Ascent of Abel Fire Tower on 2010-03-25

Climber: Dave Dunham

Date:Thursday, March 25, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Abel Fire Tower
    Elevation:1467 ft / 447 m

Ascent Trip Report

I settled in for the long drive from Iuka MS to Cheaha State Park in Alabama. The driving went by quickly with some good tunes and only a few areas where the speed limit was less than 70. I covered the 240 miles in less than four hours. It was eerily quiet on top, except for the hum of cell towers. At 3:30 on a Thursday I had the place to myself. The stone tower was pretty neat, but there was no view from the top due to a lot of rain clouds. I found a witness marker but couldn’t find the benchmark on the summit; I also never saw a register. Next up I drove down to the Pinhoti trailhead and headed out for a nice relaxing run. It was a bit rocky in spots but mostly very run-able. I bagged the summit of Hernandez peak (Clay County High Point – 2,344’) and continued on to McDill point (2,188’). On the way back I picked out the National forest boundary which was blazed in red, and bushwhacked around a bit to make sure I got the NF high point. On the way back I picked up the jeep trail that is on the topo map but for some reason not on the state park map. It turned out to be a nicer run with better footing. The round trip was a little more than 5 miles. I made one more stop on my way out of the park doing a quick 1 mile round trip run up/down Abel peak. The summit had one of the tallest firetowers I’ve ever seen. It was also the most rickety I’ve ever attempted to climb. The first flight of stairs and one rail had been removed. I negotiated that and the first landing had ½ the boards still in place. I started climbing higher and the entire tower seemed to be shaking. That was enough for me. Back to the car and off for a 256 mile drive to Andalusia AL for the night.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:117 ft / 35 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Trailhead:1350 ft / 411 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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