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Mount Scott
Mountain/Rock

Mount Scott

 
Mount Scott

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Oklahoma, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 34.74470°N / 98.5317°W

Object Title: Mount Scott

Elevation: 2464 ft / 751 m

 

Page By: Mark Doiron

Created/Edited: Nov 21, 2002 / Oct 5, 2009

Object ID: 151359

Hits: 57611 

Page Score: 91.75%  - 36 Votes 

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Overview

Mount Scott is probably the most well known peak in Oklahoma next to the high point of Black Mesa. One does not normally think of Oklahoma as a state with mountains, and thus is pleasantly surprised when first seeing Mt. Scott and the rest of the Wichita Mountains rising out of the prairie. For climbers, Mt. Scott is famous not for its summit, but for its outstanding cragging on the granite walls on two areas on the north side of the mountain (Upper Mt. Scott and Lower Mt. Scott). If you wish to forgo the crags and bag the summit, the easiest way is to drive to the top via the paved road. That said, hiking or biking the road are also options, and there are also those hearty souls who bushwhack their way to the top.

Mt. Scott and the remainder of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge host some of the premier rock climbing areas in the south-central U.S. This is where climbers like Duane Raleigh and others cut their teeth in the late seventies and early eighties, establishing more than 40 routes on Upper and Lower Mt. Scott, and 250 routes in the remainder of the Wichitas. Climbers now come from all over, and it is common to meet people from Texas, Arkansas and Kansas on a typical weekend. Mt. Scott’s walls have something for everyone. All the routes are one-pitch, ranging from 5.4 to 5.11, and almost all can be top-roped. Most routes are easy to moderate trad lines, but there are also some hard sport climbs. Sport climbs in the Wichitas are typically dicey, and Mt. Scott is no exception. The first bolt is usually high and the rest are sparse.

We are lucky to have this area in Oklahoma and love to brag about it and share it with everyone. So next time you’re on I-40 heading to the Valley, take an extra day, veer south to the Wichitas, and check out some great Oklahoma climbing!
Wildflowers and Mount Scott
Mt. Scott from the west.

Getting There

Mt. Scott is located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR) approximately 25 miles northwest of Lawton, Oklahoma and 70 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. To get there from ...
 
Map to Wichita Mountains

Map of area around WMWR.


... Oklahoma City: Drive 70 miles southwest on I-44 (toll road). Exit 45 at Medicine Park.

... Dallas: I-35 North to Gainesville, Texas. Go west on highway 82 to Wichita Falls, Texas. Go north on I-44 to exit 45.

From exit 45, turn west on Highway 49. Drive west on Highway 49 for 6.7 miles, through the little town of Medicine Park, until reaching the entrance to the refuge. Mt. Scott will greet you on the right as you enter the refuge. Continue on Highway 49 for 1.7 miles until reaching the sign for the paved Mt. Scott summit road on the right. Both of the Mt. Scott technical climbing areas are accessible from this road.

Lower Mt. Scott: Drive up the mountain for 1.4 miles to the third pull out on the north side of the mountain. Park at the third pullout and walk down 20 yards (east) to the end of the guardrail where a trail will begin left through the rocks. Follow the climbers trail down towards the cliff edge. Before reaching the edge, the trail will veer left (west), then switchback to the right and descend to the bottom of the crag. At the top, you can also go right on a faint trail which leads to the top of the crag where you can rap High Anxiety (two anchors, 60 ft). Note: If the Lower Mt. Scott pullout is full there are several more pullouts about every 200 yards further up the road. Do not park on the road.

Upper Mt. Scott: Continue on the road to the summit. Park in the parking lot on the north side. Walk back down the mountain road for about 75 yards (count 25 guardrail posts from the top). The trail (?) scrambles down a ramp to the right (east) for 30 ft, then switches to the left and scrambles down another 50 ft to the bottom of the wall. Continuing west another 50 ft through the boulders finds you in a nice shaded area below the Upper Scott walls proper.

