Ascent of Hanging Rock on 2014-09-20

Climber: Bradley R

Date:Saturday, September 20, 2014
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

Note: This Hanging Rock is not part of Hanging Rock State Park.

I found this peak on peakbagger, but really couldn't find other information available online. Eventually I looked at Tom Layton's trip report (he always has good info in his reports) for this peak and saw that there was public access from the end of Dutch Creek Road. At the end of this road there's room to park and an obvious trail. Good news right! Well, in a way.
As you follow this trail other trails and small roads criss cross the route I took. Generally I simply followed the trail that appeared to go uphill. There was one exception to this, at one point the trail T'ed into a road. The road appears to go uphill to the right, but after studying my GPS I decided a left turn made more sense (and was correct).
Unfortunately not long after this I ran into a trespassing sign, then another, and another. I chose to ignore these. Eventually I reached a point with trespassing signs all around plus another sign reading "shot fall area". I stopped here (a little over a mile into my hike) and tried to talk myself into turning around, but instead, after hearing no voices or gun shots, decided to continue.
About 20 yards up the path from here there were pieces of clay pigeons all over. A little further and I came to a maintained field used as a gun range. From here I could see Hanging Rock!, but was uncomfortable. I chose to continue quickly and quietly. After about 100 yards there's an obvious trail running into the woods with a sign reading "Hanging Rock Trail".
Once in the woods I felt comfortable again. Soon I reached rock outcroppings with wonderful views, then the peak with a 360 degree view, including Grandfather and many other peaks. It had been 1.8 miles from my truck.
On the return I stopped at the last outcropping to look and see if anyone was at the gun range, it still appeared to be empty. I continued down the trail and was within sight of the gun range when BOOM shotgun blast! I wasn't going to walk into plain view while trespassing when I knew people were present and armed. For about 20 minutes I waited to see if it would be a short session, but finally decided to use my GPS to see if I could get around the gun range.
My GPS showed a road relatively close to me, so I bushwhacked off the side of the mountain toward the road. Honestly, since it was downhill it wasn't a bad bushwhack. I reached the road and followed roads for about 2.5 miles, mostly out of the way. Eventually I saw a 4-wheeler trail off the road with no signs posted and felt like I could get back to my original trail if I followed it. The trail was steep and eventually turned into a bushwhack. I reached a ridge and started back down and eventually reached a well maintained gravel road on the other side of the gun range, but the range was still within sight, there was no longer gunfire, but I didn't want to go toward the gun range, so I quietly followed the gravel road away from the gun range and eventually cut back into the woods until I found my original trail.
From here it was an easy hike back to my car.

In summary this is a fun hike with beautiful panoramas from the summit. Unfortunately I would not repeat this route, and don't know of other routes to the summit. If this is a peak you really want to climb I'd highly suggest trying to contact the owners (Diamond Creek Golf Course may be a good place to start) of the gun range and ask permission. If they refuse to give permission it'd be smart not to go from Dutch Creek Road.

I'd like to thank Tom Layton for his trip report, it's the only place I could find any info on this climb. Without his information I wouldn't have had a clue where to start.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1546 ft / 471 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1546 ft / 471 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.4 mi / 10.3 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1546 ft / 471 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3 km
    Start Trailhead:3654 ft / 1113 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1546 ft / 471 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.3 km
    End Trailhead:3654 ft / 1113 m
    Time:2 Hours 21 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley R
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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