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Ascent of Peregrine Peak on 2014-05-19

Climber: Marshall Stewart

Date:Monday, May 19, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Peregrine Peak
    Location:USA-Tennessee
    Elevation:5375 ft / 1638 m

Ascent Trip Report

I now understand why I am the first to summit this peak on this website. I parked and started at the Alum Cave Trailhead. The Arch Rock is an excellent geological site, and hiking up through it is well worth the hiking effort. Alum Cave is beautiful but not a cave in my opinion. It is more of a cliff out crop, over hang or escarpment. The trail leads under the escarpment and is impressive. At this point the trail breaks away from Alum Cave and a sign points to the Le Conte Lodge. The summit is completely in the opposite direction of the sign and makes you want to head in the other direction, which I did. I hiked up the Alum Cave edge for several hundred yards and it just got to steep and thick. The rock was wet and slick, full of vegetation, so I headed back down to the trail where it broke from Alum Cave. The trail circumnavigates the summit and never hits the summit. I continued around until the trail starts to lose elevation on the Northwest side of the summit. Here you must bushwhack to summit. Pick your poison, because this is where it gets difficult. I chose a spot with the least resistance but had good hand holds with the Magnolia roots. It is hard to image or picture, but it is a class 3 climb at this point with soft mossy soil and roots as your only source of handholds. The climb is only a few hundred feet to the top ridge, but once on top it doesn't get any easier. Here the ridge is only a few feet wide and only a few feet high, covered with a canopy of Magnolia groves leaving only a few feet inside the groves to crawl. There is a defined animal trail on the ridge, but the groves only give you a height of maybe three feet to hike inside. Imagine a three foot by three foot tunnel to hike through; that is pretty much the ridge. Luckily this only last a hundred feet or so to the summit. I sat Indian style inside the Magnolia canopy to take my summit photo because this is all the room you have. There is no view in any direction, obviously. I can only image how difficult this last part would be in mid-summer with full vegetation, heat and humidity in the 90's, and insects that just won't stop.
Summary Total Data
    Route:Alum Cave Trail
    Trailhead:Alum Cave Trailhead  -9999 ft / -3047 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2 & 3
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy



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