Ascent of Hanging Rock on 2018-07-18

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hanging Rock
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5200 ft / 1584 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was one of those rare peaks where the payoff is incredible, but the trail (term used loosely here) is hard to follow. Compounding that issue is that the ridge hike to the top is extremely steep on either side, so a slight deviation could lead to drastic consequences.

I arrived after several GPS failed attempts to reach the the water tank at the top of the Seven Devils development, which lies just on NE side of the Watauga River near Grandfather Mountain. It was summer and sunny, so weather was not a hindrance. However, once I found the "trailhead", it was a jumbled, slippery and rocky ridge climb to the HP. Along the way I learned some valuable lessons about following trodden paths and ignoring what seem to be easy routes to the north or south around high spots, brush or boulders.

When I started there was a fog that was beginning to lift from the valley and surrounding mountains. As I climbed through the thick understory and up and down ridge rises and falls, the wind picked up, the clouds dissipated and the sun was shining brightly. There is a side rock outcrop halfway up to the SW that is worth checking out, if nothing else than for the tremendous view of the entire Grandfather Mountain range and the Wautaga River valley below.

After about 1.4 miles and just under a 1000 foot elevation gain, the summit pops up as a treeless rock promontory with spectacular views. Besides Grandfather, there are clear and distinct views of Grandmother Mountain, the Linville Gorge, the Roan Highlands, Sugar and Beach Mountains, the town of Linville and to the north the major Amphibolite Mountains all the way from Howards Knob to Snake Mountain, Elk Knob and the Peak. Even the Brushy Mountains and Blowing Rock are visible from this vista.

I lingered, but eventually retraced my steps, except foe a nettle scratching attempt at a side trail that went nowhere. All in all in my top 10 for North Carolina. And I did not see anyone at all....
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:985 ft / 300 m
    Total Elevation Loss:985 ft / 300 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:985 ft / 300 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  4215 ft / 1284 m
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:985 ft / 300 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Bushwack to Road
    End Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  4215 ft / 1284 m
    Time:45 Minutes

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