Ascent of Mount Defiance Southwest on 2017-03-17

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, March 17, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Defiance Southwest
    Elevation:1363 ft / 415 m

Ascent Trip Report

Farm road/xcountry eastbound from Sherrilltown Road to 2 summits .... 3.4 miles, 935' gain, 2 hours RT for both summits.

We finally found Snooky Ricketts home, after this OUR 3RD VISIT TO THIS COHP, he was working in the barn area. The driving directions and the details of our first 2 visits are given below.
"Good morning sir, are you William Ricketts."
"I'm one of them, most people don't know me by that name, they call me Snooky."
"The gentleman in Bug Hollow gave me your name."
After the usual niceties he said to me, "Ya you can go up there but you'll need to sign a waiver liability form." Which I did but not before our long conversation - the 80 year old farmer was full of stories. I was his first Canadian visitor.

Over the years a number of people with different reasons have come there to visit the high country of Wilson County. He told me of the vistas offered up above.
He renovated the original 1940 farm house about 10 years ago, his wife past of cancer about 5 years ago. His daughter and grandson live down the road and keep an eye on him. The farm has been in the Ricketts family for generations and he's hoping his 19 year old grandson will take over. "My son is into computers and not at all the farm type."
He raises/sells horses, has goats, cattle and a working dog. He still rides on weekends with friends.

I asked him if the first ridge to the east carried his name, "No, they tell me that its named "Nebo Hill", all the hills in the area apparently have names from earlier owners. The HP is named "Ballard Hill".
It seems to me that names have a way of being changed, and Nebo should definitely be renamed "Ricketts Hill".

A chap from the Wilson Post (Ken Beck) was here a few years back to do an article on the Wilson Highest Points. I told him that I would look it up, which I did --- Ken Beck can be reached at ""
It is a most interesting article, mostly an interview into the life of "Snooky Ricketts". In it Snooky talks about Bob Schwab's visit, so Ken went out and interviewed Bob Schwab. A most interesting read for COHPERS.

The 3 Wilson County Highest Points, listed in the referenced article (courtesy USGS), and that are on the Ricketts farm area are:
BALLARD HILL (In the PB Library as Mount Defiance Southwest and the Wilson COHP) spot elevation 1363'.
NEBO HILL ( I added it to the PB Library as it merits to be there) spot elevation 1346'.
MOUNT DEFIANCE (already in the PB library) spot elevation 1327'.

Mr Ricketts explained the way and allowed us to park inside his gate, just before the house (36.06826,-86.18728), the HP is to the E. All my distances are guess-estimates.
I walked the farm road easterly as it winds/climbs 3/4 mile to the ridge NW of Nebo Hill(36.06727,-86.18000), then another .2 mile to a gate at a N-S fence line 200 yds N on Nebo Hill (36.16686,-86.17750). I descended the ridge E (woods road).4 mile to the col (remnants of an old corrugated shed), then moderately steep 1/4 mile N to the MOUNT DEFIANCE SOUTHWEST summit. The actual summit is just outside of the Ricketts farm. A fairly straight forward easy trip.
On my return I took a 200 yd detour S to NEBO HILL (36.06550,-86.17809), added a rock cairn to my chosen spot - superb open ridge/views in 3 directions (best of this trip).

Our heartfelt thanks to Snooky Ricketts.

VISIT 1 DATED 2016-03-07 ... tried 3 approaches all with no access.
Rose and I came here with Ken Oeser's TR, with the understanding that the route had an easy access, especially since it was confirmed by Mike Beavers .... it didn't turn out that way, we screwed up big time. We followed Ken's driving directions ???? Road names have changed over the years and stupid us should have realized this.

We checked out 3 approaches ... north (per Kens TR), west and east.
From the JCT #70/Beech Log Road we went south on Beech Log for .75 miles to a left on Trapp Road (thinking this was Ken's route), .3 miles south came to a locked gate #288 (36.08301,-86.16441) with no information. No way to proceed, the satellite says the road continues for another half a mile.

We returned to Beech Log and continued on Beech Log for another mile to a left turn on Sherrilltown Road, Beech Log continues right (west). We went south on Sherrilltown for a good distance looking for a west approach ... no luck as I didn't study this side. A bit of a mystery how Ken drove 2 1/2 miles to a farm.
It was here that "stupid is stupid does", we screwed up.

We then went to my Plan B .... my pre-researched eastern approach.
From JCT #70/267 in Watertown we went south on #267 for 1.8 miles to a right on Old Statesville Road followed by an immediate left onto Smith Hollow Road, 1.6 miles (south then west ) came to a T-Junction with 2 Mailboxes (36.06575,-86.16137), Smith Hollow continues left. We turned right and in a few hundred yards came to 2 locked gated driveways (west and north), no way to proceed without risks. We would find out that with permission this is the shortest/easiest approach.

On the right is a gated Service Road that climbs north half a mile to MOUNT DEFIANCE summit, capped with Communication Towers. We didn't want to make this a fruitless approach, so we parked in front of the gate, hopped the gate and walked the road to the summit to the Towers, for an easy 35 minute RT.

We didn't have the info for a southern approach so we had to leave for another day.

VISIT 2 DATED 2017-03-16 ... unsuccessful, no one home for permission.
We came back to check out the S approach. Smith Hollow Road goes S to Rocky Branch Road, .6 miles W on Rocky Branch we turned right (N) on Bug Hollow Road which we followed 1 mile to its dead-end (36.06166,-86.17084) at a private house (the HP to the N of this house). The Owner told me that the HP is to the W and not to the N. Didn't want to discuss the subject with the guy, so I asked him if he knew owner's name of the HP, "Yes, its William Ricketts on Sherrilltown Road, W of here." !!!! of course the name "Ricketts" rung a bell !!!!!. I thanked the guy ???? It was here that we realized our mistake and the name change of the roads. Back to Ken's route. !!!!!.

Once on Sherrilltown we knocked at a few doors finally finding #4200 Sherrilltown Road on the E side of the road (36.06915,-86.18767), a gated entrance with an old sign "RICKETTS 4200". This address is 1 mile S of Beech Log Road or 2.75 miles S of Hwy #70. So please, all you still need to read is Ken, forget this TR. The HP is to the E.
The gate was just latched with a chain, We parked here, I walked 100 yds to the 2 story large white house on the right, the barns are straight ahead/left. Loose horses in the area, truck at house with no one home. Didn't want to proceed without permission, we waited at the gate for half an hour with no luck. "There is a very friendly feel to the place". Oh, Well!!


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:935 ft / 284 m
    Extra Gain:206 ft / 62 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route: farm rds eb from #4200 sherrilltown rd
    Trailhead:#4200 Sherrilltown Road  840 ft / 256 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack

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