Ascent of Shooting Creek Bald on 2018-04-01

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, April 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Shooting Creek Bald
    Elevation:4317 ft / 1315 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine, Shooting Creek Bald is tied with two other summits as the 12th highest named high point in Georgia, however, Peakbagger gives the elevation of Shooting Creek Bald as 4317 feet which would move it to sole possession of the 11th highest named high point in Georgia. This is a bit puzzling because the topo map clearly shows the highest contour line on Shooting Cheek Bald to be 4280 feet which is quite a difference. At any rate, Shooting Creek Bald is a significant high point in Georgia and a challenging cross country climb. I discovered this two days earlier when I got a late start and tried to bag both Shooting Creek and Hightower Bald only to have to give up my summit bid when it got too late and I still had well over 600 feet of very steep vertical climbing. I returned this time with a much earlier start. With the development on the south side of the mountain, it is now possible to get quite a bit higher in elevation before starting your climb than in the past. There is a network of steep paved roads now, that can be accessed from an old forest road beginning at 34.95700 N 83.61170 W. You make a left hand turn to get on this gravel road which quickly changes to a steep, paved road after passing through a stone entrance. You will reach a lake with a dam that you drive across to another steep section and finally parking at a pullout on the side of the road at 34.96205 N 83.61586 W. The elevation here is about 2680 feet. This area maybe covered in a housing project someday behind a gated community, but for now it is open and not posted. The climb begins through a thicket with a faint trail that requires an uncomfortable bushwhack, but in less than half a mile the going gets much more pleasant and you soon enjoy traveling through an open forest with an occasional group of thorns to avoid or pass through. Prepare yourself for the climb ahead, however. Below Shooting Creek Bald the terrain becomes very steep. In the last .2 mile I ascended over 500 feet. I believe the going is easier in a valley southeast of the summit rather than following the ridge directly south of the summit, but both routes will eventually lead you to a series of rock outcrops that could require Class 3 climbing or worse if you don't choose the right route. After the challenge of the rocks you will find yourself on the narrow summit ridge line of Shooting Creek Bald. If Hightower Bald is your goal, it is located .59 air miles to the northeast. It took me 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach the summit of Shooting Creek Bald even though I only covered 1.73 miles during the climb, which demonstrates the difficult terrain you need to pass through. However, if you enjoy challenges and an orienting adventure, this might be the climb for you.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble

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