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Ascent of Ridgepole Mountain on 2014-03-02

Climber: Dan Hildebrand

Date:Sunday, March 2, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Ridgepole Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5043 ft / 1537 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was part of my final Georgia 4000 footer hike on Grassy Ridge. One list down, may as well get to work on another!

After hitting the Grassy Ridge summit to the south, my partner and I bushwhacked to Nichols Gap. There is a trail crossing Nichols Gap that heads north around Ridgepole and up to the AT. My map only showed part of this trail coming down from the AT, but it does in fact go all the way down to the gap. If you're going the other way, and you follow it well, it will take you south past Grassy Ridge and to the Patterson Gap road as well.

So we followed the trail until we saw the beginning of a dry rocky stream heading up the south summit of Ridgepole and decided that walk around the other side would be less fun. It got pretty dense, but after a while we were able to pull ourselves pretty easily through mature Rhododendron forests to the top. We spent some time on the ridge line admiring the lack of views and ensuring that my GPS had lead us to the high point, and then walked north to check out the AT. The north side of the mountain is much more gradual, and probably would have made for a better ascent, but at least made for an easy descent. We were on the AT for like 5 minutes and then hit Carter Gap Shelter and (eventually) found our return trail just south west of the Gap. The return trip to GA was nice and we paused for a nice, long sunbath on a huge downed tree that had opened up the view.
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