Route: Georgia Beyond 4000 (GA)

Georgia, US

Charles Raffensperger proposed the challenge (2/16/2015):

Modeled after the South Beyond 6000 (SB6K) I'm planning a similar challenge in Georgia to climb all 4000 or higher peaks in one continuous footpath starting April 3, 2015. There are 32 named peaks along with 3 other "provisional" peaks - I plan to climb all 35. I'll be taking a west-east route and expect the total route will be slightly over 200 miles. To-date there appear to only be 2 other people who have climbed all of these peaks, although not in one continuous trek.

I've documented the attempt in this website:

I'll update the website after the attempt with my results and a trip report.

Raffensperger was unable to complete the route:

Here is a short update on my attempt:

I did follow my plan, starting on April 3, 2015 but managed to summit only 12 peaks (of the 36 on my list) and covered a total of 132 miles in the process. The primary problems I ran into were a navigation/scouting error where a specific jeep road through the Rich Mountain Wilderness area had a break that didn't appear on my maps - at night I wasn't able to bushwhack successfully to find the other connecting road to get to the ridgeline....that issue cost me more than a half day to change my route entirely on the fly; the other problem was difficulty navigating through extremely dense vegetation (and an invalid GPS point I had programmed into my Garmin) to summit Double Knob South. The combination of those 2 issues meant that by the end of the 4th day I was at least a full day behind schedule and my crew had to be back at work later that week. Instead of continuing I treated this as a great learning experience and scouting trip to help plan for another attempt next spring. 

I was very fortunate also to have run into a member of the Georgia Appalchian Trail Society during my attempt who told me that their group had just officially put together a new GA 4000 Challenge with official rules (similar to the SB6K) and a list of peaks that was slightly different than mine. On my next attempt I plan to follow the GA 4000 Challenge rules and peaks.

The FKT/OKT remains open!

34.8898026, -84.574098


About to start my ga4k challenge. Is there a known route to connect all 32?

I think the whole point is to execute on your own route. Do you want to travel mostly by trail or by trail. A LOT of distance from the two 4k's in the cohuttas to Rich Mtns and then to Blood Mountain Wilderness. Good luck...

Just saw this and wanted to comment in response to the question about route. While it IS possible to do most of this using trails and FS roads there is a not-insignificant amount of bushwacking required. Many of the peaks don't have a trail all the way to the summit so you have to jump off the trail or FS road and navigate to the highpoint using GPS only - most of those bushwacks aren't too bad but some are heavily covered with vegetation (Double Knob South for example). Trying to do this any time of year when vegetation is high would make it MUCH more difficult. The most difficult section of bushwack is the string of peaks to the northeast of Hiawasee which would involve a good 8-10 miles of no trail. 

Also, I don't think there is any way to avoid at least some paved road to connect various points. The route I had planned back in 2016 would have probably ended up being 220-230 total miles. I started my attempt in the Cohuttas and ended up at the Brasstown Bald ridgeline with 132 total miles and 33,000' of gain. But that included paved road sections to get from the Cohuttas to the Rich Mountain Wilderness and another big chunk of road to link Rich Mountain to the Duncan Ridge Trail. Now, you COULD link up those areas by taking the Benton McKaye Trail but that would add quite a few miles to the overall total.

The other place that involves at least some road portion is getting from Grassy Ridge over to the last set of peaks around Rabun Bald. I don't think there is a way to avoid some road linking those 2 areas, although you can choose from less or more road there.

If you don't want to leave the route figure out how you will get aid and what you can do to sleep as this is a multi-day undertaking. And I STRONGLY suggest doing scouting beforehand on parts of the route that are off-trail or confusing to get familiar with that terrain and wayfinding. Plug all coordinates into a GPS and use that for all the peaks and other significant waypoints.

One day I want to attempt this again - but until then I'd love to help with any logistics. I know most of this pretty well and know a few tricks, places, that are not well-known.