Ascent of Taylor County High Point on 2015-11-03

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Taylor County High Point
    Elevation:1305 ft / 397 m

Ascent Trip Report

Previously thought to be the "hardest" Iowa county highpoint, LiDAR analysis allowed me to narrow it down considerably, and then even more once in person. My LiDAR analysis results are at the end of this report. Please contact me if you are interested in the metadata.

To start, I drove into Taylor County on J20 from Page County. I took a left on Forest Ave (the N-S roads are in alphabetical order) for one mile. Here to the west on the dirt road 120th was Area 22. It turned out to be a pile of dirt and old metal parts and machinery as I had guessed from my analysis. It sticks up considerably and is artificial. Then I drove north to the last house on the east side of Forest before the county line. A man was out in his yard and I chatted with him. He said that the man who owned Areas 10 and 11 doesn't live near here, but he wouldn't mind me walking over there. He told me to park by an old building and two large trees which were between the two areas if you drew straight lines east of them to the road. I walked south on Forest, then west up the fence line to Area 11. It comes out higher than 10 and it felt like it to, despite Area 10 having unharvested soybeans still. The field south of the fence at Area 10 was harvested corn. Then I walked back past my car and through a low area where I spooked three deer. I followed that fence line out to Area 10. The north side of that still had standing corn! The highest spot was in the soybean field. When I was returning to my car a cop car pulled up behind it while I was a few hundred feet away. When I got there I talked to the police officer and found out that trucks passing by on this road had reported a suspicious vehicle (mine). I told the officer that I had gotten permission to hike from the man in the last house, and he said that was alright. He did run my driver's license through the system, but we ended up just talking about hiking for about five minutes while we waited. I was cleared to go, but I became aware that Arizona plates made me stand out a bit too much in these Iowa fields. Good thing I had gotten permission!

Next I went east along the county line road until I hit Juniper where the road stops. I went south to 110th, then east to Newport where I turned south. On Newport I scoped out Area 39 a and b and found out that 39a simply did not exist. The ground slopes away from 39b and is several feet lower where that spike showed up. I assumed it was an error based on the DEM, and it was. 39b is along a sturdy fence on the east side of the road. That field was planted in corn still as well. I then drove south to 120th, east to Oregon, and north to the county line. Area 29 turned out to be a large man-made pile, as I had suspected.

I then drove south on Oregon until turning east on 150th. Then I took a right on Post and then went east on 155th. Area 66 is over here, just about as flat as can be. It's pretty depressing actually, because the point that came out on top doesn't look like anything and roadbeds in a few directions are actually higher, especially the one by the DALBY BM. Area 66d was a field corner fenced in by barbed wire that was a bit of a pile. Maybe it was never tilled, or maybe it gains elevation every time the tiller turned the corner by it. I'd guess the second one. The field edge of 66c was unremarkable.

Now it was time to go to Lenox. I went east on 155th, north on Quail, east on 150th, then north on IA49. I turned on Temple once I got to town. This crossed over the main drag which had a scarecrow on every corner. All of the buildings looked occupied and the downtown was actually filled with cars, modern signs, and a few people milling about. Has Main Street been saved in this small town? I turned north onto Pine with anticipation because my highest potentially natural point, Area 51c, was here to the east by some semi trailers. It turned out to be a large round concrete disc that stuck up close to two feet! That was a bust, but I knew that the area around the water tower was a more natural second. The west side of the water tower fence looked highest. Then I left town, heading north on IA49. At the county line I parked off of the start of Adams-Taylor Street and then walked in what is kind of a ditch on the west side of the road. It's where the highest "natural" ground is. That's right, all of the preceding points were alternates for this very exciting peak that still is below the road bed, but is near a 4H welcome sign and one of those cylindrical metal containers on a wooden post that I cannot figure out what they are. There is also a power pole here which marks the summit of Area 51a. If anyone knows what those containers are for, PLEASE let me know.

In summary, if you are looking for the highest natural point in Taylor County, you should visit Areas 11 and 51a if you accept the bare ground margin of error of 1.21' (which is doubled from the stated accuracy of course). However, if you only accept the 2.42' margin of error which is for vegetated areas or you are just more cautious, also visit Areas 10, 39b, 66c, and 67b.

