Ascent of Potato Knob on 2009-08-09

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Sunday, August 9, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Potato Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6400 ft / 1950 m

Ascent Trip Report

MTS trail to a difficult overgrown herd path with some bushwack.

Potato Knob is located at the junction of the BRP and rte #128 (Mile 355.4) which leads to the Mt Mitchell State Park. The climb starts on the Mountain To Sea Trail (MTS), west side of rte #128 (elev 5400'), .6mi from the BRP .... parking available for 3-4 cars.

The MTS trail climbs on the east side of the main Potato Knob ridge before going over to the west side of the ridge ..... where the trail bends right on top of the ridge, a good wide herd path on the right heads north up the ridge, it is blocked with tree branches. If you stay on the MTS and come to the first open view, you've gone too far.
THe herd path is easy to follow at the bottom and at the top end, however in between it is badly overgrown at places, brier bushes, very steep, difficult to stay on the path, short stretches of bushwacking, lot of back tracking .... I found it difficult and tiresome.

The summit is completely wooded, it offers no views, the High Point is one of large rocks on either side of the trail ... take your pick. My information told me that the herd path continues to Clingmans Peak, I didn't look for it.

On the descent I had trouble staying on the herd path, at places it Y'd to two good paths ... stay on the ridge and you'll be fine, I favoured right to the MTS side. I came out at the point of entry. 2 1/2 hour RT.

Ensure that you are properly dressed for bushwacking in briers, I wasn't (shorts and t) and got cut up pretty good. Rose wasn't too happy with me. While I was in the bush getting cut up she drove up to the Mount Mitchell Park Office and restaurant area.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1000 ft / 305 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:mtn to sea trail/herd path from mt mitchell rd
    Trailhead:mt mitchell park rd #128  5400 ft / 1645 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack

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