Ascent of Glass Rock Knob on 2019-04-18

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, April 18, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Glass Rock Knob
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:4880 ft / 1487 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is deceivingly one of the toughest piedmont to Blue Ridge Mountain hikes in the State. I was starting to train for the long hike to Mt. Guyot in the Smokies in September of this year and wanted a challenge. Boy I got one!
Heading up Old US 70 from Old Fort to Mill Creek Road in the early morning before sunrise, I was rested, ready and full of caffeine, water and pop tarts. A full 30 pound pack on my back, I parked at the pull off on the old gravel road and walked 100 yards back to the trailhead which was essentially an old logging road that ran muddily uphill and down to the old RR track to the north and then both ways twice, you cross and head up the single track trail beside Richard Creek. Then the tough switchback climb began as the sun rose in the eastern sky above the ridge. In between gasping puffs of air and climbing over 1000 feet, I spotted the morning sun on the east side of the Montreat Mountain ange and the Old Mitchell Trail. I kept huffing and puffing up the trail to the gap at 2700 feet and the intersection with an unknown trail hedging off to the east. The peaks above lay high and far and lonesome. I turned swiftly, grabbed a GU and headed further uphill. The sunlight was just grazing the top of my hat as I sloshed through the leaves on the trail.
After reaching a narrow but level trai at the higher ridge at Star Gap at the intersection of that trail and Heartbreak Ridge, I hiked further uphill to a level plateau where the trail hugged the western side of the ridge on a narrow, pine laden path. This was a great early vista of things to come. Sun beaming off the eastern ridge of the Montreat Mountains and a roaring stream in the valley. At 3700 feet in a bend of the trail, I pushed my way up a deer trail to the wooded summit Lick Log Mountain, still several thousand feet from the summit of Pinnacle far above.
After rejoining the Trail at the north end of the peak, I still had several miles to hike to the gap near the Parkway. I took them slowly and actually just stopped by beside the trail for an early lunch before finally cresting to the flat area between Glass Rock Knob and Pinnacle. This was a wonderful grassy area that led three ways from here. The wind at 4700 was considerably colder than the lower temps below and I threw on a jacket to make the final push NW to the junction with the Old Mitchell Toll Road and the nearby scamper up the northern side of Pinnacle.
Before that though, I bushwhacked to the forested and rocky and cold summit of Glassy Rock Knob. Not hard due to the wintered low unstory, the HP was unremarkable a top a pile of rocks on the ridge above the Parkway. Scampered down and retraced steps to the gap where a trail led to where i had come from, the trail down to the BRP and the faint path upwards….
That last 1.1 miles was a bear, but worth it as the views were incredibly stunning on a peerlessly clear day.
Knowing that what must come up, most come down, I did not linger too long and began the measured descent to the car more than 7 miles below me. Several times I got woozy and ate everything I had in my pack, but ultimately I made it back more than 7 hours from my start time. A long day by any means, but there were longer ones to come.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2665 ft / 812 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.4 mi / 16.7 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  2215 ft / 675 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes

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