Red Tape

Mt. Scott is located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, governed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). No permits or fees are required to climb. Technical rock climbing is allowed throughout the Public Use portion (including Mt. Scott) of the Refuge during daylight hours. The road up Mt. Scott is gated and opens at 9:00 a.m. every day. The sign at the gate will tell you it closes at 8 p.m., but it's usually around sunset during the longer hours of summer. However, the road is only gated for vehicles. You are allowed to park in the wide spot on Highway 49 across from the turn off, or at the picnic area just south of that, and hike up to the climbing areas before the gate opens at 9:00 a.m. The earliest you can hike in is sunrise. This is sometimes a good idea in the summer to avoid the heat and beat the crowds. You must be off the mountain and through the gate by sunset. (Note: The sign at the entrance says "Pedestrian Groups Prohibited." This refers to large groups of hikers, not individuals and small parties. The road up Mt. Scott is narrow in some places, and the USFWS does not want a traffic hazard from a large group hiking together on it.)

The maximum speed limit on the main refuge road (Highway 49) is 45 mph and the speed limit on the Mt. Scott road is 25 mph. The rangers are well-known for giving tickets. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed anywhere in the refuge, including Mt. Scott. There is a huge sign at the refuge entrance in case you forget. No swimming is allowed in any refuge waters. (But scuba diving is allowed in adjacent Lake Elmer Thomas ... figure that one out!)

When and Where To Climb

Spring and fall are the best times. Summer is hot and windy, but both Upper and Lower Scott walls are north-facing which makes climbing bearable up until about noon. After that, you really gotta like climbing, because the heat is intense.  
Curt Fry attempts  Crack...
Curt Fry climbs "Crack Attack." Image by Desainme.
Some of the Upper Scott areas are in the shade at the bottoms of the crags which offers respite during belays. Winter in Oklahoma can be cold and nasty, but can also have some very mild days with temps in the 50s and 60s. In winter, check the weather conditions before visiting, because it can be 60 and sunny one day, then 20 and snowing the next. And during all seasons, beware that if it's breezy at the bottom, it will be very windy and much cooler at the summit--take a jacket!

Weekends can be a madhouse at the technical climbing areas. On weekends, be there before the gate opens, or park at the entrance, then hike up the road at sunrise to stake your claim. Weekdays are the best time to climb. It is rare to see more than one other party on a weekday and you will probably have the whole wall to yourself.

Technical Climbing. The two climbing areas of the mountain are Upper Mt. Scott and Lower Mt. Scott. Literally yards from a paved road, these areas are extremely popular on weekends. However, weekday climbers enjoy blissful solitude. Upper Scott includes climbs from 5.4 to 5.11c. The most popular route is Foolish Behavior 5.9, which starts trad in a layback crack, has a killer traverse, and ends with a 2-bolt crimpy face. Lower Scott’s routes are from 5.6 to 5.11a. Favorites include: High Anxiety, 5.7 crack; Mr. Clean, 5.8 trad dihedral with roof finish; and Repeat After Me (or Jacobs Ladder), a 5.10c, 4-bolt triple roof. These routes are some of the best of their rating in the Wichita Mountains. After climbing at Mt. Scott, take a couple of extra days and visit the other outstanding climbing areas in the refuge. You can find information about the Mt. Scott technical climbing areas here:

   o Aaron Gibson's WMWR Climbing Website
       Includes descriptions of Upper and Lower Mt. Scott technical climbs, as well as other climbing and bouldering areas in the WMWR.

   o Rockclimbing.com Wichita Mountains Page
       A comprehensive listing of technical climbing routes in the WMWR is linked from this page.

Hiking the Mountain. The most popular way to hike to the summit is along the road. It's a narrow road in places, so always be careful for oncoming traffic. And, as previously mentioned, large groups are prohibited. If bushwhacking is more to your liking, then much of the entire mountain is open to your climbing pleasure. There is plenty of dense foliage, as well as some open areas with fields of boulders for scrambling. Many climbers chose to summit adjacent Mt. Scott's Boy during their climb of Mt. Scott.

