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Ascent to Quillen Mountain-Gum Gap Road on 2019-03-11

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Date:Monday, March 11, 2019
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Point Reached:Quillen Mountain - Gum Gap Road
    Location:USA-North Carolina/South Carolina
    Elevation:3080 ft / 938 m
    Remaining Elevation:178 ft / 55 m (100% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine Quillen Mountain is the 14th highest named highpoint in South Carolina. I had tried gaining access to Quillen Mountain the day before on Cardinal Road, but I met a sign indicating this was a private community and there was no trespassing. I had seen a similar sign earlier when I was trying to access Grassy Top Mountain (the 13th highest named highpoint in South Carolina), so I was not optimistic about my summit success; however, I saw a man searching for golf balls along the fairway of the golf course at the beginning of Cardinal Road and I figured he might have some more encouraging information. I was very wrong! Although this individual was never rude, he was not very friendly and he was extremely curt. In addition, he had a snarling dog beside him and he made no effort to temper his unpleasant "pet." He informed me only residents and guest are allowed up Cardinal Road. I asked if he lived up there and he replied,"Yes." I asked if he could allow me to drive up to Quillen Mountain and he answered harshly,"I can't give you permission to do that!" I gave up hope to summit Quillen Mountain and as I drove away I wondered what a man so wealthy that he could live in an exclusive private mountain community was doing searching for golf balls in the woods along the fairway of a golf course! The next day, when I was driving up the road to Gum Gap to climb Bursted Rock Mountain and Dolves Mountain, my GPS indicated I was less than .25 air mile from Quillen Mountain. I was amazed and my optimism skyrocketed only to be grounded again when I did a Google Map Satellite search and discovered a direct line bushwhacking to the highpoint would have me hiking right beside the homes of area residents. I did find a noninhabited approach route, but it would have required nearly twice the distance through dense vegetation and leave my car parked in a conspicuous place. I worried the man I met yesterday with the vicious dog might detect my presence and call law enforcement. I contented myself with a less stressful activity on public lands that had not yet been grabbed up by wealthy individuals and enjoyed a long highpoint adventure to other summits. Fred Lobdell might be the only Peakbagger to ever have the opportunity to log a successful climb for Quillen Mountain. He did so a long time ago on 12/23/1995.
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