Ascent of Mount Craig on 2009-08-10

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Supported by Rose
Date:Monday, August 10, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Craig
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6647 ft / 2026 m

Ascent Trip Report

Moderate ridge trail hike.

I was able to do a point to point hike thanks to the support of Rose. Starting at Mount Mitchell, north bound on the Black Mountain Crest Trail to Deep Gap (4mi) and ending at the Colbert Ridge TH down in the valley to the east of the Black Mountain Range (for a total of 7mi).
The Mount Mitchell State Park is off of the BRP at Mile 355.3, rte #128 leads to the summit's parking area. The posted TH for the Black Mountain Crest Trail is at the picnic area below the summit's parking area (elev 6560'). The northbound oranged blazed trail goes over 5 main Peaks (all over 6000') on the way to Deep Gap (elev 5700');
-- MOUNT CRAIG (ELEV 6647', bronze plaque "Locke Craig", geodetic survey marker).
-- BIG TOM (elev 6560', bronze plaque "Thomas Wilson", geodetic survey marker).
-- BALSAM CONE (elev 6600', summit to the right off trail).
-- CATTAIL PEAK (wooden sign on trail reads "Cattail Peak, elev 6583'", a herd path to the left (west) leads to the summit a short distance away).
-- POTATO HILL (elev 6475', a sharp peak, summit is just to the left (west) of the trail).

All summits are wooded with partial views except for Craig ..... my favorite summit was Potato Hill, a sharp peak with a rhododendrum lined trail, I would love to be here when in full bloom.

At Deep Gap I had trouble finding the Colbert Ridge Trail .... it is north of the Gap at a higher elevation in a small clearing. I found the yellow blazed Colbert Ridge Trail (no signs), and descended right (east) 3.5mi to the TH at Colbert Creek Road in the valley (elev 2835'). Half a mile from rte #80 (this is 6mi from the BRP Mile 345, on rte #80, just past the Carolina Hemlock campground).
After the hike Rose and I went for a refreshing dip in the creek.

I found all of today's trails for the most part easy to moderate and in good shape, except for the top section of the Colbert Ridge Trail ... rough and rocky requiring maintenance. The Ranger at Mitchell told me yesterday that the trails would be strenuous and difficult, and because of this information I decided not to do the whole length of the Black Mountain Range.
Tomorrow I will come back to this same TH and do the whole Range per my original plan. Rose agrees with this, she'll do groceries and laundry, check out the town out of Burnsville while I'm out hiking, we'll stay in a motel tomorrow night. Tonight we'll go back up to the BRP and stay at the same campground as last night, Cagtree Meadows, MILE 399.5.
Prior to going up, however, we had to drive to Burnsville to check out the place and identify tomorrow's pick up point. Decided to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant (it was great, we'll come back tomorrow).
We got back to the campground at 6PM. Great day.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:402 ft / 122 m
    Total Elevation Loss:75 ft / 22 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:402 ft / 122 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 327 ft / 100 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Loss on way in:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:black mtn crest tr nb from mt mitchell picnic area
    Start Trailhead:mt mitchell picnic area  6320 ft / 1926 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:nb crest trail to big tom
Ascent Part of Trip: black mountains

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Craig2009-08-10 a402 ft / 123 m
2Big Tom2009-08-10 b90 ft / 27 m
3Balsam Cone2009-08-10 c450 ft / 137 m
4Cattail Peak2009-08-10 d270 ft / 82 m
5Potato Hill2009-08-10 e195 ft / 59 m
Total Trip Gain: 1407 ft / 428 m    Total Trip Loss: 335 ft / 102 m

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