Ascent of The Bald on 2011-07-27

Climber: Tom Layton

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:The Bald
    Location:USA-North Carolina/Tennessee
    Elevation:4657 ft / 1419 m

Ascent Trip Report

The key to this hike is finding the old Vaught Gap Road, which is shown on the topo but not evident on the ground. It's now signed as Bear Track Lane and looks like a driveway in the Seasons Ridge neighborhood.

From US 421 at the TN/NC line, head N, turn L on Bulldog Road, cross the state line into NC, and take the next R onto Seasons Drive. Continue 0.2 miles and turn L onto Bear Track Lane (the old Vaught Gap Road). A sturdy 4WD might make it all the way up to the gap, but I parked my Accord after 0.15 miles in the yard of a cabin that burned earlier this year. Elev. 3800. There are no houses further up the road.

Hike 0.4 miles up to Vaught Gap, where another unmaintained road crosses the Vaught Gap road. Take the road to the L (SW) and follow it up the TN side of the ridge. At 0.9 miles cumulative, the road crests the 4400 bump and begins to descend the TN side. From here, bushwhack across the saddle and follow the NC/TN state line on your GPS to the summit at 1.3 miles. This is an easy bushwhack even in summertime, with no briars, no rhododendron, and no ledges.

Alas, no views, either. Whatever bald there may have been has been grown over for decades. There is a large tree on the summit where someone has nailed 1x4 boards to create a rickety ladder. There might be a bit of a view up there, but I'm too big for tree houses anymore.

I presume at least part of this route is privately owned, but I didn't encounter any gate, fence, postings, or deer-stands. At Vaught Gap, the land NE of the road is posted, but the hike goes SW.

2.6 miles round trip. About 850 feet vertical gain. 1 hour up, 35 minutes down.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:937 ft / 285 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:Vaught Gap Road, bushwhack
    Trailhead:Bear Track Lane  3800 ft / 1158 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:36 Minutes

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