Ascent of Lookout Mountain on 2012-10-19

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
Date:Friday, October 19, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Lookout Mountain
    Elevation:2146 ft / 654 m

Ascent Trip Report

This trip was the perfect setup. I had only one more peak to do to complete my Dr. Martin Luther King "I have a dream" List and as it happened, I had a technical paper accepted at a conference in Chattanooga. I gave my presentation, shooks some hands and then rushed off to the mountain. I detest drive up peakbagging and I had researched a nifty way to pick up the peak and make it a nice hike. In all, the summit required 8 miles and nealy 1700 feet and wandered all over the mountain so it was a good way to finish the list!

We parked our car at 1:15 PM and were back at the car at 5:57 PM (about 4.5 hours). The fall colors were beginning to show but we were about 2-3 weeks early to catch peak foliage color. We did not see any wildlife on this trip. I started by myself and bushwhacked down slope of the USFS Kiddie parking lot and found a trail down to the nearby creek so I could interpolate a real starting elevation from the USGS maps. The trails wandered me over near the Science Center. I used the creek floodplain as my TH. Then I picked Karen up and we proceeded up slope.

That morning the view of the mountain was clear but by the time my presentation was over and we were ready to leave, the mountain became all "foggy" and the visibility was horrible. How? It was a sunny clear day? It turned out on the news that a large dust storm from Oklahoma had blown in. The fine particulate matter in the air was so small you could not feel it, but our eyes turned red all day. It diminished what should have been wonderful views.

We climbed up the Col. Kiddie trail and and took several jogs to the Gum Spring Trail and finally found Sunset Point. There are very nice vertical ledges that are enjoyed by rock climbers there. We then popped up to the top of the mountain and walked the streets admiring the beautiful homes on the mountain and found the water tower HP. I jumped the wall and touched the higest ground then we found the other HP at the residential home and the people were out on their front yard and we walked up and tagged close enough to that HP without being obnoxious and bothering the family. Good luck in telling at either location what was the aboriginal non-alterred ground contour.

We then went to Point Park and wandered around looking at the battleground and cannons. The cliffs from this area of the mountain are very impressive. The monuments indicate that the civil war battles that were fought here involved young men from NY, OH, MO, IA, IN, IL, AL, GA, and TN. Wow! We explored the lower museum and the Craven House battlefield and then found trails back up to the Upper Truck Trail and eventually a large meandering loop back to the car.

The trails on this trip are oddly laid out. You have short sections of relatively steep connecting pieces and then long stretches of relatively flat traverses along contours and ledges. There is a fair amount of up and down rolling terrain so there is some additional gain between trails and while wandering the top of the mountain as well.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1686 ft / 513 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1666 ft / 507 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Grade/Class:1, 1+
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
70F beautiful day but Dust Storm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1566 ft / 477 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1506 ft / 459 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Loss on way in:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Col Kiddie to Gum Spring to Sunset Rock
    Start Trailhead:Parking lot at Col Kiddie TH  640 ft / 195 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1606 ft / 489 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1486 ft / 453 m; Extra: 120 ft / 36m
    Gain on way out:120 ft / 36 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Point Park to Craven House to Upper Truck to Gum S
    End Trailhead:Parking Lot  660 ft / 201 m

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