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Ascent of Big Mountain on 2018-04-16

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, April 16, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Mountain
    Location:USA-Alabama
    Elevation:1548 ft / 471 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove around Big Mountain a long time searching for the an access spot, but leaving my car exposed beside locked gates or posted trails did not make me feel comfortable. Finally, on the west side of the mountain at 34.1349 N 85.89806 W, I saw a man operating some machinery with a road heading toward Big Mountain behind him. I approached the individual and explained my goal. He allowed me to start my climb from his property, of course, he did not own all the land I was going to be traveling on, but it was not hunting season, so I hoped the mountain would be unoccupied. It was 1.69 air miles to the summit from my starting point and I reached the ridgeline trail when I was 1.15 air miles from the summit after climbing for 40 minutes. The travel on the ridgeline was much easier than the bushwhacking I had to experience during my earlier climb because there was a trail, but when I was .6 air miles from the summit I saw a motion detector camera mounted on a tree on the right side of the trail. Ordinarily this would not have bothered me, but recently on Thacker Mountain in Mississippi I learned some of these motion detector cameras actually send a real time photo to someone's cell phone and they immediately know there is unwanted human activity on their property. I made a wide detour around the camera and had to endure some uncomfortable bushwhacking before getting back on the ridgeline trail again a safe distance from the camera. I just hoped I hadn't already tripped a camera earlier that I did not notice. Anyway, this area is so remote I doubted anyone could get where I was before I was already driving away. I reached the summit after covering 2.59 miles in 1 hour and 18 minutes. The highest point was 250 feet off the ridgeline trail according to my GPS, so it required a bit of bushwhacking to get there. The summit was disappointing for such a large mountain and big elevation gain. It was completely tree covered with no view. It took me 1 hour and 16 minutes to return to my car after covering 2.59 miles from the summit which was exactly the same distance as my ascent, even though I stayed on the ridgeline trail longer on my return before I headed for my car. I left a thank you note for the man who gave me permission to climb and I happily moved on.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack



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