Ascent of Monona County High Point on 2015-09-28

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Artski and Jennifer
Date:Monday, September 28, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Monona County High Point
    Elevation:1480 ft / 451 m

Ascent Trip Report

Note that this cohp is named "The Spot", as described by the plaque next to the summit.

Artski, mom, and I wanted to make a fun hike out of this one instead of driving right to the top. Our route, in my opinion, made this a very nice hike and although I don't have many Iowa cohps to base this on, it is so far the best highpoint hike in the state.

The Little Sioux exit was closed due to construction and I wondered if it was because of flood damage to the road from our storm that month that had brought over 8" of rain to some locations. We had to take the Blencoe exit, which was just as well, and we drove through town east on E60. Once we reached the Loess Hills we took a right on what is E60 and L14 combined, before taking a right at the Y to stay on E60 which is gravel at this point. We were now in the Loess Hills State Forest. At the next intersection with Oak Avenue, we parked. From here we found a mowed trail leading north through the otherwise tall grass. We found a spur that went NW and we looked for a trail onto the obvious ridge that heads towards the highpoint, but we didn't see one. Therefore we stayed on the trail as it looped, and we walked around the border of a large field before coming back to where we started. After that 15 minute delay, we went back up by the base of the ridge which leads more or less north to the highpoint, and Jennifer found a game trail to get us on it. It was only about a minute before we were on the beaten path on the ridge that we could see from our parking spot. The ridge had prairie off the western flank and pine trees on the right. We saw two other people walking along the ridge as well. We did a couple ups and downs, then crossed a bridge over what may have been a former road cut. From there it was up to the obvious platform which offered great views to the east, south, and west. It was an incredible view that really didn't look like familiar Iowa. We then hopped over a retaining wall and went up to the highpoint. I processed LiDAR for Monona County and the results narrowed down the highpoint to just the area closest to the platform. We agreed that the center contour was lower and that the eastern is too. The top has a road cut off the back side of it so we were careful not to fall. We then went east over the middle area and found a trail that had signs marking the way. The middle area was definitely lower, and the eastern area still looked lower when we walked over it and looked back at the western one. This is on a small ridge of its own, however it is mostly prairie. At the end of the ridge we had a steep descent to more mowed path, and we followed that all the way back to the car. There was one spot of wet ground that we had to skirt around, even though it hadn't rained in at least a couple days. The temperature warmed up, but was mostly pleasant T shirt weather.

LiDAR results:
Monona County: Three Areas 1480’+
Area 1: 1483.10’ Highest.
N41.90539 W95.94543
Area 2: 1479.97’
N41.90533 W95.94417
Area 3: 1478.91’
N41.90486 W95.94304
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The summit of "The Spot" was likely higher before the road cut (2015-09-28). Photo by Gustav Sexauer.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:531 ft / 161 m
    Total Elevation Loss:531 ft / 161 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.5 mi / 4.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:471 ft / 143 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 216 ft / 66 m; Extra: 255 ft / 77m
    Loss on way in:255 ft / 77 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.5 km
    Route:Field Loop and Central Ridge to Overlook
    Start Trailhead:E60 and Oak Parking  1264 ft / 385 m
    Time:54 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:276 ft / 84 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 216 ft / 66 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Gain on way out:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:Eastern Ridge
    End Trailhead:E60 and Oak Parking  1264 ft / 385 m
    Time:30 Minutes

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