Ascent of Eagle Mountain on 2017-04-21

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, April 21, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Eagle Mountain
    Elevation:4240 ft / 1292 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine, Eagle Mountain is tied with Flint Knob as the 15th highest named highpoint in Georgia, however, my GPS indicted an elevation of nearly 4260 feet on the summit of Flint Knob, so Eagle Mountain might be the 16th highest named highpoint in Georgia. I did not take a reading on the summit of Eagle Mountain, but GPS elevations are usually not that accurate anyway for absolute altitude data. I stopped at the Hickory Hut Cove Resort to ask for information and met the owner, Ray, who was extremely friendly. He even closed his office and took me on a short ride in his truck to show me a great view of Eagle Mountain to the west overlooking Swam Lake before he allowed me to follow him as he showed me firsthand the turnoff for Ben Gap Road (34.97416 N 83.72451 W). Ben Gap road is paved for awhile then turns to dirt and I was only able to drive about 1/2 mile up the unpaved road before the wheels on my tiny 1991 Ford Festiva began to spin in the mud, so I backed up to a parking spot big enough for 2 or 3 cars at 34.965494 N 83.71966 W and started my climb there. From here my GPS only showed 1.64 air miles to the summit, but the actual hiking miles is much greater than that. I started hiking at 4:28 PM and followed the road. I reached an un-posted metal gate in just 13 minutes at 34.95682 N 83.72231 W, but I was now 1.85 air miles from the summit. Past the metal gate the road continued and it was easy travel, but it was not a direct route. Eventually, I was closing in on the ridgeline north of Eagle Mountain and I left the trail at 34.95026 N 83.69265 W in order to cut the corner instead of getting farther and farther away from my goal. After a steep climb I intersected a ridgeline trail that I was able to follow all the way to the summit. I was very relieved, because I did not summit until 7:10 PM and without the trail I probably would have had to bail out, since it would have gotten dark on me. As a result I summited and was back on the ascent road at 8:20 PM, which was just a little after sunset. Of course, I didn't make it back to my car before dark, but it was an easy hike back on the road. My total distance hiking was 9.3 miles and I did not reach my car until 9:35 PM for a total of a little over 5 hours. This climb was a lot more physical than I expected, but I was successful and it was an enjoyable experience.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack

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