Ascent of County Corner Point on 2019-08-07

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:County Corner Point
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5060 ft / 1542 m

Ascent Trip Report

Followed Tom Layton's precise coordinates from Tusquitee Bald. It is a tricky peak. and more logistically tough than than per foot elevation. I had climbed Laurel Point SW Ridge and Standing Indian in the past 24 hours.

Followed the Fires Creek Rim Trail where it intersects with the Old Road Gap Trail and the Shinbone Ridge Trail. From there I trusted GPS to lead to the HP. A strange angle twisted route.

TOM's DIRECTIONS, BETTER THAN MINE: Ascend the Chunky Gal Trail (Trail 77) from Tuni Gap Road, which is 3 miles to Tusquitee Bald. The trail crosses Big Tuni Creek several times on slippery rocks and then makes an intense 500-foot climb to the ridgeline. There are intermittent blue plastic blazes nailed to the trees, but there are also places where you'll wonder if you've lost the path. Once you're on Dead Line Ridge, the walking is not as steep and the path is more obvious. The trail reaches the summit plateau between Tusquitee Bald to the left and Signal Bald to the right. Follow the unmarked path to the north about 200 yards to bag Signal Bald, with some nice clifftop views along the way. Signal Bald may actually be the higher of the two summits. Return to the trail and it's only a short distance to the small clearing on Tusquitee Bald. The 1934 USGS benchmark, etched with the elevation 5,246, is on a loose stone about 20 feet from the high ground.

From here, we followed the Fires Creek Rim Trail north toward the County Corners area. We descended probably 100 feet to the Rim Trail and then had to climb almost all of it back. Turns out that the Rim Trail passes through the rhododendron just west of the summit campsite. Learn from our mistake and look for this shortcut.

The Rim Trail is an adventure in itself--a 25-mile horseshoe that follows the ridgeline around the Fires Creek basin. Click here for the USFS map and guide. Other than the two ends, no roads approach the trail, and maintenance is rare, so we spent a lot of time working our way around fallen trees.

After about 1.6 miles on the Rim Trail, you will come to County Corners. Here, the Shinbone Ridge Trail (Trail 80) descends to the west and the Old Road Gap Trail goes down the ridge that follows the Macon-Cherokee boundary to the northeast. In theory, these two trails offer the most direct access to the Cherokee County HP. In reality, Road 340 is washed out so there is no direct access to the Shinbone Ridge trailhead.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2614 ft / 796 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2614 ft / 796 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.7 mi / 12.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2614 ft / 796 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  2446 ft / 745 m
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2614 ft / 796 m
    Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    End Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  2446 ft / 745 m
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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