Ascent of Double Knob South on 2013-11-23

Climber: Dan Hildebrand

Date:Saturday, November 23, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Double Knob South
    Elevation:4040 ft / 1231 m

Ascent Trip Report

19/29 on my GA 4000 footer quest.

I decided to hit Double Knob while taking the Wagon Train trail to Brasstown Bald. Starting at Young Harris college (there is an enormous parking lot) I quickly found the access road (near Rollins Hall) and started booking it up towards the trail. The road makes for an easy stroll. 1.25 miles in, the road becomes the trail and heads south towards Brasstown.

About .75 miles in from the trail head, you'll want to break off of the trail and stick to the ridge line towards Double Knob. Most of this area is really clear, but there are some rocky areas and the occasional impassable rhododendron thicket. It doesn't take long to get to the north summit, but don't stop there, the true summit is .4 miles to the south. The ridge line varies between being clear and pretty rough, but the south summit is brutal! There are a few great lookout rocks that peak out of the dense cover, but generally, mobility on the Double Knob South summit is terrible. If I wasn't up in the clouds (and really wet rhododendron) I would have had some incredible views!

Bushwhacking back from Double Knob was tough. Most of the advice I've seen recommends following the ridge until it merges with Wagon Train much further south. I decided, due to frustration with the dense cover on the ridge and being totally soaked in near winter conditions, that I wanted to get back to the trail as quickly as possible. While trying to find a clear path across the ridge, I stumbled upon a little stream heading down the west side of the south summit and followed it down ~600 vertical feet over .2 miles. I figured I was saving myself some future vertical and getting myself out of the thicket, but I'm pretty sure that my way was more of a pain; you should follow the ridge! Be advised, the the eastern side of the Wagon Train trail is incredibly steep, some of it literally blasted in the the side of the mountain by prison labor (hey, back story) so be careful dropping back down to the trail.

I ended up back on the trail and booked it to Brasstown. On Wagon Train, it's only a 14 mile round trip to get the Brasstown parking lot, and another 1.2 round trip to get up and down from the summit. So if you've got the time and inclination, you may as well get some awesome views and meet some tourists. While Brasstown was still in the clouds and I didn't get any views, I was rewarded 15 minutes afterwards while heading back to Young Harris. This sun finally won out and created some awesome views along the trail, and ultimately an incredible sunset!
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