Ascent of Dicks Knob on 2020-04-04

Climber: Ken Fedor

Others in Party:buddy Jason
Date:Saturday, April 4, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Dicks Knob
    Elevation:4600 ft / 1402 m

Ascent Trip Report

Beautiful late Spring weekend for a hike/camp! From Clayton, west on 76, north on Persimmon Rd, north on Coleman River Rd which turns into Forest Service (FS) 54. At this point, 32C branches off to the SE but a new gate is locked. 54 continues back SW and uphill for about a 1/2 mile then, at a small parking lot with fire ring, the rest of the way is on foot. In early 2020, a permanent gate was installed and a bulldozer created berms to restrict all but nimble ATVs. A similar berm is at the other end of this "dashed line" section of 54. An easy 1/4 mile up this section reveals a 40' or so waterfall accessible from the top off the trail (FS54). No name of waterfall or even the creek that feeds it. I did not record any of these distances but assume it's a mile from here up to the split for Chestnut Mountain - a lovely, large flat field with a fire ring. This field appears to be completely man-made and is accessible via the "southern loop" of FS 54. The entrance to the "southern loop" is just after the log homestead "Fisher Ranch" and the bridge just north of that on Coleman River Rd.

From Chestnut Mountain, it's an easy gradual hike along the old Jeep road (as a Jeep CJ owner, I must capitalize the "J" in Jeep) due north to Steeltrap Knob. Here, there are the last remnants of a hunting camp (ok, a piece of plywood and some two-buh-fours) along with a sign "The ladders". This, per other posts, is the trail southeastward down (steeply down) toward Tate Branch campground via Tate Branch creek. Continuing north toward Dicks Knob from here, enter bushwhacking at its finest but the faintest, slightly worn trail can be detected. Early April brambles greeted us every 12 inches or so and let us know their abilities to cut. Should've worn my gators or long pants. Older pink ribbons appear every 100' or so, some have deteriorated and lay on the ground. Newer white ribbons are tied closer up toward Dicks Knob. Both were helpful at confirming our compass bearings. The use of gloves, primarily to snap these brambles was helpful. 2/3 of the way up from Steeltrap Knob to DK were some easy to navigate mountain laurel stands that would've made a nice, albeit tight campsite. But we soldiered on, full pack, up to DK. The last 1000' or so were flat but filled with brambles, again I tried to step on and snap them to create at least the semblance of a passable trail. At the top, we cleared a space for a small campsite and hammock camped under the nearly full moon. No posts or sign indicating the top but a newer "DK" is carved in a thin tree near the cleared area. A fresh fire ring is also here.
Return trip easily followed ascent.

Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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