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Ascent of Babel Tower on 2018-11-21

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Babel Tower
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:3035 ft / 925 m

Ascent Trip Report

For the full experience of Babel Tower, please check out Zach Robbin's well detailed report on Hiking Upward: https://www.hikingupward.com/PNF/BabelTower/.

That being said, this is an amazing hike down from Kistler Road (Old NC 105) from a parking area just off the road (but blocked by recent downfall). You drop over 900 feet in elevation in a little over a mile. The Babel Tower is really a series of rock monoliths rising above the Linville River and marks the spot where the River stops being a rough and tumble waterway and becomes a slow straight path to Lake James.

The path is rocky at first as it follows the ridge of Laurel Knob and then descends steeply into the ridge that sits in front of the first Tower. Differing reports dictate how to get to the highest Tower. I tried to reach it, but would have needed rock climbing gear to get to that point (3053 feet). I reached the second highest tower at 3030 feet using a combination of rock scramble, ledge hiking and some darn good luck. At this point you can see Sitting Bear Mountain across the Gorge from you and survey the River from hundreds of feet above.

For those brave souls who want to see the rapids below, you can access that area by staying left of the rocks on the trails. Remember you drop another 500 feet to the water!

All in all not one for the faint of heart, but worth it nonetheless!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1338 ft / 406 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1338 ft / 406 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Clear and Calm day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1158 ft / 352 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 978 ft / 299 m; Extra: 180 ft / 54m
    Loss on way in:180 ft / 54 m
    Route:Maintained Trail, Rock Scramble
    Start Trailhead:2057 ft / 626 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1158 ft / 352 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 978 ft / 299 m; Extra: 180 ft / 54m
    Gain on way out:180 ft / 54 m
    Route:maintained trail and rock scramble
    End Trailhead:2057 ft / 626 m



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