Flint Mountain Cliffs – 4-14-2016

It had been a little over two years since I last stood atop the Flint Mountain Cliffs and during that time I had promised a certain person that I would take them there from the top down. Although it took me over a year to fulfill that promise, it did come to pass and it ended up being another exceptional day on the mountain spent with some remarkable friends and family. On this trip I would be accompanied by my son Tyler, Tommy ‘Bol’Dar’ Warden, John ‘Gnome’ Forbes, Thomas ‘Badger’ Mabry, Kitty ‘Rock Sprite’ Myers, and last but not least Amanda ‘NightShift’ Moore. The adventure began around 10:30 am as we all assembled near the Rocky Fork area.

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View of Flint Mtn Cliffs as seen from Whitehouse Mountain Cliffs. The Flint Mtn Cliffs are well hidden in the trees.

Having been all over the nearby Whitehouse Cliffs and surrounding peaks for many years I have looked over at the lesser Flint Mountain Cliffs and wanted to explore them many times but, it was not until as recently as 2014 that I finally took the time to make it happen. Not wanting to go from bottom up as I always knew there would be a much better and cooler way in from the top, we did locate the best route and made a secret ninja path to it. Every time I walked under the cliffs on the main Rocky Fork road I would look up at the cliffs and swear that I would stand at the tip top of it someday. It is hard to describe the feelings that I had when I finally looked down at the road from that high puckering perch, it was indeed a dream come true.

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Looking down at the road from the high point of Flint Mountain cliffs

It was a crisp yet sunny April day as we began our journey up the mountain to where the off trail ninja route begins. It was not long before we were making our way around the steep and laurel covered slopes which led us down to the summit of the cliffs.  On my last trip here It was snow and ice covered so it was nice not having that to contend with however, it was warm which meant the snakes could be out so we were on high alert for that and for good reason as we would discover later. Despite the bright sun the views of Whitehouse Cliffs and Rocky Fork were amazing as usual. We all spent some time at the highest point of the cliffs before slowly making our way down their entire length to the creek below, leaving not one square inch unexplored.

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Upon arrival at the cliffs, here I am giving instructions on the descent (or telling a tall tale) (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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Bol’Dar and me leading the way down to the top of Flint Mtn Cliffs . You can see Whitehouse Cliffs in the background. (Photo by John Forbes)

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Coming down to the top of the cliffs is dangerous as you can see here they are covered with growth and you could easily walk right off them

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Coming down to the cliff tops from above

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John and Amanda being very careful not to damage the ferns and other unique flora that grow only around the cliff tops as we make our way down

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Tyler and some of the others at the top of Flint Mtn Cliffs where we got our first unobstructed view of Whitehouse Mountain Cliffs. Flint Mountain Cliffs are growth and tree covered so you can`t tell by looking at pics that you are standing on a cliff and great care must be taken to not walk or fall off them !

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Kitty`s first view off the high point of the cliffs ! Promise fulfilled.

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Badger and Kitty taking advantage of a prime photo op

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Looking over at Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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The Gnome and The Badger doing some Gnome Posin` on the tip top of Flint Mountain Cliffs !

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View of Whitehouse Cliffs

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View from the tip top apex of Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Looking over at the other side of Flint Mtn Cliffs and towards upper Rocky Fork

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View of Rocky Fork from Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Panning further to the right you can now see Frozen Knob

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Frozen Knob with the left side of Whitehouse Mtn starting to come into the picture

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More of Whitehouse Mtn and cliffs

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs slightly zoomed

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs (zoomed slightly more)

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs zoomed. In this pic you can make out the triangle rock that sits on a ledge of the rock spire on the far left side, and the Shrine Rock (Dragon`s Tooth Rock) that sits on the top center of the cliffs

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Tyler and Bol’Dar on the high part of Flint Mtn Cliffs (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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Bol’Dar and Badger copping some visuals from the top of Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Some well known posers happy to be atop the Flint Mtn Cliffs

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John ‘The Gnome’ Forbes at the top of Flint Mtn Cliffs with an impeccable view of Whitehouse mtn Cliffs behind him is very happy he came along on this day

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The Gnome on top of Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Me posing with the badger on the high point of Flint Mtn Cliffs (Photo by John Forbes)

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Me and the Badger at the high point of Flint Mtn Cliffs with Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs in the distance (Selfie by Thomas Mabry)

