FKT: David Hedges - Mt Mitchell (NC) - 2024-04-30

Route variation
out & back from Briar Bottom
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1h 55m 36s

I put in a moderate roundtrip effort on Mitchell on the evening of April 30th. It was not a race effort, but just worthy enough to submit. There are some much faster climbs with similar specs in the immediate region--Heartbreaker and Snook's Nose. But Mitchell is the most prominent big climb in WNC and the most technical. During my attempt, it was drizzling and sticky humid, which turned into a full on down pour on the descent. Between the deluge and the extraordinarily dense fog, my visibility was severely limited and footing was challenging (wet rocks up high and river-like conditions down low). The main motivation for submitting this roundtrip effort is to put a time up for the 'new Mitchell trail' which includes all of the extensive trail renovations including the key diversion just above the upper Higgins Bald intersection. This reroute adds, it appears, a good 0.15 miles each way. The roundtrip is therefore at least 0.3 miles longer than the 'old Mitchell trail' route, not including added short switchbacks elsewhere on the route. Trail work was conducted over the course of several years, wrapping up in late 2022. I do not know the exact extent of the trail work, nor if the renovations made the trail faster or slower, but I do know that it is longer. The difference is just great enough that sometimes Strava matches activities to the old segment, but sometimes only the new one which is the case with this file. In any event, while I believe the Mitchell Ascent record is the marquee one on this mountain, I do think pacing the climb just right to be able to get through the techy upper section and let loose on the less-techy lower section descent is a very cool challenge. Breaking 1hr 50 mins roundtrip would be a great accomplishment.