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Ascent of Table Mountain on 2012-09-29

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Stan
Date:Saturday, September 29, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Table Mountain
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:10223 ft / 3115 m

Ascent Trip Report

Coming from the east on MT-2. Stan and I took the almost 180 degree left turn onto a road just after the windiest section of the highway. From here we followed the gravel road which had nice fall colors, but when it turned to gravel it had long sections of washboard. At the campground we turned left past the mining lake. Then we took a right an an uphill road in a meadow just past a cattle gate. This road became super rocky, and it is not for the feeble tire. Eventually this road is gated before the switchbacks above timberline, but there is a loop pullout just before the gate to park at. We began hiking at 9:30am and it was a bit chilly. I realized I forgot my hat, but I tried to make due. I started off with a coat, but was ok without it except in areas where the wind was stronger on the ridgeline. We made it up to the top of Red Mountain very quickly and actually passed two guys and a dog as they stood on top and we skirted around. The Unnamed peak lay before us with its impressive flat faces and scree slopes. The valley below to the north is all scree and it looks like good skiing in the winter if the avalanche danger was nil. Most of the rock is red, but there is strangely one streak of white rocks spreading down towards Emerald Lake. The unnamed peak was steep at times, and there were many moments where it was better to use your hands to stablize yourself, especially on the way down from it. We then crossed the meadow, lost more elevation, and then made the final ascent. This didn't take very long. The landscape is very strange with islands of grass interspersed with cobweb formation scree. The top is the large cairn near the weather station, and we signed the register. It took us two hours to summit. From the cairn, other ground around looks higher, but once you go out to the point with the other contour of 10,200, you will realize that the cairn is on the actual summit. It is worth a quick walk over there to get more views of the valleys to the northeast. After spending 20 minutes on top and wandering around the actually quite slopey top, we headed back. On the first descent, we met up with the two guys and their dog. They were very friendly and said they were peakbaggers from Helena. I was hoping that they would be the first county highpointers that I could meet, but alas. We took a more difficult way up Unnamed by climbing the jagged outcroppings instead of following the obvious trail. Once we made it back to Red Mountain our legs were getting rather tired. It is nice that the ridge hike allows you to switch between different muscles, though. We summited Red Mountain and saw the register, but did not sign it. At the Highland Lookout Tower we paused a moment on the deck, and then remarked at the west facing outhouse with no door. We got back to the car at 1:50, as it took us 2 hours to come back. We had a super nice day for a number of reasons: 1. Low wind 2. High visibility as the Idaho fire smoke was mostly cleared up 3. It was cool but not cold.
We don't recommend buying a sandwich in the Cardwell gas station, forgetting a hat, or forgetting toilet paper.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2923 ft / 890 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2923 ft / 890 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2063 ft / 628 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1263 ft / 384 m; Extra: 800 ft / 243m
    Loss on way in:800 ft / 243 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Start Trailhead:Highland Lookout Parking Loop  8960 ft / 2731 m
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2123 ft / 647 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1263 ft / 384 m; Extra: 860 ft / 262m
    Gain on way out:860 ft / 262 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    End Trailhead:Highland Lookout Parking Loop  8960 ft / 2731 m
    Time:2 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: Table Mountain

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Peak 101362012-09-29 a 
2Table Mountain2012-09-29 b2923 ft / 891 m
3Red Mountain2012-09-29 c 
Total Trip Gain: 2923 ft / 891 m    Total Trip Loss: 2923 ft / 891 m



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