Ascent of Hogback Mountain on 2019-03-08

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, March 8, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hogback Mountain
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:3189 ft / 972 m

Ascent Trip Report

The weather was very overcast and questionable for a dry climb, but I didn't want to sit in my motel room waiting for a chance for a weather window tomorrow. Despite Tom Layton's report warning of signs threatening to tow "tresparkers," I chose to access Hogback Mountain from Hogback Mountain Road. I got to within 1.76 air miles of the summit when I reached a substantial locked pipe gate at an elevation of 2825 feet, but there were no warning signs threatening towing vehicles. I did back my car up the road, however, about 100 yards from the gate, so I would not interfere with any officials passing through. The coordinates here were: 35.19582 N 82.29308 W I started my hike at 9:33 AM and had to descend about 20 feet to a small saddle before beginning the climb. I reached the top of a pass at an elevation of 3077 feet after covering a little over 1 mile. From here there was an elevation loss close to 500 feet to Vaughns Gap at a little less than 2600 feet. This is the gap that Tom Layton intersected during his climb in 2017, but he had to cover 3.2 miles to get here. I was now only 2 miles into my hike and it was only .6 air miles to the summit from here at a posted pipe gate that warned of "High Level Radio Frequency Energy Area." At 70 years old and having had a great life already, I chose to risk damaging my brain or body with the threat of "High Level Energy." The road here was steep in places and gained nearly 600 feet with several switchbacks forcing a climbing distance greater than the .6 air miles from the posted gate. Just before 11:00 AM, after 2 hours of climbing, I reached the summit after covering a total of 3.23 miles. The summit area was covered with a large complex of TV transmission equipment and surrounded with a high chain-linked fence topped with a coil of razor barbed wire, but an entrance gate was wide open and it invited me in just as it started to rain. I took shelter under a covered area next to the tall TV tower. I did not find the benchmarks mentioned by Tom Layton, but I did not look very hard due to the bad weather, however, I was directly under the tower and I did not see what should have been an easy find. I left the summit in the rain at 11:13 AM with water dripping off my poncho to the bottom of my pants and into my boots. I reached the posted gate at 11:41 AM and the top of the opposite pass at 12:06 PM. I was back at my car at 12:28 PM, so I was 45 minutes faster returning than climbing, but the rainy weather was definitely a huge motivator in forcing me to make a fast exit. Before I reached my car I could see my very dim headlights glowing. I had left my lights on! Of course, I had no luck cranking the engine, but since I had moved my car 100 yards UP the hill away from the pipe gate, I had plenty of room to coast down and pop the clutch with good success. I sure am glad I don't drive a car with automatic transmission or I would have had to add several more miles to my already active day!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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