Ascent of Couch Mountain on 2016-03-02

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Couch Mountain
    Elevation:538 ft / 163 m

Ascent Trip Report

PB lists 3 Candidate High Point Areas for this County, it took me 2 visits all as per this one only TR.

VISIT #1 DATED 2012-02-21 .... successful on 2 of the 3 areas.

I was not able to get to Area 1 ... gated with 8 foot fences. I used David Olson's TR of 2001, his directions to Areas 2 & 3 still apply today, but not for Area 1 ... progress has a way of taking things away from county highpointers.

AREA 1 ..... not accessible.
In the town of Daingerfield, we drove south on 259 (through the village of Lone Star) for 10+ miles to a right on FM557, 3.7 miles to new steel/brick entrance on the right (mailbox #13386), the house is perhaps 1 mile north, up the road, and from David's notes, very close to the HP. Everything was locked and no-way for me to ask for permission. This whole property is surrounded with a tall 8 foot fence (must be a game farm).
We continued west on FM557 for 1 mile to the west fence corner, parked besides the road. The west property fence line runs northeast.
I walked the outside of this west fence line to check it out, the summit is inside this fence and found no way to get-in without climbing over it .... not being in a risky mood, I decided to leave it be, needs further study.

AREA 2 & 3 .... an easy track walk/bushwhack .... .6 miles, 35 minutes RT for both Areas.
From Area 1 we drove to Pittsburg where we picked up Hwy 11 and traveled west (through Newsome) for 12+ miles to a left on CR3518 (Hepsibah Baptist Church on corner), 1.5 miles left on CR3510 at a T-Junction, .4 miles to the Hepsibah Cemetery on the right, parked outside the Cemetery at the rear-right corner, this was my TH.

Just before arriving here we stopped (as we do quite often) to make friends with a beautiful white horse, grazing inside the fence. As we approached he came running and at same time 6 dogs came running down the road, tails wagging, from the near by farm house. We did our best to feed everyone.

From the TH I ignored the good track to the south and followed David's instructions, "....... I walked the eroded track southwest .....".
David's track from the TH is not visible (its clearly shown on the satellite map), I stepped over the broken fence and headed southwest into the woods, picking up the good track at 50 yards. I followed it to a height-of-land at 250 yards from the TH at a Hunter's Chair.
For AREA 2 I stepped left and stomped inside the woods at the obvious high ground, open with some dense thorny spots. I chose my spot at GPS 32.93863, -95.13788, 25 yards from the track.
For AREA 3 I returned/continued on the track southwest 100 yards to a T-Junction with a better track where I turned left and walked 100 yards to the high ground on the wooded ridge straight ahead. There is a fenced-in open pasture to the south. I stepped over the fence to check for high ground but came back and chose my spot just north of the fence, GPS 32.93775, -95.13895.

VISIT #2 DATED 2016-03-02 .... successful at Area 1 ..... 2 miles, 1:10 hours RT.

This is our 66th day and our last Texas COHP of our "TEXAS WINTER TRIP 2016". As of this day we have visited 228 of the 254 TEXAS COHPs, succeeding on 203 of them - the rest (25) were unsuccessful due to access issues.

Prior to coming back to AREA 1 I reached out to Brian McCarty for his advice. One must read Brian's TR.
Rose dropped me off on FM 557 at the west fence corner, from where I more or less followed Brian's footsteps .... I thank Brian for pioneering this route.

I hopped the fence and walked the fence line northeast 200+ yards (over the small E-W ridge) to a woods track on the right (32.92329,-94.80683), straight ahead is a wet water section. I turned right (east) for 200 yards to a T-Junction, then left northeast to a E-W Gas Pipe Line (32.92564,-94.80138) at 5/8 mile from the TH ... to the right is a grass clearing with a feed station and a hunters stand.

From the hunters stand I wacked left of east 3/8 mile to the summit, open wood with some thorny brush. At the last 100 yards I went left at a steep embankment, actually summiting from the northwest (trying to stay away from the buildings).

The HP is obvious (32.92647,-94.79714) at a large tree amid an open clearing, nice views. The barn is 200 yards to the south.

I returned with no problems, should have chanced it the first time. Success without risk doesn't exist.


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:348 ft / 105 m
    Extra Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:road/wack to area 1
    Trailhead:FM 557  250 ft / 76 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack

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