Bicycling To The Summit: A lot of bicyclists come to Mt. Scott. The road is approximately 3 miles and has a grade of 8 degrees in some places. The ride up is a real gut-buster. Don't attempt this unless you have done aerobic training.

The ride down has the potential to be extremely treacherous. The first curve from the summit is very tight and has a steep grade. Beware of dangerous crosswinds and wind shear which could make your bike unstable. The best advice is to use your brakes and try to keep your speed under 20 MPH. The ride is so short that your brakes won't experience heat failure.

If you are driving up or down Mt. Scott, please use respect and extreme caution when passing bike riders. Good biking!

Camping and Dining

There are several camping and lodging opportunities around the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Refer to the Camping and Lodging section on SP's WMWR page for further information. Refer to the Dining section on SP's WMWR page for further information about two nearby restaurants: Meers Store and Restaurant and Ann's Country Kitchen.
Wichita Mountains across Lake Latonka
Mt. Scott, Mt. Wall and Mt. Sheridan as seen from Latonka Campground.

Mountain Conditions

The road up Mt. Scott is closed in fog and in snowy, icy conditions.

The rock on Mt. Scott is granite. It looks like a huge boulder pile, but is actually well suited for climbing with slabs, fissured walls and gritty faces. Many of the routes are covered with lichen.
An example of the rock on Mt....
The triple roof, 5.10c route "Repeat After Me" is just above Jackie.

Essential Gear

Mt. Scott is primarily a traditional climbing area; however, it also has several sport routes. The longest sport route has five bolts. One 60-meter rope will suffice since all routes are less than 100 ft. Only a couple of the routes have fixed anchors, so bring pro, lockers, and slings, including a couple of 20 footers, to make your own anchors. A few of the routes have natural anchor possibilities, i.e., boulders, trees, etc. A helmet is recommended due to the loose rock on top of most walls, especially on a busy weekend with other climbers around.

Miscellaneous Info

Lawton, Oklahoma is 25 miles southeast and has everything you need including hotels, restaurants, Wal-Mart, etc. Closer in, Medicine Park borders the refuge on the east side and has a small grocery/convenience store. Most get supplies/food at the Loves truck stop at exit 45. There are also a Burger King, a Sonic and a bar of ill repute at exit 45.

The refuge has a very nice visitor center about five miles west of Mt. Scott on the main road. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 pm during the summer (reduced hours are in effect during other seasons). The visitor center has a museum, information, rest rooms and a gift shop. Admission is free and the gift shop sells guidebooks, maps, and souvenirs. The closest restroom to Mt. Scott is in the picnic area across Highway 49 from the entrance. There is another one 1.5 miles east near the entrance to the refuge at the Lake Elmer Thomas parking lot on the south side of the highway. Drinking water may be obtained at the parking lot in front of the visitor center, at the Quanah Parker Environmental Education Center turn-off and at the refuge headquarters.

Ft. Sill Army Base borders the south side of the refuge and there is a manned gate to the base a half mile west of I-44 exit 45. If you hear thunder on a clear day, it is not a freak of nature, but the Army firing cannon at the Ft. Sill artillery range.

For further information about the refuge, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Route 1, Box 448,
Indiahoma, OK 73552 (580) 429-3222

Local Ethics

In addition to the USFWS, the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition (WMCC) is instrumental with oversight of climbing at the refuge. In February 1996, the WMCC was formed as a volunteer, climber-run organization, to represent the interests of rock climbers from the surrounding states. With the Access Fund, they have worked hard for many years to ensure climbing continues in the refuge. Without the WMCC, the USFWS may have easily closed climbing in the refuge years ago. In fact, the WMCC climbing management plan is a national role model for climbing management, and the Wichita Mountains are featured on the cover of the Access Fund’s Climbing Management Manual. Therefore, in the spirit of cooperation with the USFWS, the WMCC has ethics/rules which must be respected in order to preserve climbing in this area.