I had brought my larger camera and new tripod but, discovered I had left the mounting screw at home so I did not get any good pics with it but, relied instead on my trusty pocket cam so you must excuse the poor quality of my images for this expedition. We took the time to climb out onto each rock spire one at a time on our way down being very careful as it is an extremely dangerous place to climb. There are many pyramid shaped, tooth like, rock spines that stick almost straight up in the air like the spines on a dinosaurs back with a few flat ones in between. It was very exciting to explore each and every one of them during our descent. It was about this time that my son Tyler had his first ‘Badger Error’ when he accidentally dropped his hiking stick and watched as it jettisoned off the edge and plunged into the laurel abyss at the bottom of the cliffs. To give you some perspective on these cliffs check out this pic that was zoomed from Whitehouse Cliffs.

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Miss Kitty had already made her way down to the next level of the cliffs like a kid in a candy store there were enough rocks here to keep her happy for a whole day !

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Making our way down the cliffs we start to see exactly what we were just standing on top of

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Side view

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Looking up at where we just were

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Looking up at one of the high points we were just on

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Looking down you can see the cliffs are mostly covered with moss and other growth so one must be very careful what you are standing on !

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Another view looking down towards the creek and road below. These are not the highest cliffs around but a fall from here would not end well

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we would be lucky enough to have this awesome view almost all day long

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Our killer view of the mighty Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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The Badger points out the awesomeness of the view

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My son Tyler before he lost his stick !

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Tyler standing precariously close to the edge of Flint Mtn Cliffs (prior to losing his stick)

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Me on the high part of the cliffs getting some shots of the Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs across the way (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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Zoomed shot of Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs. The ‘crack‘ is seen well in this one (on the left side of the cliffs)

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Buzzards flying high above the summit of Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs

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Zooming in on the buzzards flying high above the summit of Whitehouse Mountain

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Buzzards over Whitehouse Mtn / Cliffs

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Buzzards love to hang out on Whitehouse Mountain and the cliffs there

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My son Tyler on the edge of the cliffs (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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John gnome poses as Badger and I get pics as we make our way farther down the Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Badger and Gnome stand beside one of the many large rocks that has to be negotiated down and around in order to descend the cliffs. It is only possible on the backside of the cliff edges as the front side is a vertical drop at all times

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Bol’Dar begins his descent as he comes away from the cliffs edge to get around and down to the next level

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The Badger becomes one with the rock face as we traverse along its bottom edge

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My son Tyler follows the Badger as we descend the backside of the cliffs edge

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Just a few of the many obstacles encountered along the way down

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Bol’Dar studies the route intensely

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A large crack found along the way

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Of course I had to look and see what was in the crack !

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We all looked closely at the cracked and stacked rocks and fallen trees above us on the way down as one must be constantly aware of the surrounds

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Our route back to the cliffs edge after getting around the last vertical drop

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Looking down at Tyler as he has already made his way under the fallen tree and down the base of the cliff edge as we continue down the backside to get around one of the many different vertical drops of Flint Mtn Cliffs. He has not lost his stick yet !

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The others going down the same route that Tyler just did

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The Badger crawls out onto the ledge trail that we were thankful to have

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Tyler following the others as we make our way around the backside of the next large obstacle to get to the next point on the cliffs

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Following the others across the narrow ledge trail

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Making our way along the backside of just one tiny part of these amazing cliffs

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One of many huge cracks. I could see Amanda on the other side !

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Badger points out the huge crack and vertical drop we had just completed our journey around

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Of course everyone knows the Gnome can NOT say no to crack !

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John poking his nose (and other things) into the crack

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John and his crack fetish

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You can see the vertical towering rock spire above john as he plays in the crack

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John monkeying around on the cliffs

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John perched on the side of the cliff

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John Gnome poses the puckering perch he climbed up to on the side of the cliffs

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Everyone hanging out at the large crack rocks ! There is a Gnome climbing the crack, a Badger in a tree and others in various places around and on top of the rock !

