Ascent of Crouch Benchmark on 2012-01-23

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:
Supported by Rose
Date:Monday, January 23, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Crouch Benchmark
    Elevation:736 ft / 224 m

Ascent Trip Report

Bushwack/crosscountry to 2 Areas ..... 2.7 miles, 1h45 hours RT,

PB lists 2 Candidate High Point Areas for this Peak located within half a mile from each other. We approached both Candidates from the east in a completely burned out area from last September 2011 forest fires. The only vegetation left standing are the bare tree trunks, there is no underbrush/branches whatsoever. We found out later that this area lost about 5 square miles of forest.

After the failed attempt on Bastrop CoHP we drove Ott Road back to 304 to a right (south) 2.1 miles to a right on FM 713 (this corner is 11.87 miles north of I10, exit 642 on 304), 1.86 miles west to a left turn on Pine Gap Road where is the start of the forest fire referred-to above, 1 mile (winding and rough) to the top of a small ridge (GPS 29.83103, -97.43550) and a left on a lesser track, at .2 miles we parked our van. This was my TH (GPS 29.83492, -97.43727) in a completely burned out bare area, only tree trunks with no branches are left, everything is black and open, no green.
Both of the Candidate Areas are generally west (#1 more to the south). All distances in this report are guess-estimates.

AREA 2 ..... hike wb in a burned out forest ..... .75 miles, 40 minutes one way only.
I took a 245 degree Compass Line, dropped to a valley (sand surface similar to a beach) before ascending to the first ridge at 400 yards to a "Property Post Marker"(with orange flag tape) on an old fence line (this ridge was visible from the TH). I followed the old fence line at 300 degree Compass (staying right on top of the ridge) for another 400 yards to two large wooden fence posts with orange flag tape. This area has sparse vegetation and is near the west end of the forest fire.
I continued general west, zig-zagged/followed the burned areas on the ridge to the high ground, choosing my AREA 2 spot in open woods at GPS 29.83557, -97.44602, I saw 2 deer here.
I guess-estimate the distance from the TH at .75 miles, 40 minutes.
I was lucky to have an open forest, in normal conditions this route is probably very dense/difficult.

AREA 1 .... easy .6 miles, 25 minutes, one way from Area 2.
From Area 2, Area 1 is at about 230 degree Compass Line with dense vegetation en route so I chose to continue/bushwack west on the ridge, dropped 100 feet to a fence line at 300 yards at the edge of the woods and huge pasture land to the west ..... looking left (west of south) the summit area is clearly visible at 700 yards. I walked the fence line to the top of the open round summit, superb views in all directions. The "US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY BENCH MARK, CROUCH, ET" (no elevation is given) is circled with stones, a steel rod and a cow bone, to the east at 100 yards is the fence line/woods.
I returned the same way to the TH in 35 minutes. I came back with my clothes full of soot.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:486 ft / 147 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:bushwack/crosscountry wb to 2 areas
    Trailhead:pine gap road  650 ft / 198 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:35 Minutes

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