Ascent of Old Black on 2012-09-03

Climber: Coby King

Date:Monday, September 3, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Old Black
    Location:USA-North Carolina/Tennessee
    Elevation:6370 ft / 1941 m

Ascent Trip Report

After spending the night at the Red Roof Inn in Newport, TN (reasonably priced and recommended), I awoke early, ate at the Waffle House next door, and drove to Cosby Campground. I found the hiker’s parking lot, and got out to hike. It was raining fairly steadily, so I put on my rain gear, and started out at about 7:50 am. The rain dissipated to a mist, and I was overheating, so shortly before I reached the trailhead proper, I stopped at an empty campsite and put away my rain gear, which stayed in my pack for the duration. I easily found the trailhead for the gravel part of the Snake Den Ridge Trail, and then on to the trail proper. I found the crossings of Little Rock and Inadu Creeks to be incredibly picturesque, and then attacked the climb of Snake Den Mountain. While certainly steep, I found the trail excellently engineered, and reached the Madron Bald intersection by 10:20, and the Appalachian Trail by 11 am. Then the fun started.

I started looking for the Old Black turnoff of at about 11:30, but the waypoint I had marked (just past the saddle before Old Black) seemed completely impassable. After wandering back and forth for a bit, I finally left the AT at the point where it is due west of the peak. After following the contour for a bit through open woods, I struck to the northeast toward the summit. What a mess. An incredibly difficult and soaking wet bushwhack. I finally struggled to the summit, and after looking in vain for a better route to the southeast, I started back down to the northeast. I actually had a pretty easy time of it, mostly following the areas covered by ferns and avoiding the bushes and immature trees. In just a few minutes, I reached the AT at 295956mE 3954878mN at about 12:35 pm. I would recommend this spot for future hikers, from which it’s pretty much a straight southeast route to the summit.

Back on the AT, I now looked for a turnoff to Guyot. After a little trial and error, I found what looked like a fairly open route at 295503mE 3953806mN. This spot is just before the trail seems to start going down (marked on the map as 6305), and also a little east of the spring indicated on the topo. From here, I proceeded up through some dark but open woods for about 100 yards (about to the place indicated between the “S” and “p” in “Spring”), and then started making my way south east toward the summit. Except for a minor exception, I was able to stay on ferns or through open woods all the way to the summit, and found the cairn with little trouble. On the way back, I turned to the north too early, which cost me some bushwhacking and a few minutes. All in all, much easier than Old Black.

A couple of notes: I saw no ribbons on either peak. Also, my mileage is longer and elevation gain more than other reports because I counted everything from the hiker’s lot. Also, while I saw a few people on the Snake Den Ridge Trail (all appeared to be backpackers), I saw no one on the AT itself.

The way back was uneventful. A fantastic hike, the best I’ve enjoyed in the East.

Round trip stats per my GPS from the hiker’s parking lot:

Mileage: 17.8
Moving Time: 7:16
Stopped Time: 2:05
Moving Average: 2.5
Overall Average: 1.9
Total Gain: 4642
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
See trip report for details
Ascent Part of Trip: Old Black / Guyot (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Old Black2012-09-03
2Mount Guyot2012-09-03

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