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Ascent of Slicking Mountain on 2019-03-11

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, March 11, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Slicking Mountain
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:3320 ft / 1011 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine the southwest mound on Slicking Mountain is the 5th highest named highpoint in South Carolina. The trailhead for Slicking Mountain is located at Gum Gap (35.10274 N 82.69108 W). I don't usually provide directions to trailheads in my trip reports, but my navigation aid did not know this road access to Gum Gap and I had to figure it out on my own with the help of Tom Layton's and Fred Lobdell's trip reports. From the junction of Hwy 276 (also called Greenville Parkway) and East Fork Road, located at 35.15468 N 82.70686 W, drive up East Fork Road 1/4 mile and take a left fork. Continue on this road to 35.13717 N 82.70763 W where there is an extremely sharp left turn. At this point a gravel road begins. At 35.12494 N 82.68830 W the main road turns left with a sign there that reads,"Private Drive - No Outlet." The road to Gum Gap goes straight here. There is a crude sign nailed to a tree here that reads,"Gum Gap - 2 miles." Actually it is only 1.8 miles. There is only one more junction at State Line Road, which is private, located at 35.11931 N 82.68669 W. You continue straight here past a sign reading,"Watson-Cooper Heritage Preserve." About a 1/4 mile before Gum Gap I had to splash (float!) across a deep puddle in the middle of the road with water up to the bottom of my car doors, but I made it in my 1991 Ford Festiva. The coordinates at the Gum Gap parking area, which is surprisingly large, is 35.10274 N 82.69108 W. The trail (road) to Slicking Mountain is just west of the parking area. The road forks here and you take the right fork following the blue blazed Foothills Trail past a pipe gate. From the parking area the trailhead for Slicking Mountain is just .5 air mile away off the Foothills Trail. I reached it in 15 minutes after covering .58 mile. The coordinates here are 35.09673 N 82.69733 W. Before actually climbing Slicking Mountain I continued west on the Foothills Trail and reached the summits of both Bursted Rock Mountain and Dolves Mountain, so I did not make my attempt for Slicking Mountain until much later in the day with weather that had deteriorated. (See the separate trip reports for Bursted Rock Mountain and Dolves Mountain if interested in those climbs.) As soon as I began my southern approach to Slicking Mountain at this access point, it became a moderately thick bushwhack. To make matters worse it began to drizzle and eventually rain. It was not a pleasant hiking experience, but my motivation was quite high to bag this summit and at the trailhead along the Foothills Trail it was only .43 air mile away. The lower northeast summit of Slicking Mountain was only .29 air mile away. I decided to bag both highpoints, since you basically have to pass very close to the northeast summit in order to reach the higher southwest summit. I reached the northeast highpoint in 23 minutes after covering .34 mile. I took an elevation reading on my GPS here of 3315 feet which is lower than the highest 3320 foot contour line shown on the topo map for that spot. From here it was only .26 air mile to the higher southwest highpoint on Slicking Mountain. I reached it in 16 minutes after covering .35 mile. When I was just 200 yards from this highpoint I did intersect a road which made the travel much easier than all the bushwhacking I had experienced. With the rain coming down even harder now, I was so anxious to get back to my car that I forgot to take an elevation reading here, which I really wanted to do in order to compare the difference in the heights of the two locations on Slicking Mountain. I started back for the trailhead using the road I had discovered, but after 5 minutes when I was .24 air mile from my goal the road started going in the wrong direction and I was reduced back to bushwhacking in the wet vegetation. I reached the trailhead for Slicking Mountain at the Foothills Trail in 20 minutes after covering .54 mile from the highest point on Slicking Mountain, but just 400 feet from the trailhead I intersected a fairly decent trail which took me all the way to the Foothills Trail. It upset me that I missed seeing this path when I originally left the Foothills Trail for Slicking Mountain, but the very beginning of the hike was overgrown and I just followed my GPS heading. Now I noticed a painted turquoise blaze high in a tree at the trailhead which indicates this much better route. I do not know how far this trail would take you or how close it would get you to either of the two Slicking Mountain highpoints, but at least, it would avoid the earliest bushwhacking at the trailhead which was some of the worst. Back on the Foothills Trail again it was a much more pleasant hike back to my car at Gum Gap and it even stopped raining as I covered the last .58 mile in 15 minutes. I worried about having to get my tiny car past that huge deep puddle again on the Gum Gap Road since it had rained so much, but I splashed right through easily and I was soon back in my motel room drying out my gear and enjoying a hot shower.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack



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