Ascent of Richland Balsam on 2016-07-21

Climber: Mike Stinson

Others in Party:Jeremy Stinson
Date:Thursday, July 21, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Richland Balsam
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6410 ft / 1953 m

Ascent Trip Report

After climbing Reinhart Knob (see TR) and descending its west face to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, we followed the MST generally northwest. Using the Sam Knob USGS topo map, we hiked until we were off the map, and then had just returned to an area on the map, to reach the spot where we began a bushwhack up to the parkway. (Before actually starting the bushwhack we walked a little further on the MST to confirm our location, then turned back). We crossed a small stream before the bushwhack got very steep. Some of the ground in the area we crossed was covered with beautiful moss.

Eventually we reached the parkway some ways northwest (or south, in parkway mileage) of the overlook with the "highest point" on the parkway sign (this is south and a little west of the Richland Balsam summit, and is not the parking area where the summit / nature trail begins). We then scrambled up the rocky bank across from the roadcut and quickly picked up the summit / nature trail and followed that generally north to the summit area. Like others, I believe the true summit is a short distance away from the obvious summit sign.

As we approached the summit we could hear thunder to our west and northwest, so we did not linger long. From here we returned on part of the nature trail, crossed the parking lot, and returned to the car at Beartrail Ridge Gap, missing all but a few raindrops.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1055 ft / 321 m
    Total Elevation Loss:560 ft / 170 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1055 ft / 321 m
    Start Trailhead:MST below Reinhart Knob west slope  5355 ft / 1632 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:560 ft / 170 m
    End Trailhead:Beartrail Ridge Gap parking  5850 ft / 1783 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Reinhart & Richland Balsam (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Reinhart Knob2016-07-21 a230 ft / 70 m
2Richland Balsam2016-07-21 b1055 ft / 322 m
Total Trip Gain: 1285 ft / 392 m    Total Trip Loss: 560 ft / 171 m

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