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Ascent of Beartown Mountain on 2013-05-18

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, May 18, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Beartown Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina/Tennessee
    Elevation:5480 ft / 1670 m

Ascent Trip Report

The AT has been rerouted and greatly improved from Hughes Gap to Beartown Mountain, thanks to the Tennessee-Eastman Hiking and Canoe Club. Thru-hikers get a bonus mile here--what used to be 1.4 miles straight up the ridge now is 2.5 miles with nice switchbacks and a moderate 10-percent grade.

To reach the Hughes Gap AT trailhead from the town of Roan Mountain TN, take TN 143 south through Roan Mountain State Park (but not all the way to Roan Mtn itself). After 5.4 miles, turn right onto Cove Creek Road and continue 1.5 miles. Bear right on Hughes Gap road and continue 1.5 miles to the AT crossing at the unsigned but obvious TN/NC state line. Pavement ends at Hughes Gap as you leave TN.

The northbound AT actually heads south here as it climbs to the top of Roan, and for a few miles TN is east of NC.

The out-and-back hike to Beartown is 5.0 miles round trip and climbs 1440 feet. There are probably nice views near the top, but I was fogged in. My GPS showed a spot elevation of 5492 for the summit. No BM.

There is some question about whether Beartown should be a ranked peak, based on the prominence above Ash Gap. There are four 40-foot contour lines, so it seems to me it should meet the 160-foot minimum for the NC5K and TN4.5K lists. Not sure, but I think the difference is a matter of clean prominence vs optimistic prominence.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as an unranked summit, so I'm counting it as a mile-high peak--my 42nd of 121 in NC and 13th of 26 in TN.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1440 ft / 438 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1440 ft / 438 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1440 ft / 438 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:AT northbound
    Start Trailhead:Hughes Gap  4040 ft / 1231 m
    Time:1 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1440 ft / 438 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:AT southbound
    End Trailhead:Hughes Gap  4040 ft / 1231 m



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