Ascent of Rich Mountain on 2013-09-28

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, September 28, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Rich Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:3782 ft / 1152 m

Ascent Trip Report

You might be able to drive up this one if Fire Tower Road is open from Rich Mountain Road. The summit road is unsigned, and I think I saw it on the way down--it looks like a driveway with an open gate maybe 50 yards off the road. Edward Earl's report indicates it is probably posted at the bottom, but I saw no signs at the top.

Instead, I followed the signed Fox Tower road, which leads to WHNS-TV's gigantic tower serving the Greenville and Asheville areas. This is a privately maintained road and there was an open gate as I approached the tower. There's plenty of room to park in a work area on the right. I didn't see any other vehicles and I suspect that the tower is not manned regularly.

GPS showed an old road zigzagging up toward the fire tower site. It was easy to follow up to the base of the guy wires for the TV tower, where it appeared to dead-end in rhododendron. However, there's a litte path on the left side that bypasses this thicket and regains the old road on the other side. I followed this most of the way to the summit road, bushwhacking about 100 yards at the end to cut the corner to avoid some deadfall.

The summit road looks driveable by car and leads to the old fire tower site. There are a few communications towers up here, so the road is still used occasionally. The firetower is gone, but the watchman's house is still intact. I found a reference mark in one of the concrete footers for the tower. I followed the arrow but couldn't find the actual BM, which is probably in a briarpatch.

Unfortunately, the summit clearing is surrounded by trees, so there are no views from the top. There are nice views north toward Mount Pisgah near the WHNS tower trailhead. Most impressive is the rigging that supports the tower, which is listed as 475.2 meters. That's 1,559 feet. The tower base is near the 3440 contour, so the top of the mast is almost exactly 5000 feet above sea level.

The total hike was 1.8 miles with 340 feet of climbing.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:342 ft / 104 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:WHNS TV tower
    Trailhead:3440 ft / 1048 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Time:50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:35 Minutes

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