Taylor County: Seventy Areas 1300’+
Area 1: Below 1300’
Area 2: Below 1300’
Area 3: Below 1300’
Area 4: Below 1300’
Area 5: Below 1300’
Area 6: Below 1300’
Area 7: Below 1300’
Area 8: Below 1300’
Area 9: Below 1300’
Area 10: 1303.14’ field
N40.89627 W94.83878
Area 11: 1304.76’ field edge -runner up
N40.8930 W94.83589
Area 12: 1301.17’
N40.89177 W94.83720
Area 13: Below 1300’
Area 14: Below 1300’
Area 15: Below 1300’
Area 16: Below 1300’
Area 17: Below 1300’
Area 18: 1301.73’
N40.88164 W94.83469
Area 19: 1302.67’
N40.87848 W94.83349
Area 20: Below 1300’
Area 21: 1301.83’
N40.87501 W94.83539
Area 22: 1303.17’ Pile of dirt and metal -artificial
N40.87129 W94.83506
Area 23: 1302.09’ Might be a septic mound
N40.86909 W94.83418
Area 24: Below 1300’
Area 25: Below 1300’
Area 26: 1301.03’ roadside berm
N40.89960 W94.65557
Area 27: Below 1300’
Area 28: Below 1300’
Area 29: 1304.92’ pile ~8ft high -artificial
N40.89944 W94.64797
Area 30: 1301.88’
N40.89251 W94.65050
Area 31: Below 1300’
Area 32: 1302.84’
N40.88798 W94.65601
Area 33: 1301.95’
N40.88719 W94.66207
Area 34: Below 1300’
Area 35: 1300.63’
N40.88324 W94.65723
Area 36: 1300.63’
N40.88409 W94.66611
Area 37: 1301.11’
N40.8795 W94.65659
Area 38: 1301.30’
N40.87812 W94.65541
Area 39a: 1306.46’ misreading, does not exist on ground
N40.88152 W94.67297
Area 39b: 1303.17’ roadside berm
N40.88053 W94.67202
Area 40: 1302.62’
N40.88436 W94.67800
Area 41: Below 1300’
Area 42: Below 1300’
Area 43: Below 1300’
Area 44: Below 1300’
Area 45: Below 1300’
Area 46: Below 1300’
Area 47: Below 1300’
Area 48: Below 1300’
Area 49: Below 1300’
Area 50: Below 1300’
Area 51a: 1305.43’ roadside power pole -winner
N40.89891 W94.56587
Area 51b: 1307.57’ roadbed
N40.89920 W94.56567
Area 51c: 1306.49’ large concrete disc about two feet high in Lenox -artificial
N40.88230 W94.55730
Area 52: Below 1300’
Area 53: Below 1300’
Area 54: Below 1300’
Area 55: Below 1300’
Area 56: Below 1300’
Area 57: Below 1300’
Area 58: Below 1300’
Area 59: Below 1300’
Area 60: Below 1300’
Area 61: Below 1300’
Area 62: Below 1300’
Area 63: Below 1300’
Area 64: Below 1300’
Area 65: Below 1300’
Area 66a: 1304.22’ roadbed
N40.82016 W94.63035
Area 66b: 1304.13’ roadbed
N40.81882 W94.62387
Area 66c: 1303.36’ field edge
N40.82025 W94.63014
Area 66d: 1303.53’ pile in field corner, may be artificial
N40.82027 W94.62860
Area 66e: 1302.93’ field near DALBY on field ramp
N40.819049 W94.62333
Area 67a: 1302.90’
N40.80642 W94.62997
Area 67b: 1303.33’
N40.8098 W94.62870
Area 68: Below 1300’
Area 69: Below 1300’
Area 70a: 1301.44’ if field
N40.78598 W94.75893
Area 70b: 1301.54’ if object
N40.78559 W94.75873
Area 70c: 1301.85’ if roadside berm
N40.78442 W94.75906
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:126 ft / 37 m
    Total Elevation Loss:126 ft / 37 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:84 ft / 25 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 19 ft / 6 m; Extra: 65 ft / 19m
    Loss on way in:65 ft / 19 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Start Trailhead:Old Shed  1286 ft / 391 m
    Time:20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:61 ft / 18 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 19 ft / 6 m; Extra: 42 ft / 12m
    Gain on way out:42 ft / 12 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.7 km
    End Trailhead:Old Shed  1286 ft / 391 m
    Time:10 Minutes

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