Ascent of Blockhouse Mountain on 2018-01-15

Climber: Chris Gilsdorf

Date:Monday, January 15, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Blockhouse Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5470 ft / 1667 m

Ascent Trip Report

I climbed this obscure, remote 5er deep in the NC section of the park simply because it was on my list of the Southeast 123 (peaks with elevation+prominence >6000'). It proved challenging, yet doable, and surprisingly rewarding.

To climb the peak, make like you're headed to Rocky Top/Thunderhead (ample directions exist online). Once you crest the range at the AT and turn L to head northbound, go 0.3 miles along the AT to the next small saddle and turn R onto the signed Jenkins Ridge Trail. This obviously sees little traffic and is overgrown/eroded in spots, but was still very straightforward to follow. Go about 2-2.5 miles, contouring gently downhill in a few drainages, then cross Gunna Creek at the low point of 4600'; if icy, this crossing will be a bit tricky. I continued upward, now due N of the summit, crossing two smaller creeks. I had originally intended to continue all the way to Haw Gap and bushwhack from there, but was tiring of the endless trail, and simply struck out uphill at the second creek, staying climber's R of the creek bed. A line of thicker brush pushed me left right next to the creek, but things soon opened up again and I found the bushwhacking easy and straightforward, if a little steep--definitely one of the easier 'whacks I've done in the park! I topped out on the ridge just NE of the summit and walked the final few minutes amidst heavier but still manageable brush to the summit area, adorned with a small cairn and hosting some nice views toward Clingmans Dome and Leconte through the trees.

This took me 7 hours roundtrip, 4 hours up and 3 down. Roundtrip hike is approximately 15 miles and 4200' of gain. The snow was pretty but not much of an obstacle, maybe 1-2" at most. Wonder if I have the first calendar winter ascent of this one...
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