Ascent of Dicks Knob on 2014-05-25

Climber: Jared Salzmann

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, May 25, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Dicks Knob
    Elevation:4600 ft / 1402 m

Ascent Trip Report

EDITED 10-2-14 to include better instructions, additional clarity, and fixed incorrect GPS points.

Used Google Earth to do a lot of scouting of the roads and relied on it on my phone for navigation. Verizon service was only barely good enough for SMS most of the hike. There are several turnoffs on the forest service roads so don't purely rely on my navigation instructions. Come prepared with a map and GPS with your route planned. PLEASE TAKE TRAIL MARKING TAPE SO YOU DON'T GET LOST ON THE WAY DOWN!

Drove to intersection at about 34.940375, -83.519575. Turned left onto Old Coleman River Rd (Google calls the old and new road "Coleman River Rd" for some reason).
The roads from here on out vary from poor to very poor. High clearance vehicles should be ok in dry weather. You may have to turn back if you take a low clearance vehicle. My Alero barely made it.
Anyway, took the road for a while, past an old barn in a field on the left, to an intersection at about 34.953178, -83.518782. Turned left. (Turning right apparently takes you to a turn around point where you can hike an ATV/restricted road up to the base of Steeltrap Knob.)

Took that road a good distance to the Y (split in the road) at 34.951012, -83.537306. Left road is blocked but not labeled on the USGS Topo as Restricted. Right road is blocked and labeled Restricted on the USGS Topo. I camped for the night at the Y. There is a small grass field if you backtrack on the road a few curves (34.949450, -83.536280) that other campers were using.

Next morning, I hike the restricted road (that was a right at the previously mentioned Y) to an intersection about 2 miles in (34.967564, -83.523248). Took a right heading southish and climbed 0.25 miles south up to Chestnut (3800 ft) for a slight view. Came back to the intersection and continued on the original restricted road.

Along the road, there is another intersection of a road coming from the east. It looks like this is the road that you hike if you start from the previously mentioned "turn around" trail head that others have used.

Restricted road ends at 34.976378, -83.521373; 2.5 miles from the trail head at the Y excluding the Chestnut detour. 3850 ft. USGS Topo does not show the road going that far north but it does.
At the clearing there is an unknown, very steep trail to the west.
I headed 0.25 miles north up a poorly maintained, straight up trail to Steeltrap Knob (4160 ft).
Continued on the ridge north (0.5 miles) and up towards Dick's Knob. Again, straight up; 2200 ft/mi for the last 400ft/0.2 miles. In many places the "trail" disappears. Just head straight up! You might run into a trail again, you might not.

I relied on my phone for GPS which worked well enough for the climb but not good enough for the descent in my opinion. The trail is just nonexistent in too many place to rely on it. It seemed to be more difficult to see on the descent. I ended up too far west for a short time descending Dicks Knob. Looking at the topo map now, I think I must have been following the south westerly ridge instead of going due south. I was using the Google Maps app on my phone so I didn't have a digital breadcrumb trail to follow, just a known current position and a destination (end of the restricted road). I first noticed that things didn't look familiar and that I hadn't seen anything that resembled a trail for too long. Looking at my phone, I began to notice that I wasn't heading in quite the right direction. I adjusted my course east and found the "trail" about half way to the end of the bushwhack. I was on the trail for the final descent of Steeltrap. I didn't see the trail until I was about 5 feet laterally from it--it was that well hidden! The only danger I faced in my detour was descending a rock face on my butt due to very poor footing (I chose to risk it rather than climb back up and around).

I highly recommend bringing your own trail markers even if you have GPS because it is easy to go in slightly the wrong direction. Not to mention your GPS could die. I purchased some bio degradable ribbon that will not unravel made by HME. Poles or a good stick is also a must on the way down.

I do not recommend this hike when the leaves are in -- absolutely no view along the way except at Chestnut.

Total trail without the 0.5 mile Chestnut detour was 3.2 miles each way.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1770 ft / 539 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1770 ft / 538 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.2 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1770 ft / 539 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1600 ft / 488 m; Extra: 170 ft / 51m
    Loss on way in:170 ft / 51 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Route:Restricted Road, Chestnut, Steeltrap Knob
    Start Trailhead:34.951012, -83.537306  3000 ft / 914 m
    Time:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1600 ft / 487 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Route:Steeltrap Knob, Restricted Road
    End Trailhead:34.951012, -83.537306  3000 ft / 914 m
    Time:2 Hours 

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