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Ascent of Blackrock Mountain on 2016-04-16

Climber: Zachary Robbins

Date:Saturday, April 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Blackrock Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5810 ft / 1770 m

Ascent Trip Report

First time hiking in the Plott Balsams. My original plan was out-and-back to Blackrock Mountain then out-and-back to Mt Lyn Lowry. However, the day was so beautiful I decided to continue onwards to The Pinnacle instead of breaking up my day into 2 separate hikes.

The unofficial trail along the southwest crest of the Plott Balsams begins at the Waterrock Knob Rd intersection on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no parking here, but ample room on multiple shoulders and I doubt this is ever a hotspot. Most people drive to Waterrock Knob. There is a vertical wood hikers sign opposite Waterrock Knob Rd, head down that trail southwest to Yellow Face.

The hike to Yellow Face is pretty easy, and there are two nice views southeast on the trek along with some peeks to the west. The summit of Yellow Face is a partial heath bald mixed with grass. It was more open than I expected and you have decent views southeast. Many pure peakbaggers probably have turned around here in the past to hike the other 3 6Ks in the Plott Balsams. They were unfortunate because Blackrock Mountain is a gem of a peak.

Beyond Yellow Face the trail dips into a clearing with old vehicle parts then begins an exciting ridge scramble to Blackrock, which culminates in a very steep climb to the summit. When in doubt the trail probably goes straight up. The small, rock summit has remarkable views north-east-south. You get an awesome view of Waterrock Knob and the neighboring peaks, as well as a full scope of the Great Balsams. Views south and northeast of the Great Smokies aren't too shabby.

Here is where I would not blame anyone one bit for turning around. You have a real choice to make, continue onwards to Pinnacle Park for a long hike or head back. I like my hikes long and hard, and immediately you'll probably regret pushing on. The trail drops over 800 ft in 0.6 miles down the south slope of Blackrock, it is a punishing downhill. Luckily you'll have respite for the next few miles as you follow gentle dirt forest roads in Pinnacle Park. The Pinnacle is also an amazing spot, a small finger jutting out from the crest. You'll have better views south of Sylva and the Cowee/Nantahala Mts. Same views of Great Balsams. Nice perspective of Blackrock. The Pinnacle reminded me of Maple Camp Bald, but with cliffs.

The return is pretty easy, until the forest road track ends. Then it is a brutal climb to Blackrock, very tough. Would recommend filling up at a stream a few hundred yards before the climb. If you aren't too tired you can claim Waterrock Knob next, but I'll doubt you'll try hiking to Lyn Lowry and Plott Balsam.
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Zachary Robbins
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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