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Ascent of Mount Craig on 2009-08-11

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
Date:Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Craig
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6647 ft / 2026 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Black Mountain Crest Trail nb from Mount Mitchell to Celo Knob is moderate to strenuous, requiring some bushwacking.

Yesterday I hiked the first half of the Black Mountain Crest Trail (Mount Mitchell to Deep Gap) because I was told by a Park Ranger that the trail was strenuous to difficult ..... I didn't want to get in any trouble so I took his advice.
I found yesterday's hike moderate, so I'm back today to do the whole range as per my original plan ....see yesterday's TR for Mount Craig, dated 2009-08-10a for the first half of today's trip (Mitchell to Deep Gap).

From Deep gap (4 miles from the TH at Mount Mitchell picnic area) the Black Mountain Crest Trail continues north, going over 5 additional peaks. The trail is somewhat overgrown, in the open grassy areas, as it climbs north out of the gap, attention is required. The trail continues to be moderate to Winter Star Mountain, however from here to Gibbs it gets rough, steep at places and difficult, requiring some bushwacking. Proper dress is necessary.
--- Deer Mountain (6080'), all wooded with no views.
--- Winter Star Mountain (6203'), the summit is to one side of the trail, geodetic survey marker, there is a campsite on the partly wooded summit, open to the north with great views of the range. The decent on the north side is very rough and steep with cables, slow going.
--- Gibbs Mountain (6200'), the trail from Winter Star goes over numerous bumps/false summits, it is rough and difficult at places. As you near Gibbs the trail stays to the west and below the summit ridge of Gibbs ...... I found a rough herd path (pink flagged on the right), I followed it to the ridge where it turns left (north on the ridge) on its way to the summit, thru very dense rhododendrums. Summit is not obvious and requires some searching, I found it tough (30 minute RT). Once back on the Crest Trail I continued nb and found another herd path (a very short distance up the trail) that appeared to climb to the ridge.
--- Horse Rock Peak (6200')or Percy Peak, the Crest Trail continues more or less on the flat, stays to the west and below the summit, couldn't find a herd path and the going appeared much too dense so I decided to keep on going ..... I would find out later that this was a wrong decision as this Peak is on the "Beyond 6000 List" as unranked. I will have to come back if I want to finish the List.
--- Celo Knob (6327'), 3 1/2 miles from Deep Gap, the Crest Trail makes a sharp turn left below the south face of Celo at a Forestery Service Post .... immediately to the right of the Post is an unmaintained trail that leads to the south ridge and climbs to the wooded summit, no views. I didn't find a reported "sign on a tree", return to the Forestery Service Post (30 min RT).

From Celo Knob the Black mountain Crest Trail makes a long descent northwest, on a moderate grade, generally following Bowlens Creek 4 1/2 miles to the TH at Bowlens Creek Road.
To get to this TH from Burnsville (junction of hwy #19E/#197, Texaco on the corner), drive south on #197 a short distance to a left turn on Bowlens Creek Road, follow it to a very sharp hairpin turn to the right. On this turn is a sign "Water Shed Road", this is the TH.
The point to point hike, including the side trails was about 13 miles and 7 1/2 hours. Rose provided the necessary support. All went as scheduled, enjoyed my day inspite of the heavy downpour during the last few miles. Tonight we overnighted at the only Hotel in town.

"NEVER TEST THE DEPTH OF THE WATER WITH BOTH FEET"
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:402 ft / 122 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:402 ft / 122 m
    Extra Loss:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:13 mi / 20.9 km
    Route:black mtn crest tr from mt mitchell picnic area
    Trailhead:mt mitchell picnic area  6320 ft / 1926 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:nb to big tom
Ascent Part of Trip: black mtn range

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Mount Craig2009-08-11 a
2Big Tom2009-08-11 b
3Balsam Cone2009-08-11 c
4Cattail Peak2009-08-11 d
5Potato Hill2009-08-11 e
6Deer Mountain2009-08-11 f
7Winter Star Mountain2009-08-11 g
8Gibbs Mountain2009-08-11 h
9Celo Knob2009-08-11 i



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