Ascent of Horry County High Point on 2012-11-23

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Friday, November 23, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Horry County High Point
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:120 ft / 36 m

Ascent Trip Report

I followed Mike Schwartz's trip report (posted on COHP but not on peakbagger), which will get you around the drainage ditches to the proximity of the dubious little 120 contour. Then you're on your own.

I'm confident I was inside the 120 contour shown on the topo, but I didn't find anything my GPS thought was 120 feet. In fact, the 120 contour does not even show up on the GPS map I installed from Garmin.

The entire contour area is a wild thicket that was logged several years ago and not replanted (note the extent of the pine rows on the satellite photo). When you're in there, you sometimes can't see your feet, and the ground underneath is uneven. Thankfully, the swamp was dry and the briars minimal, but my progress was slow, and gridding would have been an exercise in absurdity. I trampled a lot of brush and sometimes I felt like I was gaining a little elevation, but my altimeter told me it was mostly wishful thinking.

To me, circumstantial evidence seems to undermine the credibility of the 120 contour. The water level in the drainage ditches is probably close to 100 feet, based on the spot elevations along Joyner Swamp Road. A 120-foot contour that almost touches the north-south ditch should not be hard to find, even in heavy brush. And while you're beating around these bushes, ask yourself: "If this is really high ground, (1) why does it need a drainage ditch, and (2) why didn't International Paper Company replant this patch the last time it was harvested?"

After my hike, I checked Google Earth's NCALM (Lidar) overlay. The highest I found was 115 in the 120 contour and 116 nearby.

Like most COHPers, I hope the 120 contour is authentic. Otherwise, Horry County could be virtually impossible, with dozens of acres needing to be gridded. A few miles to the east, the Loris quad shows 5-foot intervals and has several 115 contours. In this quad (Bayboro) and others with 10-foot intervals, all the 110 contours would be back in play.

In the current overgrown conditions, and without definitive LiDAR readings, I don't know how anyone can say with confidence that they've found the highest ground in Joyner Swamp, much less Horry County. I don't feel particularly good about it, but I'm going to claim it--my 111th COHP and 11th in SC.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:10 ft / 3 m
    Total Elevation Loss:10 ft / 3 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:Logging roads, bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Int Paper Co gate on Joyner Swamp Rd  110 ft / 33 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    End Trailhead:110 ft / 33 m

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