Ascent of Mount Mitchell in 2009-05

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:May, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Mitchell
    Location:USA-North Carolina
    Elevation:6684 ft / 2037 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove up to see the new tower. It's not as high as the old tower and some of the trees have been cleared from the summit to open up the views. Spruce-fir forest on the summit shows signs of coming back from blight--lots of healthy young trees and not as many dead ones still standing.

If all the specifications are correct, you can now stand higher on Clingman's Dome than on Mount Mitchell.
Clingmans has a 54-foot tower on a 6643 summit, which adds up to 6697.
Mitchell's tower is listed at 10, 12, or 15 feet in various reports. Added to 6684, that makes the Mitchell platform 6694 to 6699. I'll measure next time I'm there, but it's probably less than 10 feet above the highest naural rock.

There are some disclaimers to consider:
1, I know the Mitchell tower is not on the highest outcropping, and it's likely the same is true for Clingmans. So it is probably not accurate to simply add the tower height to the summit elevation.
2, Does the 54-foot height listed for Clingmans Dome tower include the roof over the platform?
3, I've heard a report of a new measurement of 6,710 or 6,720 for Mitchell, and I know that a detailed survey of the Smokies elevations is underway.

Next time I go to Clingman's Dome, I'll have to bring my 100-foot tape.

I doubt that Dr. Mitchell is rolling over in his mountaintop grave, but maybe his rival Sen. Clingman can finally rest in peace.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:124 ft / 37 m
    Total Elevation Loss:244 ft / 74 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:124 ft / 37 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:Summit trail
    Start Trailhead:Summit parking lot  6560 ft / 1999 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:244 ft / 74 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Route:Summit trail
    End Trailhead:Summit parking lot  6440 ft / 1962 m

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