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Just for perspective, this is the view from where John is perched in the last picture

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Looking back across the face of the cliffs

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Climbing out on the next point

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Our view once out on the next peak of the cliffs as we continue climbing down these unique cliffs

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This view never gets old

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View of Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs framed with a blooming tree

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View of Whitehouse Mtn / Cliffs over a gorgeous blooming tree. It was here that Tyler lost his hiking stick

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Climbing a bit lower on the cliffs looking back at the overlook we were just on

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Looking down at the next parts of the cliffs edge that we would be checking out

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The ever present view of Whitehouse Mountain and Cliffs

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Life on the edge above a large crevice

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Making our way down and around the many drops of the Flint Mtn Cliffs (Photo by John Forbes)

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Looking back I could see Bol’Dar descending the previous drop to catch up with us

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Looking back you can see The Badger who adds some scale to the many drops seen here that we had to negotiate down and around. It was here that there was another Badger Error as he too dropped his hiking stick only he was lucky enough to have it happen on this backside where Tyler could retrieve it for him !

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Tyler handing the Badger Staff back to him from below

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Going around yet another huge vertical drop

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After the last drop I got to walk the narrow edge of the next section of cliff

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John and Tyler on the narrow edge. it is a completely vertical drop on the other side

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John drawing energy from the vertigo effect of being on the edge

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View of the previous drop which sits at the beginning of the edge

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The Badger and Bol’Dar getting some pics while they await their turn on the edge

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John on the edge as Tyler makes his way down the steep backside on his way to the next puckering perch of the Flint Mtn Cliffs

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The Badger looks on intently as he joins me on the edge

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Badger on the edge. It is a long way straight down here !

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Crossing the ledge (Photo by John Forbes)

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The other side of the previous picture just to show that we were on the knifes edge of the cliffs as we crossed the ledge (Photo by John Forbes)

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Bol’Dar getting ready for the edge

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John capturing views from the edge

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After the edge I make my way further down where i can see some of the others below me as they make their way towards what I call the three spike rocks. These remind me of the dinosaur back that Fred Flintstone slid down every day at the end of his work day !

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Looking back up at John who is still standing on the narrow edge

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John could not resist Gnome posing while on the edge !

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Tyler on the next part of the cliffs

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Tyler stands on another part of the cliffs still heart sick over his hiking stick that is somewhere a hundred plus feet below in the laurel hells

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Almost to the three spined dinosaur back

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Me above the spine rocks (Photo by John Forbes)

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Amanda provides some scale to the size of the spine rocks

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A very happy Mitty on one of the dinosaur spine rocks

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Tyler on the edge of the highest spine rocks as he joins the others there

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Tyler carefully negotiating around a tree on the edge of the top spine of the dinosaurs back part of the cliffs. Holding to a tree is a smart idea here as it is a long way down beside him as he is on the edge of the cliffs

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My view of the others as I straddle the edge of a pointed overhanging rock above them

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Checking out the spine rocks on the cliffs

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Glamour shot of the Badger as he sits on one of the spine rocks (Photo by John Forbes)

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Me on top of one of the many levels of the Flint Mtn Cliffs (Photo by John Forbes)

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Looking back at the previous drops behind us. Not quite half way down at this point

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Tyler and John below me on the upper of the three spines

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John gnome poses to show his elation of being in a gnome habitat

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Another one to include the sheer drop beside him and the road way down below

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Tyler checks out the sheer drop below him as he stands on the upper spine

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Badger negotiating one of the many dangerous spines of the cliffs (Photo by John Forbes)

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I am about to step over and onto the spine

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Me getting some shots (Photo by John Forbes)

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Some vertical-ness beside me

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More vertical as I continue to look up at the vertical cliff beside me

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I was on top of that just a minute earlier !

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Looking down

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Small part of the vertical side of the cliffs

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Looking back over at the top of the last drop

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Looking down at John who is already on the middle spine. You can see that it is a sheer vertical drop from the lower spine just below him !

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View of part of the cliff side from the spines you can see rather large ledges there. we would learn later from Luke the climber that he seen small animal bones there where something has been feeding

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Mother Nature`s landscaping never fails to amaze me

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Tyler and John on the middle spine

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Another large crack where the cliffs are separating. one day these huge pieces could fall away and pile up at the bottom

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More views of the front vertical face of the cliffs

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As I was admiring the ferns and mosses I couldn`t help but also notice the series of cracks that run down and under one of the large rocks we were just standing upon

A little over halfway down the cliffs we came upon a huge crack where a large slab/portion of the cliffs had fell away from the main part which created this awesome cellar-like area which also had a rather large basement-like area beneath it. We all spent quite a bit of time in this unique and ornate place where it was decided we would shoot our group shot at as well. It was at this time that we were all surprised by a young climber that was coming up from the bottom looking for climbing routes to create for his friends on a future trip. It was a pleasure meeting Luke Evans and even more so to watch him rappel down the face of part of the cliffs drilling for bolts that would be used for climbing later.

