Ascent of Black Mesa on 2018-01-20

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
Willie-Weimaraner Musser
Date:Saturday, January 20, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Black Mesa
    Elevation:4973 ft / 1515 m

Ascent Trip Report

The drive we took avoided Boise City coming from Lamar CO and previous SHP Mount Sunflower but the route became a lot of off road driving that although saved 15 minutes getting there got a bit adventurous. We drove in from the north on some route called 8 and frankly was a bit of a navigation mess. The closer we got to OK the more the route became something I was glad I had a truck and at one point we crossed a flowing creek with 6 inches of water so I was happy to be in a 4x4 truck and not a car. I would recommend coming in from the south on paved roads. Regardless our route saved time and we parked and headed up the trails. The state has made this easy with wide open trails and great signage with a bench to rest every mile. It is exactly 4.2 miles each way and nice views when you finally ascend the switchbacks. Not a lot of gain for a long horizontal hike a long approach. Mid January and it was HOT 75F sunny. Snow storms on their way we had much layers we did not need or use. Tomorrow is suppose to snow?

Two notes...the long approach hike does some minor undulations before ascending I estimate about 60 feet of total regain each way. Also, the sandstone, shale, and limestone along the swtichbacks show the softer underbelly of the mesa and why it easily erodes away but the volcanic basalt cap that hold the mesa top in place is interesting. I think I read it is like 300 million years old. The erosion resistant basalt is black and very vesicular ( many gas escape holes from when the lava rapidly cooled at the surface). I saw black basalt that was riddled with vesicles and some of the holes where very large. Some of the most violent looking gas escape pores I have seen in volcanic rock. That cap holds the sedimentary rock in place from eroding leaving the mesa and butte formations for us to enjoy and hike. Pretty cool.

After tagging my 40th State HP and Karens's 23rd and Willie's 3rd we hiked back and then drove to the "Dinosaur Tracks" areas shown on the nearby USGS map. The tracks in the creek bed are unmistakable and easy to find.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:774 ft / 235 m
    Total Elevation Loss:120 ft / 36 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.4 mi / 13.5 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
75F sunny and got hot
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:714 ft / 217 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 654 ft / 199 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Loss on way in:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Route:standard trail 4.2 miles
    Start Trailhead:Parking lot for Black Mesa Summit  4319 ft / 1316 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:60 ft / 18 m
    Gain on way out:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
Ascent Part of Trip: OK SHP

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Two Buttes2018-01-20 a313 ft / 95 m
2Twin Buttes North2018-01-20 b41 ft / 12 m
3Two Buttes2018-01-20 c61 ft / 19 m
4Black Mesa2018-01-20 d774 ft / 236 m
5Double Top Point 4690 West2018-01-20 e217 ft / 66 m
6Double Top Point 4690 East2018-01-20 f150 ft / 46 m
Total Trip Gain: 1556 ft / 474 m    Total Trip Loss: 337 ft / 103 m

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