Route: Pitchell (NC)

North Carolina, US
62 mi
Vertical Gain
11,400 ft

"Pitchell" is the brainchild of Asheville, NC, runner Adam Hill. It is run almost solely on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail for 67 miles from the top of Mount Pisgah to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the Eastern U.S. Over 16,000 feet of elevation gain and gnarly technical sections make this an epic run, but aid is available due to frequent Blue Ridge Parkway crossings. Hill has run route at least 4 times with a best time of 15h6m. Mark Lundblad took on the challenge and set the current FKT at 13h28m (supported) in November 2011.  Note that a midnight start time is apparently "traditional" (though perhaps not "required"?), and was used by Lundblad.

Adam Hill's October 2013 run with a time of 13h34m marked his 6th finish.


GPS Track



On March 25th, 2020 the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation closed Mount Mitchell State Park until further notice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The park was closed at the time of the supported effort by Jessica Baker and Heather Griffith. Not only did the activity involve illegal trespass into a closed state park, it also marks an unfair situation in which the athletes took advantage of trails not currently accessible to the law-abiding public. Further, such activities erode the relationship and good will between the trail running community and the land managers who maintain and allow access to the trails. I respectfully request that Jessica Baker and Heather Griffith reach out to to withdraw their submission and reattempt the route at a later date.

For anyone looking to attempt Pitchell at the present time, NC Parks has not as of April 20, 2020 issued a statement on when they plan to reopen Mount Mitchell State Park. Further, the route leading into the park includes a section of the Buncombe Horse Trail (Pisgah FS Trail #191) which is closed to all activities by the general public through August 13, 2020 per Forest Order 08-11-07-20-071.

1.   People all over the state were on trails that weekend in parks that were technically closed.  People we know were on these trails and were told by park staff that the trails were open even if the parks were not.  There were no signs on any of the trails we were on indicating that the trails were closed.  On the trails in the closed state park, there were fresh footprints everywhere so we weren't the only ones who'd been on those trails that day.  The state has since closed sections of the trail we were on but that occurred after our run.

2.  The route we ran is the same distance closed or open.  It doesn't change the effort it took to do it and the fact that somebody is trying to diminish this is very disappointing.  We had no unfair advantage by running this when we did; in fact there were so many people out on the trails lacking proper trail etiquette we were actually put at a disadvantage.

Oh come on Kendall. This seems petty.  If this is the way things are played, then I would like to point out on several of your Strava cycling KOM, the data for your ride, which included the KOM segment, exceeded the posted speed limit and appears to show you failed to come to a complete stop at several posted stop signs.  G.S. § 20-4.01(49) states that “bicycles shall be deemed vehicles and every rider of a bicycle upon a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this Chapter..”, meaning that cyclists need to follow the same laws of the road as cars.   I’m order to avoid any hypocrisy, I respectfully request that you reach out to to withdraw your KOM status.  

...I respectfully request that you reach out to to withdraw your KOM status.

Done. One has been removed and I suppose the other is pending some sort of recalculation in their database. I'll follow up with a support ticket if I don't see it removed in a day or two.

And I know it seems petty, but the point is that we have a duty to keep our sport clean and honest. Trail poaching is greatly looked down upon in other user groups so why is it that running should get a pass? Also if someone is willing to claim to be the fastest at a route, they should also be willing to accept that their attempt is subject to scrutiny. FKTs are in an interesting place given that there's not a race director to call these things out as they happen. I firmly believe that we as a community need to hold ourselves to a high standard lest we erode both our relationships with land managers and the overall perception of the sport as a whole.

Anyway, the discussion on this particular attempt is moot. There was a previously recorded but never submitted completion of Pitchell in 18:46 and just yesterday there was a rather substantial improvement over that (which I suspect will be submitted here in due course).

Regardless of the current pandemic, trail etiquette would dictate that you would not enter/summit after park hours. 

Has anyone ever completed a Double Pitchell?

Mike Mason did starting on 10/16/20. I believe he started at Mitchell. He didn't want to submit for an FKT though

I will be attempting this run, along with friends Ryne Anderson and Brian Williams, starting just after midnight on Sunday. The weather is looking sweet and I am excited to have the chance to spend so much time on this trail!

Barring any catastrophes, I will be making a solo, unsupported attempt at Pitchell this coming weekend. The plan is to run Saturday after a midnight start but It's possible I could do either Friday or Sunday depending on weather. That said, thus far the weather is looking to be close to perfect. This attempt will be properly unsupported (not self-supported); I'll be carrying everything I need for the duration of the run with no external assistance or stashed items of any kind and filtering water from streams/creeks as necessary. I've done quite a bit of digging and have been unable to find any prior instances of anyone completing Pitchell in an unsupported manner; obviously none have been submitted here thus far.

Weather permitting, I'll be attempting Pitchell starting around midnight on Saturday, Nov 7! Might have to slightly change the day/time depending on conditions. 

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I'm planning an unsupported run starting tonight at midnight. I will be carrying all of my supplies and filtering water as needed. 

Anyone have any tips for water refill spots between bent creek and mt pisgah? I'm looking to do half of this challenge as a run/walk adventure soon.

I'm running Pitchell tomorrow, October 1, unsupported.