Ascent of MacRae Peak on 2020-03-08

Climber: Henry Pharr

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, March 8, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:MacRae Peak
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5846 ft / 1781 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had already climbed the HP of Caldwell and Wautaga Counties here from the brutal Profile Trail, but now it was time to ascend the spine of Grandfather Mountain from the Swinging Bridge.

Boy, I could not have picked a worse day as snow and ice has pummeled the Mountain less than 24 hours before. That being said, after I checked with the rangers to confirm the trail was clear, I scrambled up the cliff from the parking lot to ascend climb the "Scout Trail" among ice and snow. They were not kidding, as the snow often overcame my thigh and made foot travel difficult if not almost crazy through the areas not melted by the late Winter sun. I slipped, I slid, and I even hit my arm hard trying to scale the cliffs surrounding MacRae Peak.

I had been warned of the perilous status of the trail, but with moderate temperatures in tow, I ascended carefully, but strongly through Grandfather Gap and up the many ladders and rock scrambles to Raven Rocks (MacRae Peak), which rises vertically from the trail up a series of more ladders to a flat summit high above everything around you.

In the distance was Calloway Peak and its wooded prominence. Seeming so far away, it was not and as I munched on my sub sandwich, I observed many peaks below and away (the Peak, Hanging Rock, Beech Mountain, Grandmother Mountain, Sugar Mountain, all of the Roan Highlands and the Linville Gorge).

At some point, my body said time to go. I climbed down this peak and carried on to the next summit, Attic Window!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1617 ft / 492 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route:Maintained Trail and Bushwhack
    Trailhead:Pull off on Maintained Road  4229 ft / 1288 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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