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This is Luke. We met him coming up as we were going down. He was doing some rappelling on the cliffs

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Looking down I can see the badger below me as we continue our descent of the numerous vertical drops of the cliffs

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Another look down at the Badger as ‘Nightshift’ (Amanda) joins him there

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Note the large pointy rock high above the Badger`s head

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Looking back across the spine rocks

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Climbing down the cliffs on the pointy rock that is above Badger and the others as I make my way to join them in the cool looking location they have found below

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Unique side view I got while climbing down , I could see that one of the tall rock towers actually has air under it !!

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As I caught up with the badger I seen that he had discovered The Cellar !

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As I climbed down closer I could see the cellar and how it was formed by a huge part of the cliff system that had fallen away creating a huge crack that was filled with other fallen rocks which made a large cellar and I would soon learn it even had a basement under it !

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Amanda joins the Badger at the cellar

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Once inside this huge cellar, John went to climb down into it and the entire wall where his right hand is now placed, was cracked in multiple pieces and was moving ! It is ready to collapse so this is a very dangerous area to be hanging out in

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John quickly took the pressure off his hand as the rocks were moving like a large rock jenga tower that was ready to fall

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Mega tons of rocks with trees growing on them were above us here in the cellar

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John was very careful not to put any more undue pressure on the cracked wall of death

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John at the moving cracked wall of death (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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John continues his assault of the cellar trying to bypass the cracked wall to get to the lower levels

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John still above the basement of the cellar

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The front part of the cellar you can see the crack is full of large rocks that have fallen into the other side of the basement area. That crack continues out to free fall of the vertical side. getting into the basement would require roping

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The lower side of the cellar

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John and Badger exploring the cellar

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John in the depths of the cellar as badger and I look on

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Looking up at the spines and loose rocks above the cellar !

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John getting pics of us from the entrance to the basement of the cellar

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John down in the lower part of the cellar. This is where the basement part is but is too dangerous to enter without a rope but it does go completely under where I am standing and comes out on the other side behind me where the crack that formed this is.

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A lone Gnome in a known Gnome habitat. Now, say that three times as fast as you can !

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The Badger and my son Tyler inside the cellar (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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Our group pic that we took from inside the Cellar ! (Thanks for clicking this for us Luke !)

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Luke just before taking the group shot for us ! (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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The view back across the face of the cliffs from my perch at the cellar

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Another shot across the face of the cliffs as seen from the cellar

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Tyler on an adjacent cliff edge near the cellar

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Badger hanging out beside one of the neat rock formations of the cellar area

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From the lower end of the cellar you can see this vertical part of the cliff which is the final and butt end of the Flint Mtn Cliffs as that sheer wall goes all the way to the bottom and is the last drop before reaching the creek and the road. This is a prominent side which can be seen from the road below.

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Stacked pointy rocks above the cellar. I have to wonder what keeps them up there and how long they will remain ?

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John sits on the outer edge of the cellar where killer views are had

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A happy and content Badger looks up and marvels at the rock formations around the cellar

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The RATman high on life living on the edge at the cellar (Photo by Thomas Mabry)

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a happy Gnome poses on the edge of the cellar

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The Badger and Gnome hanging out at the cellar

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Life on the edge of Flint Mtn Cliffs (Photo by john Forbes)

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Me and Bol’Dar swapping stories on the cliffs edge (Photo by John Forbes)

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More views of Whitehouse Mountain and cliffs

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Whitehouse Mountain / Cliffs

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Whitehouse Mountain / Cliffs

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Looking at Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs through the large separation of the cellar

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Lower end of the cellar / basement area. You can see how it would feed you right out to the face of the cliffs where you would fall to your death

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Looking down into the basement below the cellar on the lower end

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Looking down into the lower end of the basement. Amazing how trees grow on rocks. (Photo by John Forbes)

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The Badger stands above me in the upper part of the cellar

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badger and Gnome hanging out within the cellar

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John relaxes at the cellar

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Badger at the cellar

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A very happy ‘Rock Sprite’ beside some of the massive rocks of the Flint Mtn Cliffs at the cellar area

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Kitty and Badger showing love at the cellar

After leaving the RAT cellar we continued down a steeper part of the cliffs when my son Tyler stepped on a juvenile Copperhead snake which luckily only had enough head room to bite the toe of his boot. It was an extraordinary find as this one still had the bright green tipped tail that the very young ones have which they used to wiggle and attract prey. This turns a bright yellow a short time later before becoming the normal color of the adult Copperheads. I had heard of this phenomena before but, had never witnessed it in the wild so this was quite the treat and of course I was happy that my son or no one else was bitten. I was still wondering where its parents were !

