Ascent of MacRae Peak on 2016-03-22

Climber: Zachary Robbins

Date:Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:MacRae Peak
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:5846 ft / 1781 m

Ascent Trip Report

On my 30th birthday the weather was beautiful and I decided to take the day off to hike one of my favorite mountains in the entire South.

I started with Profile Trail, even on a Tuesday morning in March it was half-filled before 11AM. I really hope they build that new parking lot soon because this is always a problem. The section of trail above Profile View all the way to Calloway Gap was much rockier than I remembered. This was actually the most punishing climb of the day, including the downhill return.

First I jaunted up to Calloway Peak and went down to the airplane crash. I didn't stay at either long. Next I took more time on the beautiful open scrambles to Attic Window. I hopped down to Indian House Cave for the first time, it was much cooler than I imagined. A giant recessed cave beneath huge walls. Unlike Watauga View and Calloway Peak, I had Attic Window to myself for 20 min. It's a shame most hikers take the Profile Trail or Daniel Boone Scout Trail to Calloway Peak and return because they are missing the best part of the mountain which I would say is between Calloway Gap and Grandfather Gap.

There was a lot of ice on the climb up to MacRae Peak. The weather the weeks prior had been unseasonably warm but it snowed 3 days prior and the trail below MacRae never gets sun. I'm so glad I started wearing fingerless cross training gloves last year for my trekking poles, they really come in handy for rocks, cables, ladders, thorns. Yet again, I had MacRae all to myself for 20 min while I ate lunch. Where were all the people?

This is the first time I've ever went down the famous MacRae ladders section. I normally go around on Underwood Trail and then return climbing MacRae in the north direction. I have to say it is really slow going down this section, I'm glad there weren't crowds because it would've taken forever. Once I got to the swinging bridge there were about 50 cars in the lot, but it wasn't packed. The shop wasn't selling ice cream yet which was sad but I still bought a soda. On the return trip I had MacRae and Attic Window to myself once again, but it was past 5PM and most hikers have to be back at the pay lot before 5PM. The trek down hurt my feet a lot, enough to give me plantar fasciitis for the first time. I love Grandfather so freakin' much, but it seems to be the only mountain to give me quad cramps and foot problems. Despite the crowded touristy nature do not under any circumstance underestimate the long hikes from Profile or Daniel Boone. To me Profile is rockier and steeper than Daniel Boone so I'd suggest starting with Daniel Boone Scout Trail if you're worried about time and energy.

Full hike info and video
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Zachary Robbins
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