Ascent of South Johnson Hill on 2018-10-08

Climber: Will Townes

Date:Monday, October 8, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Johnson Hill
    Elevation:1421 ft / 433 m

Ascent Trip Report

For such a short distance, this was a surprisingly eventful hike. First, I did the hike in the dark. There was no moon or stars since there was thick fog. Even my headlight barely extended beyond 10 feet. Everything was wet and slippery. On the drive, I had been listening to the "Serial" podcast about a murder victim so I kept imagining there was some serial killer stalking me. I followed the standard route along the logging road except instead of going up to the ridgeline on the second road, I turned right and followed a very muddy second logging road North (parallel to ridge), then bushwhacked somewhat steeply up a pile of rocks to the top. After finding the cairn (and no masked marauder behind it), I decided to try the standard route down by going directly South along the ridge instead of the steep descent back the way I came. I thought this would reduce the risk of a twisted ankle. Instead, I became trapped in a maze of dense, head-high briars and small trees. I was so distracted by trying to make forward progress, I wasn't watching my feet. All of a sudden, I heard a shuffling noise and realized I was about to set my foot down on an enormous porcupine! I almost jumped out of my skin. Fortunately I didn't make any contact with its bristling quills. Carefully going around it, I eventually made it back to the logging road and easily returned to the car in a cloud of adrenaline.

TL/DR for future high-pointers: try to get as close to the summit as possible by following logging roads at lower elevations then going straight up the steep hillside, rather than the traditional route of gaining the ridge then following it to the summit. There will be fewer thick pricklers on steeper slopes since the loggers can't easily cut those trees.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:

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