Ascent of Buzzard Roost on 2020-09-21

Climber: Chris Gilsdorf

Date:Monday, September 21, 2020
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Buzzard Roost
    Elevation:2480 ft / 755 m

Ascent Trip Report

This summit is one of my two remaining unclimbed P1Ks that have their prominence cell extend into Tennessee, the other being White Rocks BM on the VA/KY state line in the national historic park. I had only limited and possibly outdated information available.

I had scoped out street view for the primitive road VA-722 leading over the SE shoulder of the peak, and it had appeared to be gated at US-421. I instead approached from Jasper to the east, reaching VA-722 and deciding to see how far down the road I could get. It gradually deteriorated into a rough gravel road, and I inadvertently made a right up a gravel driveway to a home, where I chatted with a very friendly couple about my age. They informed me the road was gated up ahead, gave me the landowner's name, and said his phone number would be on the signs there. He strongly advised me not to try to hike to the summit without permission, mentioning "he's taken a couple people to court" apparently over trespassing. I thanked him for his advice and continued on, parking only a short distance later at a wide spot in the road with a large water rut running through it.

I continued walking the road, and in about ten minutes, reached a wire gate with numerous strongly-worded signs, several of which carried the same phone number. I called, got an answering machine, left a message, and turned around. Before I'd gotten back to the car, the landowner called me back, and we chatted briefly. He was not unfriendly, but informed me there were folks hunting on the mountain that day and he couldn't let me up there that day for liability reasons. He did seem amenable to me returning at a future date though. I thanked him and informed him I'd call back when I knew my schedule and we could coordinate a visit. I drove back out, returned to the highway, and paid a repeat visit to High Knob, enjoying the expansive views from the summit lookout on this flawless early fall day. Was neat actually knowing a lot of what I was looking at this time! Black Mountain, Rogers, and probably a faint Clingmans Dome were all visible...I could even see Flatwoods peeking over Pine Mountain. Certainly not a bad consolation prize...

So, overall, no summit this day, but access does sound possible in the future (though probably much less so around hunting season). I would strongly advise against trying to sneak up this peak without permission.
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