Ascent of Hump Mountain on 2012-04-06

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Friday, April 6, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hump Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5587 ft / 1702 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a richly rewarding hike, 8.5 miles round trip. You follow the footsteps of the heroic Overmountain Men and pioneering naturalist Andre Michaux as you climb to spectacular mile-high balds. And if you do it in early April like I did, you'll probably meet several AT thru-hikers.

The trailhead is at the end of Roaring Creek Road, 4.6 miles from US19E (the last 1.1 miles are unpaved), elevation 4200. There are two gated woods roads here. The one on the left (Rd 5445) leads up to the Overmountain Shelter, and the one on the right is the Overmountain Victory Trail. Either will get you to Yellow Mountain Gap on the AT.

In 1780, the Overmountain Men crossed Yellow Mountain Gap on their way from the Tennessee territory to the Battle of Kings Mountain--which Teddy Roosevelt called "the turning point of the American Revolution." A few years later, the Frenchman Michaux followed the same route on his expeditions that led to the discovery of Catawba rhododendron.

I started at the right-hand gate--the Overmountain Victory Trail

The hike:
0.3 miles--an easy-to-miss switchback at the foot of a meadow. Avoid the road straight ahead and make a sharp left, following a path that contours around the hill and soon joins the old wagon road that leads up to the gap.
0.8 miles--reach the AT at Yellow Mountain Gap (el. 4681). Turn right (northbound) and quickly climb another 400 feet onto the ridge.
2.4 miles--summit Little Hump Mountain (el. 5459)
3.5 miles--Bradley Gap (el. 4960).
4.5 miles--summit Hump Mountain (el. 5587).

On your return, it's easy to bypass Little Hump. As the AT southbound emerges from the woods at a switchback (el. 5300) continue straight ahead across the bald and in 200 yards you'll hit the AT on the other side of Little Hump. This saves almost a half mile.

Peakbaggers will also want to add a side trip (about 1 mile each way) out to Big Yellow Mountain, which may or may not be higher than Little Hump. Both top out in the 5440 contour, and the col between them is 5240. Listsofjohn favors Big Yellow. Eyeballing them from the side of Hump Mountain, I thought Little Hump looked taller. I was running short of daylight, so I'll have to come back to bag Big Yellow. The Nature Conservancy owns Big Yellow and you should get permission before hiking there.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2337 ft / 711 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2337 ft / 711 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1937 ft / 590 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1387 ft / 422 m; Extra: 550 ft / 167m
    Loss on way in:550 ft / 167 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:Overmountain Victory Trail, then AT northbound
    Start Trailhead:Roaring Creek trailhead  4200 ft / 1280 m
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1787 ft / 544 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1387 ft / 422 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Gain on way out:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:bypassed Little Hump
    End Trailhead:Roaring Creek trailhead  4200 ft / 1280 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Hump Mountain

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Little Hump Mountain2012-04-06 a 
2Hump Mountain2012-04-06 b2337 ft / 712 m
Total Trip Gain: 2337 ft / 712 m    Total Trip Loss: 2337 ft / 712 m

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