Ascent of Lockhart Hill on 2018-04-18

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Lockhart Hill
    Elevation:820 ft / 249 m

Ascent Trip Report

If there has been some rainy weather before you visit Lockhart Hill, you might want to change you visitation date. The access road to Lockhart Hill was passable in my tiny 1991 Ford Festiva, but I did take a few risks through some muddy areas. Finally I reached a very muddy section when I was .71 air miles from the summit that I did not want to take a chance driving through, so I parked and started my hike there. I continued following the road until I reached a side road to the left when I was .61 air miles from the summit. Since this road seemed to be heading directly toward the highpoint I followed it instead of the main road. This was a huge mistake. Eventually the road turned left when I was .47 air miles from the summit and I had to begin a mild bushwhack that took me to the edge of a steep sided, deep ravine. I had already invested a fair amount of time and distance going this way, so I decided to continue down into the ravine and up the other side. The opposite ravine wall is where I had my biggest problem. I reached the thickest thorn maize I have ever tried to go through. I beat myself up as I struggled through this nasty torture. I kept thinking I would have already been on the summit if I had stayed on the main road, but now I was only a few hundred feet from the summit and I did not want to retreat all the way back through the thorns I did manage to get through already and back up the opposite steep side of the deep ravine. Finally I reached a road and an ATV trail that went directly up the west side of Lockhart Hill to the summit. It took me a total of 1 hour and 13 minutes to reach the highest point after only covering .91 miles. It was probably the slowest .91 miles of my entire life and most of that time was spent in the last few hundred feet through the thorns. There was no view from the summit due to the trees, but on ATV trail on the west side of the hill there was a small window of scenery. Of course, when I left the summit I did not return by my ascent route. I followed the road I had intersected after my thorny experience and after hiking .45 miles I reached the main road that I should have stayed on from my car. At this spot you would need to take a left turn when hiking or driving to Lockhart Hill, but any vehicle will not be able to travel down this side road very far. It becomes very bad quickly with a great deal of erosion. The coordinates here are 33.76816 N 86.49015 W. I continued my hike back to my car and on the way I passed a car that had apparently gotten extremely stuck. The car was spattered with mud and all four tires were covered with red Alabama clay. The individual must have walked all the way back to civilization and that was a long distance. I reached my car again in just 30 minutes of travel from the summit. Later, I looked at the topo map of Lockhart Hill and I wish I had studied it better before my climb. It was obvious my ascent route was not wise and I could have saved myself a lot of time and misery if I had just stayed on the main approach road.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford

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