Ascent of Hightower Bald on 2017-01-15

Climber: Debbie Adams

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, January 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hightower Bald
    Elevation:4568 ft / 1392 m

Ascent Trip Report

I started at Blue Ridge Gap/AT at 7:45 am and hiked about 2.5 miles. I left the trail and climbed the southeast side of Rich Knob on a ridge line. I didn't like this way, it was steep and coming from the gap before Bly Gap is better. I headed west and made it to Hightower Bald at 10;35 a.m. stayed to the left closer to the summit then went right and ended going too far and turned back around to get the summit. That was a costly mistake because The briars got the best of me.I left for Shooting Creek Bald at 10:40 am and made it to summit at 11:35 am.This part of the ridge line wasn't bad but on the west side of SCB it got worse. The first obstacle was a thick patch of rhododendron that I found a way through to the right. the next obstacle was big boulders blocking the ridge. These I skirted on the south side of ridge but it was steep. I made it to Rattlesnake knob at 1:00 pm. The hike to Mayapple knob was not bad at all and I made it by 1:35 pm. I headed back at 1:40 pm and had no problems until it was time to get around the boulders. I followed my markers on south side of ridge but I failed to regain the ridge at the right spot and ended up in some really steep terrain. I basically just climbed straight up at that point until I was back on the ridge. I made it back through the rhododendrons but a few more markers would have been helpful. Once I was back on Hightower Bald I was trying to avoid round two with the briars and stayed on north side too long and followed the wrong ridge down for about 0.20 miles before I caught my mistake and cut back south to the right ridge. I made it back to the car at 6:15 pm but I did scare a big wild boar and two deer about a mile before I made it to the trailhead. I was glad the boar ran the other way!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:322 ft / 98 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
foggy then clearing, warm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:322 ft / 98 m
    Route:Appalachian Trail/ridgeline
    Start Trailhead:Blue Ridge Gap/ AT  4246 ft / 1294 m
Descent Statistics
    End Trailhead:Blue Ridge Gap  
Ascent Part of Trip: Rich Knob,Hightower Bald,Shooting Creek Bald, Rattlesnake Knob, Mayapple Knob

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Rich Knob2017-01-15 
2Hightower Bald2017-01-15322 ft / 98 m
3Shooting Creek Bald2017-01-151317 ft / 401 m
4Rattlesnake Knob2017-01-151000 ft / 305 m
5Mayapple Knob2017-01-151034 ft / 315 m
Total Trip Gain: 3673 ft / 1119 m    Total Trip Loss: 3351 ft / 1021 m

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