Ascent of Hickorynut Mountain on 2015-08-08

Climber: Brian McCray

Date:Saturday, August 8, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hickorynut Mountain
    Location:USA-South Carolina
    Elevation:3483 ft / 1061 m

Ascent Trip Report

Multi-day, multi-summit trip including Table Rock, Pinnacle Mountain, Hickorynut Mountain and Sassafras Mountain.

Starting at the Pinnacle trailhead, we used the Foothills Trail to approach Hickorynut Mountain. The trail passes Governor's Rock (very good views of the valley below) and eventually follows a ridgeline for several miles, in several places hugging rock outcroppings and other formations. The first part of the trail has what felt like a net descent, followed by a few aggressive switchbacks. The trail continues down even lower, past a few campsites, before crossing over a fairly wide streambed. This is an excellent place to get water, though the rocks are slippery and can be quite treacherous.

After passing the stream, the trail begins to climb along the ridgeline with numerous switchbacks toward the Hickorynut Mountain summit. The actual summit does not lie on the trail itself, but very close to it--you'll need a good GPS (capable of good reception in dense tree canopies) to locate the exact spot. You might have to approach it from several different angles to get around the surrounding vegetation.

We continued on to Sassafras Mountain from this point, and although there is a saddle between the mountains, there did not appear to be a lot of overall descent between the two.

When you look at this trail from the standpoint of a standard trail map, it seems pretty straightforward, but the number of switchbacks and the constantly rolling terrain makes this trail feel extremely random. In the dense tree cover, it's often difficult to tell where the trail needs to go next to bring you to your destination. While many trails share this attribute, this one does it to a very high degree. Most trails have a very definite rhythm that allows you to see how you're eventually going to get to the summit, but this one makes you think about it a bit. Overall, it was an excellent trip.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Route:Pinnacle Trail to Foothills Trail
    Start Trailhead:Pinnacle Mountain  
Descent Statistics
    Route:Foothills Trail
    End Trailhead:Sassafras Mountain  
Ascent Part of Trip: Sassafras Mountain (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Table Rock2015-08-07 
2Pinnacle Mountain2015-08-08 
3Hickorynut Mountain2015-08-08 
4Sassafras Mountain2015-08-08 
5Hickorynut Mountain2015-08-09 

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