Ascent of Pearson Hill on 2007-01-14

Climber: John Hasch

Date:Sunday, January 14, 2007
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Pearson Hill
    Elevation:1940 ft / 591 m

Ascent Trip Report


Sunday, 1/14/2007

I left the Timm’s Hill area and took the Rustic Road back to WI-86. Nearly adjacent to my emerging point was another road, the Risberg Road that would take me to the Pearson Hill area. I turned right onto WI-86 and turned right about 100ft up the road onto Risberg Road.

Pearson Hill is significant for a couple reasons. With an elevation of 1950.8ft, it is listed as being at or near the height of Timm’s Hill. Actually, Timm’s Hill rounds out to 1951.5ft, so the surveying results show a difference of about 8-9 inches. Since both peaks are in Price County, I felt obliged to visit both summits to remove all doubt that I had reached the summit of WI and Price County

The trip down this road was relatively short. I made a couple sharp turns around the east end of Risberg Lake, and I concluded I was following the topo map. A short time later, an intersecting road, Swanson on the sign, climbed right up a hill. The road had a sign pointing the way to the Swanson Farm, clearly and proudly proclaimed as the highest farming operation in the state. The road straight ahead was labeled Davidson Road. I turned right and followed the road up the hill. The road was sanded, and climbing was no problem.

As my car continued its ascent, I came to a point where the main road turned sharply to the right to continue the climb. Straight ahead was a gated dirt road that was aimed directly at the taller of the two radio towers found on the hill. I decided to stay on the main road because I could always come back to this point if it proved to be the best staging area.

The road came to a clearing where I found a barn, a house, a garage (the Swanson Farm) and the obligatory watch dog. I parked my car and got out at 11:48am. Fortunately, the dog was friendly, so I walked over to the house to explain my presence and seek permission to park there to walk to the summit of Pearson Hill. No one was home, but the front door was unlocked. I opened the door and shouted inside, but no one answered. I returned to my car, penned a note for the windshield, and gathered a few things. At 11:53am, I began my hike across the farm field to the summit area near the high tower southeast of me.

I hiked about 100ft across the field to get to the radio tower. At 12:03pm, the presumed peak was observed to be about 100ft northwest of the tower. I climbed a pile of rocks there, took a few pictures, and declared the summit taken. By 12:07pm, I was on my way back to the car, and I arrived there 8 minutes later.

I took a few minutes to read the map, drink some water, and other chores. By 12:32pm, I was on my way to Lookout Mountain. I had decided to forego the trip to Mount Whittlesey because it was an outlier and would consume too much time to get there and back. I wanted to save as much time and daylight as possible to try to attain each of the other planned summits.

Descending the Swanson Farm hill, I noted that the dirt road in the sharp bend was indeed the access route to the two towers on the hill. As I drove down the road, I could see a trail that led to the second (lower) tower from this same starting point.

It is said that close only counts in horseshoes and grenades. Well, I wasn’t even close! If a grenade exploded near the summit of Pearson Hill, it would not have been any threat to me. You see, I had failed to observe a cardinal rule of peakbagging – use your maps! In my zest to take the Pearson Hill summit and be back as quickly as possible, I had set off for the most visually-obvious high point on the hill. The second radio tower was clearly lower than the nearer one, and I just assumed the high ground was at or near the tower.

Wrong! Looking at the map later in the day, I realized the true summit was on the hill north of where I had parked my car. Not a bad miss – I was only off by a mere 120 degrees or so…. The topo map showed that the highest point near the radio towers was only about 1920+ft, or about 30ft below the actual summit benchmark. (There is a USGS BM at the true summit - another sure sign that I had "missed".)

I hope I do not make such a severe mistake again. Chalk it up to rookie fever. Anyway, since I did climb Pearson Hill, and since my elevation was a mere 30ft short of the true summit, I will sustain my “bagging” of Pearson Hill. If I am ever in the area again in the future, I will definitely come back and correct my error. But for now, it was a learning experience, and there is a whole lot of new territory to cover.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6 ft / 1 m
    Route:Hike across farm field (wrong)
    Trailhead:Swanson Farm yard  1934 ft / 589 m
    Route Conditions:
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:8 Minutes

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