Ascent of Bullhead Mountain on 2011-08-10

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bullhead Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5920 ft / 1804 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Mountain-to-Sea Trail passes tantalyzingly close to this summit. Make it to the top, though, and you'll be counted among the few and the proud.

Park at the Graybeard Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Milepost 363. Head east on the MST for about 0.6 miles, where it crests at about 5820--just 100 vertical below the top.

The bushwhack from this point is hand-to-hand combat: peakbagger vs. one of the thickest thickets I've ever encountered. Toward the top, the heath is so thick that a lighter hiker might be able to body-surf over some patches. I pushed through it until I reached an outcropping with a nice panorama of Craggy Dome and ridges to the west. I would have been content to call that the summit. But my GPS insisted that I head NE another 50 yards, and I eventually did find the highest ground (with limited views) in a tangle of trees beyond the worst of the heath bald. Rather than retrace my miserable steps, I headed directly down the N slope, looking in vain for a shortcut back to the MST. I escaped the shrubbery only to have to fight through blowdowns and thorns.

Glad to mark this one off my list.

I saw no sign that that anyone else had been up here recently.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:474 ft / 144 m
    Total Elevation Loss:474 ft / 144 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:434 ft / 132 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 394 ft / 120 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Route:MST, then bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Bullhead Overlook  5526 ft / 1684 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:434 ft / 132 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 394 ft / 120 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Gain on way out:40 ft / 12 m
    Route:Bushwhack, then MST
    End Trailhead:Bullhead Overlook  5526 ft / 1684 m

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