Ascent of Whiteoak Mountain on 2012-03-05

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Date:Monday, March 5, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Whiteoak Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina/South Carolina
    Elevation:3297 ft / 1004 m

Ascent Trip Report

I arrived on Sassafras Mountain raring to go amidst sunshine and 48 degrees after a miserable day and a half of driving and high pointing through gray skies, snow flurries, heavy winds, and low 30s. After the disappointing 5 minute round trip from the parking area to the top, I was enticed by the signs for the Foothills Trail that apparently runs 14+ miles to another state park. One of the dilemmas of starting a hike at the top of a mountain is that you have to go down, knowing that you'll have to ascend again at the end when you're not as fresh as when you started.

I started down on this well-marked and well-maintained trail descending fairly steeply--nearly 700 feet in 0.8 mi. to a gap, and then inevitably up the other side. After about 2/3 of a mile and 475 feet of elevation gain I reached the next ridge line. The trail headed left, but the highest ground was clearly to the right--about 50 yards. At what I took to be the highest spot I found a metal pole just like the ones used occasionally as trail markers on the Foothills Trail. The trip back, with the majority of the elevation gain, was more tiring than I expected. I guess a winter during which my peak bagging has mostly been limited to short ascents up Pennsylvania and West Virginia hills left me with reduced endurance. Spring and summer beckon!

Round trip: 3.0 mi., 1220 feet total elevation gain (not counting the 60 feet up Sassafras Mt.). Only on my return did I discover that I had actually climbed a ranked peak listed in the data base.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1421 ft / 433 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1621 ft / 494 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Descent (To Destination) Statistics
    Gain on way in:1421 ft / 433 m
    Loss on way in:1621 ft / 494 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Start Trailhead:Sassafras Mt. parking  3497 ft / 1065 m
    Time:43 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Time:50 Minutes

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