Ascent of Little Sam Knob on 2020-01-12

Climber: William Sanderson

Date:Sunday, January 12, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Little Sam Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5862 ft / 1786 m

Ascent Trip Report

Took Flat Laurel Creek trail from NC 215. The trail passes between Sam and Little Sam, and right where the trail passes the falls on Flat Laurel Creek I stepped off and bushwhacked straight up to the ridge (see photo...I dropped white pins along my route).
I chose this route to avoid the large briar patch others have mentioned in the saddle south of the summit.
The bushwhack started out pretty typically with mixed rhododendron and trees, but I quickly broke out into a beautiful open spruce/hemlock forest that was shady enough to preclude shrubs, making for steep but very easy walking. This continued all the way to the summit, which is broad and flat and also covered with a dense even-aged stand of spruce (mature but not huge). Clearly this whole area was planted at one time several decades ago. High point (at least the point indicated on the topo) is a loaf-shaped bump covered with moss and duff. I didn't want to dig down far enough to reveal the rock and look for benchmark as that would have meant removing a lot of soil/moss. Someone had left orange survey tape on a nearby tree.
There are several areas around the perimeter of the summit where one can catch a view, most particularly a large rock outcropping perhaps 40 yards NW of the summit proper that affords a wonderful view W and SW toward Mt. Hardy, Green Knob Ridge, and the parkway/215 crossing.
Returned via same route, then continued on to the Little Sam trail and then MST back to NC 215 for a very pleasant loop.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Blue pin = falls on Flat Laurel. White pins = my bushwhack route to summit (green pin) (2020-01-12). Photo by William Sanderson.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack

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