Ascent of Bald Mountain on 2019-10-20

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, October 20, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Bald Mountain
    Elevation:4005 ft / 1220 m

Ascent Trip Report

A visit to 5 peaks .... the RT from Hwy #52 including all the driving, hiking and breaks was 7:30 hrs.

This TR covers all of today's activities (a total of 5 summits) and I must say that the worst part of today, as County High Pointers well know, is the mountain road driving. Overall the roads were good - I've never seen so many vehicles on mountain roads as I did today. This is a popular place.
On-route I passed numerous vehicles, saw 6 mountain bikers (at the bottom of the valley there is a resort of sorts called "Muhlberry Gap Bike-Get-Away" and probably the reason for the bikers that I saw), numerous parties at the 2 main TH's (Cowpen and Bald), and finally "never-before-seen-on-mountain-roads" a caravan of perhaps 8-10 trucks moving at a good rate as I was about to leave the the Three Forks Trailhead.
Overall the summits were all view-less, the only views were on-route at 2 places as noted in my text. I started the day in heavy overcast (fogged-in for the whole morning, everything was wet, wore rain gear for the bushwhacks), clearing in mid-day with full sun for the drive down.

From the round-about in the center of touristy Ellijay I traveled west on Hwy #52 for 9.1 miles to Conasauga Road on the right, I zeroed my odo.
00.0M ... JCT 52/Conasauga Road (34.76925,-84.58778, elev ) I went north on Conasauga.
01.2M ... Road JCT, pavement ends, Conasauga continues straight as gravel, signs FS28 and Lake Conasauga.
02.8M ... Road becomes Muhlberry Gap Road, just ahead is the "Muhlberry Gap Bike-Get-Away Resort".
03.4M ... wide Road JCT, turned right on FS68 (still northbound).
05.8M ... Fork (34.81552,-84.58991) stayed left.
07.7M ... right sharp turn on an open switchback. The best panorama of this trip was here. Its worth parking further up and walking back for the view - truly outstanding. I stopped here on my descent when I had full sun.
09.2M ... T-JCT (34.84134,-84.59418) on the main ridge, the drive up took me 45 minutes. Left (west) points to Lake Conasauga and is the route for Bald Mountain (per below). I first went right signed "East Cowpen Trail #30" and NF64 and parked on the left at 150 yds, elev 3520' - my TH ( for POTATOPATCH MOUNTAIN. I walked up the road 80 yds, then bushwhacked a steep southeast line 150 yds (in sparse open woods)to the obvious high ground - the last 100 yds full of nasty/tall/thorny/dense brush. Once back to the van I continued driving northeast.
11.2M ... parked on road side, elev 3320' - my TH for BETTY MOUNTAIN. Bushwhacked a left-of-south line up the steep slope 150 yds to the obvious HP (at a huge downfall). Very open woods with some thorny underbrush at the summit area.
12.8M ... pass on the right a platform signed "Mountaintown Overlook" with great views but not as good as the previous one. Took a snack break here, great spot.
13.2M ... Road on the right climbs 200 yds to the summit of THREE FORKS MOUNTAIN. A small ridge line with a campground at a number of huge jagged huge rocks.
13.5M ... Three Forks TH Parking (34.88177,-84.56567, elev ) at a switchback. MY TH for COWPEN. A number of cars here. Once back to this TH I backtracked and headed for Bald Mountain.
17.8M ... T-JCT on main ridge (09.2M), stayed straight (west).
21.2M ... Tearbritches Parking on the left, my TH for Bald Mountain, see below. Once back I descended the 12.6 miles back to Hwy #52.

COWPEN MOUNTAIN ... 1.8 miles RT
I more-or-less followed JA Laverdure's gps track. I hiked the trail north 0.7 miles (34.89053.-84.57167), then bushwhacked westerly 0.2 miles to the summit, open woods with some underbrush - some nasty/tall stuff at summit. Found only the BM" COHUTTA NO2, 1874,1888,1933", with the "Witness Post Survey Marker" on the ground. I touched all bases and called it good.

BALD MOUNTAIN .... 0.8 miles RT
Once back to the Cowpen TH I drove the 4.3 miles back to the T-JCT, then continued westerly 3.4 miles to the Tearbritches Parking on the left - my TH for BALD MOUNTAIN. A total of 21.2 miles of driving to this TH.
I hiked the 0.4 mile trail eastbound, stomped the large summit area (nothing obvious) and quickly returned to the TH.

After a short snack break break I drove the 3.4 miles back to the T-JCT, then descended the 9.2 miles back to Hwy 52 - for a total of 33.8 miles of mountain road driving. The RT total time from Hwy #52 was 7:30 hours. Long day, practically non-stop.

I JUST CAN'T WAIT TO GET ON THE TRAIL AGAIN" ........... play on willie nelson's "on the road again".

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:399 ft / 121 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:trail neb from tearbritches
    Trailhead:Tearbritches TH  3606 ft / 1099 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack

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