Ascent to Chatham County High Point-GIS scouting on 2018-05-02

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
Point Reached:Chatham County High Point - GIS scouting
    Elevation:53 ft / 16 m

Ascent Trip Report

In anticipation of an upcoming trip, I checked out the Chatham County GIS website (, which shows 1-foot contours when you zoom in close enough. This indicates that the highest natural ground in the county may be a 53-foot bump north of the water tank and across the railroad tracks at N 32.15263 W 81.18348 (WGS-84 datum). See the attached screenshot.

Josh Carlson's 2012 route will take you to this point. As you pass under a power line at the northeast end of the railroad yard, leave the tracks, veer to the right, and head west-northwest about 200 feet to the wooded location of the 53-foot contour. (I'm assuming this is natural ground but cannot say for sure without visiting. It is outside the 15-meter contour on the USGS quad.)

This point is about 100 yards east/northeast of the driveway for the Cherokee Hill Cemetery. The highest contour on the cemetery lot is 51 feet. The Cherokee Hill Cemetery is now owned by Clifton Baptist Church, Hwy 21, Savannah, 919-964-2335. Find cemetery photos at

I think we can confidently rule out the airport spot elevation 15.5 meters. It's listed as 50 feet on the Chatham GIS. There are also a couple of small 50-foot spots crowning Runway 28, but nothing registers 51 feet, and there's no natural highpoint here anyway.

NOTE: A C-130 crashed just east of the highpoint on May 2, 2018, killing 9 Puerto Rican military personnel. Authorities said that Hwy 21 (the access point used by Carlson) could be closed for weeks for repairs.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Red arrow locates the 53-foot contour. Cherokee Hill cemetery is to the west and the water tank is on an artificial hill to the south. (2018-05-02). Photo by Tom Layton.
Click here for larger-size photo.
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