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Ascent of Pinnacle Mountain on 2010-10-10

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Sunday, October 10, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pinnacle Mountain
    Location:USA-Tennessee
    Elevation:3520 ft / 1072 m

Ascent Trip Report

The summit of Buffalo Mtn (also known as Pinnacle Mtn) is tantalyzingly close to I-26 at Exit 32. Unless you prefer a steep bushwhack along a power line, you'll be wise to start from Exit 24.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS
From I-26 exit 24, zero your odometer as you turn left (westward) onto US321 toward East Tennessee State U and Johnson City. (Technically, this is US321 South, but that's easily confused in this part of TN, because 321 is signed South both ways out of nearby Elizabethton.)
0.8 bear left onto TN 67.
2.8 turn left onto Lone Oak Road. The road sign is missing. This is opposite Cherokee Elementary School.
3.4 beyond city limits, Lone Oak Road becomes Dry Creek Road.
4.5 roadside sign indicates Lone Oak Trail to Tip Top Trail to Buffalo Mtn.
8.0 turn left onto FS188, which has an open gate. The road has been recently graveled and is passable in a car in dry weather, but don't try it in rain without 4WD.
12.5 park at a wide graveled area. Take care not to block the ATV trails which crisscross this area. The road continues beyond this point but is gated after 200 yards, and this is the last place to park without blocking the road.

HIKING DIRECTIONS
Follow the road 0.7 miles to the summit.
There is an abandoned fire tower on the summit, with a USDA BM on the SE footing. The bottom section of stairs has been removed to prevent climbing the tower. The summit is wooded and the only view is along the power line SE to Unaka Mtn.

2012 UPDATE: I hear that the tower is being repaired to be open for visitors. Also, there may now be a trail from the vicinity of Exit 24.


Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:360 ft / 109 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Trailhead:3160 ft / 963 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:15 Minutes



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