Cottle County High Point Trip Report

near BM Swenson at Double-M Oil Field (2,260+ ft)

Date: March 13, 2002
Author: Scott Surgent

From Aspermont in Stonewall County, I drove through Guthrie in King County up US-83, past the Cottle county line sign to FM-452, a small paved route that went west about 4 miles to Delwin, which appeared all but abandoned. From here, I went up FM-2278 another mile and a half to County Road 266, which is dirt. West on 266 for a mile, then south briefly to an oil-lease road, which was gated, as usual. It was about 4:30 p.m.

I started in on the dirt/sand road which trended west-southwest, pretty much a direct bearing to the setting sun. At first the road was okay, mostly sandy but traction was pretty good. In less than a mile I came upon some oil storage tanks, and off to the west I could see the low rise of sandy hills which was my destination. After these oil tanks, the road degenerated into soft sand which made for very difficult walking. I used the sun as a bearing device, plus my maps, too. The road made a sharp northward turn at just over a mile, but I opted to continue cross-country through the gray scrub for two reasons: I would meet up with the same road later on, and I would save myself the hassle of walking in soft sand. The scrub was about knee-high but thick. Fortunately cattle and game trails helped here and there. In short time I came out on to the main road again, after it had made another sharp southwesterly turn. So far, it was matching perfectly with my topo map, which was good news.

I continued up this miserable road. The sand was brutal to walk through, but the brush was just as troublesome, so I did my best and eventually followed the road up as it crested a small rise, again perfectly in line with the map. From here, I left the road and traveled cross-country about 200 feet to an obvious sandy hillock, which was mostly bare and strewn about with old wooden planks. I walked the immediate area then turned around and started the laborious grind out. I followed the road to about the point where I came to it from my cross-country bit. Tired of the road, I went back into the brush and hiked by line-of-sight back to the oil tanks, which served as excellent bearing devices. I eventually met up with the dreaded road and walked out back to my truck, a total 4 mile hike with about 230 feet of gain and about 1.5 hours of hiking. Not one of my more fun highpoints. With the remaining daylight I headed south to take care of King county.

Note: Bob Martin and David Olson had visited Cottle County previously but do not claim it as successful. They stayed on the main road, where apparently the junction to the southwest road (paragraph 2) wasn't visible. They bushwhacked but their GPS readings did not match the maps. Currently I feel very confident that I reached the HP. Bob and Dave are planning a return trip via my route. They may very well have visited the HP area.