Ascent of Stepp Mountain on 2015-02-03

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Stepp Mountain
    Elevation:2574 ft / 784 m

Ascent Trip Report

A road a steep bushwack climb .... 3.4 miles, 2:10 hours RT.

Thank you Scott Surgent for your TR.

On the way to Mitchell County after visiting Fisher COHP we stopped at the very small community of Lorraine for lunch ... a place with boarded up old buildings, a possible movie setting. It was by chance that we saw a few ladies going in this old building with a sign "Tacos and Burgers".
"Cool place to stop for lunch."
A small narrow room with a corrugated iron ceiling and some Mexican decorations on the walls .... a western feel. We knew that on the way in we'd be stared at ... and stared we were.
We had a nice lunch, served drinks in quart jars, had a long chat with the owner ..., she doesn't get too many tourists. She's a 32 year old young woman with 4 kids, opened "Chicas Blanca" last year, her husband works in the Windmill business. They also own the old theater and plan to make an entertainment/bar/restaurant complex.
Hard working people.

We found our way south on US208 to a main 4-way intersection ... right is FM1672, we turned left onto CR351 and went north for .7 miles to a gated service road on the right (32.09075,-100.68588), no posted signs, this was my TH. The HP is to the east.

The mesa mountain has very impressive faces on all sides and after studying the maps decided to approach from the west side, it would turn out to be a good decision.
I stepped over the low gate and walked the winding dirt road east .6 miles to a fork where I had to choose my ascending route (the west face has places with solid vertical rock walls) ... a right (a shorter route due east) leads to an oil pump at the bottom slopes of the mesa and beyond it on the mesa is the HP, a left turn (a longer route) headed northeasterly to an oil pump at the very northwest arm of the mesa. I opted for the left route, the climb looked easier and little rock to deal with.

I walked the road (left) north .4 miles to an oil pump platform at the bottom of the steep slope where I started the climbing, I basically climbed/scrambled easterly finding the easy way, less than 400 yards ... very steep, loose rock, rough brush ... near the top I found an easy route through a rock band that brought me the top of the northwest arm (32.69435,-100.67214).
I then went southeast along the flat plateau to a short climb that brought me to the HP plateau in 400 yards. (32.09242,-100.66911). I continued my line 300 yards directly to the clean/shiny BM (thanks to Scott Surgent, it couldn't have been more exact. The plateau has a rough rock surface, some loose rock, cacti, dry rough brush and cedar bushes. Luckily I had on my snake chaps (ideal for this kind of going). I ascended the approx 1.7 miles in 1 hour.
I found the BM inside some cedar bushes with a cairn "USC&G Survey Marker, Elevation above sea level 2574 feet, STAPP V.ABM, 1957". The "pole" noted by others (a 2x4x10') was on the ground, I leaned/tied it against a cedar bush the best I could. An old roll of pink tape was beside the BM. I added orange tape.
I agree with the others that "the" HP is elsewhere, I tried my best to touch all bases.

I backtracked/descended to the TH in 40 minutes.

The steep climb up this mesa wall is very similar to that on Moro Mountains .... my 2 favorite/challenging climbs so far on this Winter Trip. As I climbed today I couldn't help but keep thinking about the "Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup" ...... the rock faces must be home to this reptile !!!!

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:534 ft / 162 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route:road/bushwack easterly
    Trailhead:CR351  2080 ft / 633 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:40 Minutes

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