Ascent of Potato Knob on 2017-11-22

Climber: Bradley R

Date:Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Potato Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6400 ft / 1950 m

Ascent Trip Report

How I chose this hike: It had been a while since I completed anything on the "South Above 6000" list; this hike had two such peaks and a county high point.

Parking: I parked at a small gravel pull off at (35°43'33.7"N 82°16'59.9"W).

The hike: After parking I looked for and could not find the trailhead, I followed my GPS in a bushwhack towards the trail. Eventually I cam to a trail, but neither way seemed correct after following for short distances in each direction. I again bushwhacked until I came to another trail at roughly 1/2 mile of hiking. I believe the original trail I was on was correct, but need not accurately match what I had plotted on my GPS, leading to some confusion.

For the next mile I remained on the trail gaining elevation as I went. Here I was supposed to take a turn, but missed it remaining on the trail. The total extra distance I hiked here out and back was a quarter of a mile. It was easy to see why I missed the turn as there was no actual trail. (1.75 miles total)

I bushwhacked again until I reached an unmaintained ATV trail. This eventually turned into a small unmaintained trail. I either got off trail, or the trail ended and I bushwhacked again for a short distance before I came back out on a poorly maintained trail which I was able to follow to the top of Potato Knob. No great views here, but Clingmans Peak does come into view at times. This section was ~.35 miles. (2.1 miles total)

Next I descend then go back up towards Clingmans Peak. At first this is through a poorly unmaintained manway, but comes out in a field followed by a cabin. Initially I walk on a tril behind the cabin that leads to a fence surrounding Clinmans summit (and radio towers). The trail seems to end at a small rock outcropping that is hard to access at this time (due to small trees down), but gives one of the best long distance views of the day. I can't continue in this direction so I turn around and head back towards the cabins (0.6 miles to the turnaround point). When I reach the cabins I follow a gravel road around the other side of the fenced in summit of CLingmans Peak. This meets with another gravel road, where I take a right immediately followed by a left. In this area I realize the gate to Clingmans is open. I head toward Mount Gibbes via a poorly maintained road/trail with some poorly maintained structures along the way. The top of Gibbes is nothing special. (another 0.5 miles to here from the earlier turn around). I head back toward Clingmans Peak, my interest is piqued about whether I can reach its high point with the gate open. I approach the gate and can see a vehicle, but no people. I had hoped to either see no signs of people and sneak in and out quickly, or see someone to ask permission from, neither occurred so I turned back within 30 yards or so of the top (another 0.2 miles from Mount Gibbes). (3.4 miles total)

From here I follow the gravel Radio Station Rd. which had some nice views for about a mile. I reached the road to Mount Mitchell, right at the Mount Mitchell Park Office) after a mile on the gravel road. I crossed the road here and continued onto the Old Mitchell Trail. There are no views on this trail, at least not until it gets past Mount Hallback as this is where I turned around. The trail doesn't quite reach the summit, so I had another short bushwhack. The peak has a short wooden sign letting you know you're at the summit. I returned to where I crossed the road to Mount Mitchell from here. From the road to the peak and back was about 0.8 miles. (5.2 miles total)

From here I walked back down the road to Mount Mitchell for about 1.8 miles to reach my truck (7 miles total for the day).

When I returned to my truck I saw the trailhead I had missed at the beginning. I was only about 30 yards down the road, well marked by a post. I have no clue how I missed it. This mistake led to some extra effort early on.

A decent day hike, but not one I really plan to repeat unless I decide to complete the South Beyond 6000 list multiple times.

All the stats for this hike are under Mount Gibbes.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Part of Trip: Mount Gibbes (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Potato Knob2017-11-22 a 
3Mount Gibbes2017-11-22 c1141 ft / 348 m
5Mount Hallback2017-11-22 e 
24(Attempt) Clingmans Peak2017-11-22 bd 
Total Trip Gain: 1141 ft / 348 m    Total Trip Loss: 1141 ft / 348 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley R
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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