Ascent of Hickory Knob on 2012-10-28

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, October 28, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hickory Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:2960 ft / 902 m

Ascent Trip Report

On US-64, 3.1 miles NE of the McDowell-Burke county line (which is signed only in the NE-bound direction), I turned SE on Roper Hollow Rd. Note or zero your odometer here. At 1.4 miles the pavement ends. At 2.0 miles the road makes a sharp R turn at a pullout, then resumes its southeasterly course. At 2.4 miles I went L at a fork, where the R branch goes through an open gate. At 3.0 miles I reached Sisk Gap, where there is a T junction with a large pullout. The R turn is gated and posted. I turned L and continued on the convoluted road whose overall course varied between N and NE. The road condition is a challenge for a low-clearance vehicle, but I made it without incident in my rented Hyundai Accent. At 5.1 miles I reached "junction 2693" about ¼ mile SW of the summit of Icy Knob. There is a large flat area to park on the R side of the road. The two side roads that head NNW and NE from here are both barricaded by rails and berms, and the one that heads NE (more directly up Icy Knob) barely exists at all.

I hiked uphill toward Icy Knob. After a few minutes the road shown on MyTopo became readable, but part of the time it was better to hike off the road and parallel to it because of occasional brush and logs on the road itself. After a few more minutes the road condition suddenly improved. It was a simple matter to continue a few more minutes until I emerged from the forest next to a house on the L. The road then dipped slightly and presently I turned sharply R at a fork onto a side road that climbed to the summit of Icy Knob. Within a few hundred feet of the summit is an overgrown side road on the L that appears to be a shortcut to the summit, but actually it does not help; it is better to continue on the main road as it swings around to the S side of the summit and reaches it.

I returned to the sharp Y-junction near the house I had seen, then continued N, looking for the preferred way up Propst Mtn. Due to brush and a steep hill on the E side of the road, there was no easy way. I ultimately found that it is better to climb to the saddle between Icy Knob and Propst Mtn, then head cross-country through the forest to the summit of Propst. Although this route involves somne brush, it goes a little better than a more direct approach from the W where the road makes its closest approach to the summit of Propst.

There are no roads, trails, or manmade improvements of any kind to provide any help continuing to the summits of Buzzard Roost and Hickory Knob. It's a long forest slog about a mile each way, and occasional brush makes it a pretty slow mile, though I've seen worse. Notalotoffun. Just do it.

The hike took some 3 hours car to car. I had underestimated it considerably due to the long slow forest slog to the two easternmost summits.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:960 ft / 292 m
    Extra Gain:350 ft / 106 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Trailhead:Roper Hollow Rd  2700 ft / 822 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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