Ascent of Fox Mountain on 2018-04-17

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Fox Mountain
    Elevation:1969 ft / 600 m

Ascent Trip Report

As far as I can determine, Fox Mountain is the DeKalb Co. highpoint as well as the 13th highest named highpoint in Alabama. My motivation to summit Fox Mountain was very high because I had already climbed the 12 highest named highpoints and the 14th highest named highpoint in Alabama. I needed Fox Mountain to fill in a gap on my bucket list. I had too much difficulty locating the access point on the east side of the mountain from other trip reports, so I drove to the west side, but I got discouraged there as well. My navigational aid took me to a gated road that appeared to go very close to the summit, but that gated property was for sale. Although the land was not posted I felt the need to let the individuals in a nearby house know my intentions. I was not greeted warmly and they were not sympathetic of my highpointing pursuit. I left the area, but I had written down a phone number from the "For Sale" sign which I called only to get a voice mailbox, but I did leave a message. Finally, I saw two men working at a house nearby and I stopped to talk to them. They were very friendly and gave me detailed directions for access on the east side of the mountain. It turned out this was the same route described by Bill Jacobs in his 2000 trip report, however, after passing through "the tunnel" I reached a 'T' intersection with the right turn very heavily posted. I learned later that this was the residence of a professional baseball player for the Atlanta Braves. I took the left turn and after about a mile I reached a posted gate with fresh tire tracks beyond. Of course, I was discouraged, but then I received a call from the realtor I had left a message with earlier. He was willing to meet me at the gate I had been at earlier on the other side of the mountain to let me in until he realized I wasn't interested in buying the property, although I had carefully explained my goal when I left the voice mail earlier. Anyway the conversation ended quickly and I was still left with no safe access information. As I mentioned earlier, I was very motivated to bag this summit, so I drove around to the west side of the mountain again and parked at a cylindrical water tower at 34.72417 N 85.59904 W that I had seen much earlier. It turned out that I was able to hide my tiny 1991 Ford Festiva deep enough in the woods beside the water tower that no one could see my car from the main road. I was 1.66 air miles from the summit here. My plan was to bushwhack around the house that I was at earlier with the unfriendly people and eventually intersect the access road past the gate with the "For Sale" sign on it. After hiking for 28 minutes I intersected that road where I was only 1 air mile from the summit. It was an enjoyable hike except I did worry about someone discovering my car and calling the sheriff, but my car was quite well hidden. There were many deer stands along the road, so this is definitely not a summit you would want to attempt during any hunting season. I reached a geological point called Low Gap after hiking 48 minutes where I was .52 air miles from the summit and just 3 minutes later a reached a nice hunter's cabin. The road ended here .41 air miles from the summit after I had now covered a total of 1.77 miles. Past the cabin I had to bushwhack even though my GPS showed a trail, but 11 minutes later I intersected a road again when I was just .15 air miles from the summit. I was on the highest point after covering 2.06 miles in 1 hour and 1 minute. There were two rock outcrops here and my GPS recorded the southern spot to be about 1 foot higher which is not significant, so both features should be climbed. I did not find the benchmark indicated on the topo map. Next to this area was a good dirt road, so there is a drivable road to this summit, but is probably one of those posted properties on the east side of the mountain. I reached my car again after covering 2.48 miles in exactly 1 hour. I drove away extremely happy to bag this summit which took nearly 5 hours of my time!
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack

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