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I was high above making my climb down when I seen everyone was looking at something on the ground. it was then i learned that my son Tyler had stepped on a baby copperhead !

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Juvenile Copperhead

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Juvenile Copperhead

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Juvenile Copperhead (note the green tipped tail)

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Close up of the young Copperhead

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Close up of the young Copperhead

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Super close up

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This shows the green tipped tail which will soon turn yellow before disappearing to the normal color. They elevate the tail in front of them and wiggle it like a worm to attract prey.

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Close up of the green tipped tail of the Copperhead

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Another close up

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One last shot before we said goodbye

We all eventually ended up at the base of the cliffs but, due to time restraints the Badger and Kitty had to cross the creek and get back to their vehicle so they could leave so only Bol’Dar, Tyler, and myself took the extra time to explore around the base of the cliffs. This was also a very amazing place and I am sure I will come back to explore it even more although that will most likely be done during the winter months as I am sure there are plenty of fanged creatures there during the warmer months. We also got to watch as Luke drilled and anchored the last few bolts and completed his rappel to the base of the cliffs.

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Me and Badger getting some shots off the backside of the cliffs (Photo by John Forbes)

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Looking at the base of the cliffs

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Finally down to the bottom of the cliffs

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My view of Whitehouse Mtn Cliffs as seen over the road from the base of Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Looking at the base of the cliffs before we go over to it and make our way around to the other side

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Looking up at the cliffs from the base you can see the separated rocks of The Cellar in the top right of this picture

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Once around to the other side of the cliff base we found Luke`s rope and could hear him above us as he was drilling anchors in the cliff face

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Looking up at the rope we could not see Luke as he was well above where we could see from this point

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Continuing along the base of Flint Mtn Cliffs as I wanted to explore as much of it as I could on this trip

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There is a nice fairly clean route along the base of the cliffs

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Looking back at Luke`s rope we could see it was in front of a small rock shelter. We did not hang around long under it due to the occasional rock shower he was creating !

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Following the base of the cliffs over to the laurel hells in hopes of seeing Tyler`s hiking stick. We did not have the time it would take to locate it.

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Cliff bases are always interesting places to me

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Following along the base of Flint Mtn Cliffs

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Looking up

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On our way back, Tyler and I saw Luke as he was coming down the rope with his huge rock drill !

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Luke and his big yellow drill !

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Luke descending the rope

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Luke gets closer to the bottom

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Almost down, and we advised him the last few feet would be air !

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Luke finally touching down at the base

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Looking at the base of Flint Mountain Cliffs

The three of us made our way over to the creek to find a way across without getting wet (which is not easy yet doable) and walked the road the short distance back to the vehicles to rendezvous with John and Amanda as Badger and Kitty were already gone. It had been another spectacular and epic day in Nature which I am sure will be repeated again at a different awesome location soon. Until then,,,,,,

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Finally we reach Rocky Fork Creek

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Rocky Fork Creek

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Trying my best to get some delay in the bright sun with a handheld pocket cam ! it was here that I noticed the pyramid rock sitting in the middle of the creek above us. I have taken many pics of that rock from the other side for many years and always assumed it came down from the top of Whitehouse Mountain Cliffs

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Rocky Fork Creek and the awesome triangle / pyramid shaped rock

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Unique pyramid rock

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Close up of one of the pyramid rocks I have been obsessed with for so many years

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Another angle of the uniquely shaped rock as I prepare to cross above it

Posted on 22 June '16 by , under RATtreks.

2 Comments to “Flint Mountain Cliffs – 4-14-2016”

#1 Posted by Billy Tunis (15.12.16 at 19:22 )

You ok RAT. Haven’t seen any posts in a long time.

#2 Posted by admin (17.12.16 at 01:49 )

Doing ok, thanks for asking ! I have been busy working and hiking and no time left for blogging ! I am 16 trips behind as of now ! Hopefully i`ll get caught up one of these days !

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