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Ascent of Maple Camp Bald on 2019-05-24

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, May 24, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Maple Camp Bald
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5613 ft / 1710 m

Ascent Trip Report

Another candidate for training for my Mount Guyot hike in September, this was also a great opportunity to see a beautiful ridge below the Black Mountain Crest Trail and in the shadow of the amazingly magnificent Balsam Cone Mountain.

I arrived at the trailhead near the town of Celo, NC close to dawn and began a steady but manageable hike up the Black Mountain Horse Trail. I always hope for good weather on top, but I am not in charge of that. It humors me that the weather folks think they can predict the weather on the Black Mountain crests. They simply cannot. The weather is an independent force that agrees not with forecasts from the valleys below or any other educated guesses.

The trek uphill for the first 3.5 miles was relatively moderate and very enjoyable as I brushed past the early buds and leaves of many plants and trees. There was a magnificent rhododendron forest in the last half mile with beautiful buds.

After that point the trail turns steeply upwards towards the western side of the Ridge. The good part of this part of the hike are the occasional open views with rock faces that afford many views in all directions.

As I climbed the steep and wet trail up to the summit, I wondered how and why I had underestimated this trek’s steep incline. After a while, I stopped and ate and drank the water I had brought with me. It was a good break to take. Much needed.

The trail then began another series of switchbacks to the top of Maple Camp Bald. This was messy and uneven as the rocks shifted under my feet. I do not mind the wet ground as long there is a path. The trail crossed many streams and wet areas that used the path as an area of downward plunge.

That being said, the weather began to clear, the sun came out and arriving at the summit of Maple Camp Bald was nothing short of glorious! (To the west was a stunning view of the central Black Mountains including a surprisingly cloud free Mount Mitchell). You could also trace the path of the BCHT across the ridge to Camp Alice. Probably the nicest place I have ever taken a break to eat lunch and enjoy the surroundings. Did not want to leave, but the 6+ miles back to the car summoned me and I walked quietly among the gentle breezes down gradually.

All in all a wonderful long but enjoyable hike.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8969 ft / 2733 m
    Total Elevation Loss:8969 ft / 2733 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.4 mi / 20 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Mud/Swamp
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:8969 ft / 2733 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Open Country
    Start Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  -3356 ft / -1022 m
    Time:3 Hours 2 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:8969 ft / 2733 m
    Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    End Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  -3356 ft / -1022 m
    Time:3 Hours 5 Minutes



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