1. Placement, removal or replacement of fixed anchors, including bolts, pitons, rivets, coldshuts, and chains, is prohibited without prior approval of refuge management through the Advisory Bolting Committee (ABC) of the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition. Any climber desiring to add, remove, or replace any fixed anchor must submit a "Fixed Anchor Application" for review by Refuge Management and the ABC. Applications are reviewed quarterly, and the reviews are based on aesthetic and natural resource criteria. Applications are available at the Refuge Headquarters.

2. Commercial or instructional operators who charge for their services while on refuge lands are required to obtain an annual Special Use Permit from the refuge manager. A fee is required.

3. Minimize the use of chalk and clean chalked areas/routes. Brush off heavily chalked holds when possible.

4. Treat the rock gently. Do not chip, chisel, glue or otherwise deface our rock resources. Leave the rock and surrounding area in its natural condition.

5. Climb and travel in small numbers. Disperse your activities.

6. Use natural colored nylon webbing if you must leave fixed slings.

7. This area is a wildlife refuge populated by elk, bison, longhorn cattle, deer and other wild animals. Do not disturb the wildlife.

8. Leave No Trace!

Guidebooks/Maps

The guidebook, Oklahoma Select by Tony Mayse, is a must to fully enjoy Mt. Scott and the other climbing areas of the Wichitas. It is available at the visitor center gift shop or by mail order from the gift shop. Call the gift shop manager, Fred Crosson, at (580) 429-3187, or email fcrosson@sprynet.com. You can also get the book from www.sharpendbooks.com. Unfortunately, it is not available at amazon.com. It's available at Chesslerbooks.com books, but Chessler takes forever to ship anything, so recommend getting it directly from Sharpend or a local gear store. (Note: A rumor heard at the gift shop in August 09 is that this book is now out of print. If you can confirm either way, please PM the page owners).

Another guidebook is The Oklahoma Climber's Guide by Chuck Lohn. This book is currently out of print, so if you find one, hang on to it forever.

Online descriptions of the Upper and Lower Mt. Scott climbing areas may be found here:

   o Aaron Gibson's WMWR Climbing Website
       Includes descriptions of Upper and Lower Mt. Scott technical climbs, as well as other climbing and bouldering areas in the WMWR.

   o Rockclimbing.com Upper Mount Scott Page
       A comprehensive listing of technical climbing routes on Upper Mount Scott is linked from this page.

   o Rockclimbing.com Lower Mount Scott Page
       A comprehensive listing of technical climbing routes on Lower Mount Scott is linked from this page.

A topo map of the refuge is sold at the visitor center and refuge headquarters. For free information and a map, call the refuge headquarters at (580) 429-3222.

The USGS quadrangle for Mt. Scott is Mount Scott. An electronic version has been made available under the Creative Commons License.

   o USGS Mt. Scott Quadrangle Topographic Map
       The USGS quadrangle that includes Mt. Scott.

External Links

   o Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
       Official home page of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).

   o Seven-Day Forecast for Indiahoma, OK (WMWR)
       National Weather Service website with seven-day forecast for Indiahoma, and current weather for Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.

   o Aaron Gibson's WMWR Climbing Website
       Includes descriptions of Upper and Lower Mt. Scott technical climbs, as well as other climbing and bouldering areas in the WMWR.

   o Rockclimbing.com Wichita Mountains Page
       A comprehensive listing of technical climbing routes in the WMWR is linked from this page.

   o USGS Mt. Scott Quadrangle Topographic Map
       The USGS quadrangle that includes Mt. Scott. This electronic version has been made available under the Creative Commons License.

   o Access Fund
       Official website of the Access Fund, a national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment.

   o Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition
       Official website of the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition, whose mission is to insure that the climbing resources and natural environment of the Wichita Mountains are protected.

Images