Ascent of Big Frog Mountain on 2013-01-31

Climber: Lee Newton

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Big Frog Mountain
    Elevation:4200 ft / 1280 m

Ascent Trip Report

During a business trip to the US, I knew I would have a free day in Tennesee. I planned to drive east to climb both Big Frog Mountain and Huckleberry Knob. The day before, a reasonably big winter storm passed through the Appalaichians, leaving the Cherohala Skyway (access to Huckleberry) probably closed. However, I set off in hope for Big Frog Mountain.

Following the directions of Fred Lobdell, I turned off the highway on to Cookson Creek Road just after dawn. The problems started immediately after the road turned to gravel, there were so many fallen branches I had to keep stopping my rental SUV and dragging them on to the side of the road. Progress was slow but steady. Near Sylco campground one was large enough I was glad of recent time in the gym. Then shortly after the turn off on to FR221 I was stopped by a full sized tree completely blocking the road. Scanning the map I could see there was another route, so continued on FR55 until the junction with Big Frog Loop Road. This road was in a much poorer state with plenty of water damage. Without high clearance it is doubtful if I would have made it past the Jack River Falls parking. More road clearance work, including another small tree I had to move using a branch lever followed. 2 hours after leaving the highway I finally made it to the trailhead.

The hike was worth the effort, the route followed a nice ridgeline, and were some views through the bare trees. There was an icy wind with the temperature around freezing. Higher up the trees and branches were coated with ice, and there was a dusting of snow, turning to a couple of inches on top. When the sun came out the effect was beautiful.

The trail was easy to follow and had two variations in the mid part, a switchback horse trail, which I used in ascent, and a steeper footpath keeping true to the ridgeline, which I used in descent.

On the way out I stopped to admire Jacks river, swollen and angry with runoff from the storm. I was grateful to have made it close enough to the mountain to hike it, and had no energy or time left to drive to Cherohala. Instead I made the drive to Huntsville, AL, where I had my final meeting of the trip the next day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1969 ft / 600 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1969 ft / 600 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.1 mi / 11.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1969 ft / 600 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    Route:Chestnut Mountain Trail and Wolf Trail
    Start Trailhead:Chestnut Mountain Trailhead  2231 ft / 680 m
    Time:1 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1969 ft / 600 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route:Chestnut Mountain Trail and Wolf Trail
    End Trailhead:Chestnut Mountain Trailhead  2231 ft / 680 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Lee Newton
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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