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Ascent of Rock Mountain on 2019-03-13

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Rock Mountain
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:3280 ft / 999 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine Rock Mountain is the 10th highest named highpoint in South Carolina, although its highest contour line is the same as three other summits, including Dolves Mountain, Battered Rock Mountain and Bradford Mountain, all with their highest contour line at 3280 feet. I climbed Whiteoak Mountain before starting this climb, but I had to climb back up to Sassafras Mountain before beginning the climb of Rock Mountain. The trailhead for Rock Mountain is located 75 yards down the road from the Sassafras Mountain parking lot where there is a sign for the Foothills Trail at 35.06437 N 82.77571 W. Don't confuse this sign with the Foothills Trail sign closer to the parking area. That trail leads you to the summit of Whiteoak Mountain. From the parking area Rock Mountain is 1.29 air miles away and I had to begin my hike by descending nearly 100 feet on the Foothills Trail. After hiking exactly one mile in 25 minutes I reached a trail on the right signed with,"To Palmetto Trail." From here I actually continued hiking straight on the Foothills Trail and climbed Hickorynut Mountain first, but this trip report is for Rock Mountain only. (See the trip report for Rock Mountain for those details.) I turned right and continued hiking for 30 minutes where I was .33 air mile from the summit of Rock Mountain and the trail appeared to be taking me farther away. I had actually been within a quarter mile earlier, so I turned around and returned to a place to begin a bushwhack where I was closer the summit. I had to lose a bit of elevation before I had a steep climb up the west slope of Rock Mountain. It was a rough bushwhack, but it was made a little less nasty with an old road I was able to follow a short distance, but even this road was overgrown. I had to make a stream crossing where I needed to put some dead branches in the water in order to keep my feet dry. I crossed this stream at 35.44517 N 82.77587 W and above the stream I followed intermittent game trails. I reached the saddle between Hickorynut Mountain and Rock Mountain after covering 1.47 miles from the Foothills/Palmetto Trail junction in 1 hour and 4 minutes. From here I was only 480 air feet from the summit. I reached the summit in another 5 minutes after covering a total of 1.61 miles from the Foothills/Palmetto Trail junction. I was able to follow a trail from the saddle to the summit which I found to be long and flat and the highest point was not obvious. I reached the main trail again in 27 minutes after covering .38 mile from the summit of Rock Mountain. It was good to be back on a good trail again and be finished with cross country bushwhacking. I was originally planning to bag Caesars Head, (the 19th highest named highpoint in South Carolina, but not to be confused with the highpoint in Caesars Head State Park with the same name. That highpoint is the 17th highest named highpoint in South Carolina.) but I was tired and the extra summit would have involved, at least, a .6 mile one way rough bushwhack down into a deep valley and back up to the summit of Caesars Heads plus the return hike, so I continued hiking on the main trail and reached the Foothills/Palmetto Trail junction again after covering 1.32 miles in 1 hour and 4 minutes from the summit of Rock Mountain. I was finally back at the Sassafras Mountain parking lot after covering a total of 2.24 miles in 1 hour and 25 minutes from the summit of Rock Mountain. It was a good day of climbing for me bagging the 2nd, 7th and 10th highest named highpoints in South Carolina in one outing.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford



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