems on this long climb today. Maybe I have a few more adventures left in me!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles

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