Ascent of Apple Orchard Mountain on 2012-04-21

Climber: Ed Wandall

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, April 21, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Apple Orchard Mountain
    Elevation:4225 ft / 1287 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove 90 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way down to vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. Driving south, I passed the paved driveway to the radar facility. It was gated and marked 'No Access' or something to that effect. I figured this was the wrong place. I continued driving south. About another mile and a half down the road, there is a vista pulloff. I pulled into that to turn around, but saw there was a gravel road that headed north, parallel to the Parkway. It was gated, but open. A sign said that through access wasn't possible after 1.7 miles. I figured that would put me just about back to the driveway, so I drove it. The road was in fine shape. Just below the summit it was blocked by the gate the sign warned me about. The gate said "Vehicle Traffic Prohibited: Foot Traffic Welcome." Welcome indeed. Here is where the discerning peakbagger will follow the gravel road until it meets up with the driveway to the top. I, perversely, bushwhacked directly up the hill, hitting the driveway after about 200 yards. Radar Facility on top, walked the perimeter of the fence and saw some high boulders to the west, about 200 feet from the radar tower. Climbed to the top, couldn't see a benchmark (must be inside the FAA compound), but had great views, especially to the south. Lovely place.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:255 ft / 77 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:255 ft / 77 m
    Start Trailhead:3970 ft / 1210 m
Descent Statistics

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