Ascent of Hightower Bald on 2014-02-23

Climber: Carlie Turk

Others in Party:William Turk
Date:Sunday, February 23, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hightower Bald
    Elevation:4568 ft / 1392 m

Ascent Trip Report

Well, this one was interesting. We definitely were not prepared, and made many mistakes in the process, but we did make it to the top! It was the first peak we hiked that we questioned whether we would make it or not in the process. When we left the house, we weren't sure what peak we would be attempting to bag for the day, but we ended up deciding to try for Hightower Bald. Our biggest mistake was that we underestimated the length of the hike and how much time we would need to complete it. We decided to start out at Bluridge Gap on the AT and hike out towards Rich Knob, then go over or around it to get to the ridge that leads up to Hightower. This section of the AT is a pretty easy trek, not very up and down, so we started out in high spirits. After studying the maps, we thought the best approach would be to go around Rich Knob to get to the ridge. So when we got to where to AT goes to the right of Rich, we went off trail and headed left, around the other side of the knob. Boy, were we wrong about this being the best way. It was steep, bouldery, and had many areas populated with thick mountain laurel. It ended up being a mile from where we broke off the AT to the ridge that was on the other side of Rich Knob. Thankfully, though, there was a small trail that we found that took us almost to the top of Hightower. By the time we got to the top of Hightower, we had hiked 5 miles and it was 5 pm. There was also not a great view. We tiredly trekked back towards the AT, but this time we went straight over the top of Rich Knob, which even though it was quite steep, it was much easier. By the time we got back to the AT, we only had about 15 minutes of daylight left, so we ended up having to hike the last two miles in the dark. Thankfully we had flashlights. We decided that the highlight of this hike was getting to mark it off our list of peaks to bag.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3919 ft / 1195 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3919 ft / 1195 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Trailhead:649 ft / 197 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km

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