Ascent of Big Bald Mountain on 2017-01-31

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Bald Mountain
    Elevation:4075 ft / 1242 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was my second attempt on Big Bald Mountain. Yesterday I got a late start and I did not realize that the access road continued much higher up the mountain, so I left this road too early and tried to climb up the steep north slope with 1/2 inch of snow on the ground. It was a difficult climb and I bailed out after only closing the distance to the summit by .3 mile in nearly one hour. I still had .6 miles to go and I knew I would run out of daylight, so I bailed out of my summit bid. It was during this descent that I discovered the access road I had used climbing up went much higher on Big Bald Mountain than I realized and I learned I had started my bushwhack way too early. I began my climb at the access road with a locked gate at 34.78144 N 84.3134 W and hiked very fast for 1 hour and 12 minutes until I was only 1/2 mile and 700 feet below the summit. I started my easy bushwhack here because the road appeared to head in the wrong direction on the south side of the mountain. The east slope of Big Bald Mountain was not nearly as steep as the north side I tried to climb yesterday plus the snow had now melted, so I had a much easier climb and in 45 minutes I reached the summit after a total time of just under 2 hours. The summit plateau was quite flat and the highest point appeared to be some rock slabs on the south end, but when I was heading back to the car I found the summit benchmark in the middle of the summit plateau, however, I did not feel like this was the actual highest spot. There are no views from the summit due to the trees, but it was an enjoyable challenging climb, especially considering the fact that it took me two attempts. I returned to my car in 1 hour and 48 minutes after a total roundtrip time of 3 hours and 53 minutes, I did use a different descent route on the east side of Big Bald Mountain, because as I was descending, I found an old jeep road and I followed it back to the main ascent road. This jeep road intersected the main road about 500 feet from where I started my bushwhack. The beginning of the jeep road is at 34.75972 N 84.31725 W and it would make for an easier ascent route, even though it doesn't go all the way to the summit. It was very satisfying to complete this climb and check it off my list.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Stream Ford

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