Ascent of Crabtree Bald on 2016-07-23

Climber: Chris Gilsdorf

Date:Saturday, July 23, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Crabtree Bald
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5320 ft / 1621 m

Ascent Trip Report

I climbed this one the same day as I did Sandymush Bald, which lies on the same ridge, but from a different trailhead.

Crabtree Bald--NC P2K, 5340'

I'd been worried about getting permission for this one. Luckily, some last-minute advice from Vince Kloster gave me enough pieces of the puzzle for everything to come together. While I didn't have a direct phone number, I had a name, an address, and a place of business to go off of.

I drove over from 209 up to Bald Creek Rd, first poking around the Triple Creek subdivision. The houses up this valley are all quite nice. I found an older woman tending her garden, and while she was cordial, she didn't know anything about the landowner. I drove back to the address I'd been given, and decided to boldly just walk up the driveway to the house there. As luck would have it, the landowner was outside already, and when I explained what I wanted he had no problem with me hiking up the mountain. He just requested I not leave the gate for the electric fence open in the cattle grazing area.

The good-quality gravel road I took to get up the mountain was rather steep in places, flat in a few others. Though signs mentioned "4WD Only" and "Steep, Sharp Curves Ahead", I think a passenger car might well be able to make it up to the saddle. I was, however, on foot. The views began to open up as I reached the saddle, and Crabtree itself was finally visible, power lines running up its slopes.

At the saddle, I found the gate on the left, then continued up grassy pastureland along the ridge, perturbing a few cows. I followed occasional stretches of two-track and cattle path until I was finally at the base of the last 300' ascent. A narrow tongue of meadow was on the right, the two-track on the left. I went left. The old road blissfully entered some shaded forest and rhododendron patches, then switchbacked up until unceremoniously dumping me on the structure-festooned summit. It had taken me 2:40 to get up this one, as I was now moving much slower.

The descent went much quicker, with me returning to my car in 1:20. Unlike on Sandymush, I generally had cell service from near the bottom to near the top of the mountain. The landowner's wife was outside, and I let her know I was on my way out and thanked them again. My timing was impeccable, as it began to rain a mere five minutes after getting back to my car.

For those looking to climb Crabtree, do try to seek out permission. Again, you'll most likely get it. While I still do not have a phone number for the landowner, any legitimate interested parties can contact me for the information I do have--it should be enough to get a hold of him, one way or another. I do not see this area undergoing significant development in the near future, which was a fear of mine.

This ascent leaves me with just three P2Ks left in the southeastern US--Cheoah Bald, Big Bald, and Grandfather Mountain.
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