Ascent of Sawnee Mountain on 2017-04-22

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, April 22, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sawnee Mountain
    Elevation:1960 ft / 597 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Forsyth County highpoint is a summit that will definitely determine how much of a peakbagging purest you are. After reading several previous log entries, it appears many climbers are deterred by the numerous bright red, huge "No Trespassing!" signs, which also claim that the area is under camera surveillance. Not only will you have to hike right beside one of these unmistakably visible posted signs, you will also have to scale a 7-foot chain-linked fence to actually stand on the highest spot. In addition, the summit has several residences, which makes it impossible to be visiting or even parking your car inconspicuously. It seems most climbers are content by just gazing through the fence at the large, unusual cylindrical-shaped structure and call it a successful summit. The placement of the fence is such that I do not believe it is possible to circumnavigate it in order to claim the summit and, even if you could, you would still be within the heavily posted zone. As I was sitting in my car trying to decide how much of a risk I was willing to take, 6 or 7 high school-aged students hiked right up some steps into the restricted area like they were visiting a public park. Emboldened with the company of other "lawbreakers" and the fact it was after sunset, I quickly joined the group and watched as they scaled the high fence one by one. As a much younger man, getting over this obstacle would have not been a problem, but at nearly 70 years old and wearing wide-toed boots it seemed I was going to have to be content with just looking at the highest point in Forsyth County through a fence until the friendly teenagers offered to give me a boost. With their help I was soon standing on the official summit of Sawnee Mountain and not many visitors can actually claim that. The highest spot seemed to be beside an old, short chimney-like structure on the northwest side of the fenced enclosure. While I was there, several of my new young friends climbed to the roof of the large cylindrical building inside the fence, which I thought was an amazing feat, but they explained they knew of a route "through the basement," so it appeared the youthful group has visited this area several times before. They even invited me to the roof also, but I figured I had already used up one of my "trespassing lives" by just being inside the fence and I didn't want to risk getting caught inside someone's futuristic home as well, besides, I was worried about getting back over the fence I had to scale earlier! Fortunately, I made it back over the fence with no help this time and I bid my follow climbers farewell as I joked that I had to hurry to call law enforcement because I saw a lot of trespassers on the summit of Sawnee Mountain! My grateful thanks to the nice group of students who helped this old man successfully bag this county's highpoint. It is probably worth mentioning that the summit also supports a tall, narrow observation tower outside of the fenced area, but still within the posted zone. The steps were open and it was tempting to climb, but I was worried that at any minute some authorities might show up and end my Georgia county highpointing trip earlier than planned!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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