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(Overnight) Backpacking - Grandfather Mountain - April 6-7, 2013

Come join your THOG Friends on this early Spring backpacking adventure on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina!

Known for sweeping views and an impressive array of wildlife, Grandfather Mountain is one of the most wonder-filled places in the Southeast!

On this challenging backpacking and hiking adventure we will encounter rugged steep terrain, wonderful overlooks, and the climbing up rock faces with the aid of pre-positioned ladders!

BE WARNED! This backpack and hike is EXTREMELY strenuous and requires much stamina and coordination. If you are afraid of climbing on wooden ladders or afraid of heights this adventure may not be for you!



Saturday April 6, 2013 - We will meet in the Chapel Hill area at 7:00am with exact location supplied via email to participants. From the carpooling location, we will drive out to the area of Grandfather Mountain where we will begin our backpack along the Profile Trail for 3.1 miles to the junction with the Grandfather Trail. From that junction we will backpack an additional[masked] to where we will set up camp. Our camping area will be less than 1 mile from MacRae Peak where if the weather is favorable, we will be on summit for a possible spectacular sunset! Be sure to bring a working headlamp with an extra set a batteries as nighttime will be upon us. From MacRae Peak, we will hike back down to our campsite for the night. Sorry,  NO campfires are permitted on the higher elevations of Grandfather Mountain.

Sunday April 7, 2013 - On Sunday morning, we will get an early start and once again head up to the summit of MacRae Peak to catch the chance for a spectacular sunrise!(weather permitting) Be sure to bring your breakfast as we enjoy this sunrise so an extra daypack is recommended. After breakfast we will hike the additional extremely strenuous mile or so to make it to the Mile High Swinging Bridge where a visitors center with restrooms, snacks, and souvenirs awaits. After enjoying the area near the Mile High Swinging Bridge, we will backtrack up and across MacRae Peak and back down to our campsite and pack up for our journey back down to NC 105 via the Grandfather and Profile Trails.


To be eligible for this event you must:

- Be in an experienced backpacker in very good physical condition.

- Be prepared for over 2100' elevation gain on the 3.1 mile Profile Trail with additional very steep and rocky ups and downs along the Grandfather Trail.

- Be able to maintain an average backpacking/hiking pace of near 2 MPH and adequately stay with the rest of the group.

- Be willing and able to climb up and down fastened wooden ladders at locations.

- Be fully geared (which includes backpack, food, water, water filter or water purifying chemicals, tent, sleeping bag, extra clothes, rain gear, bear bag with rope, etc...)

- Be willing and able to hang all food to keep it from the bears and other animals.

- Be willing to carry your cell phone with you at all times in event of an emergency.

- Be willing to sign a THOG waiver a liability.

- Be responsible and only sign up if you are sure this event is for you and you have the necessary time available to attend.

- Be responsible for all your food, water, water filtration, and camping gear.

- Bring rain gear as this event will proceed rain or shine.

- Bring a workable headlamp with an extra set of fresh batteries.

- Be able to backpack 10 miles over the 2 day period with the additional hiking of approximately an additional 5 extremely strenuous miles.

- Be able and willing to hike in the dark to catch potential sunset and sunrise.

- Be willing to reply to sent e-mails within 12 hrs of their issuance.

Camping -

- All camping is free of charge and will be primitive type without toilets and showers. Again, no campfires will be permitted.

Sleeping Bag -

- Your sleeping bag should be rated for colder weather conditions. A sleeping bag rated down to 30 degrees or colder will be necessary. Even if your sleeping bag is rated at 30 or even 15 degrees extra warm clothes should be brought along as it will be most definitely be chilly at times of sunset and sunrise.

Carpooling -

- A carpool location in the Chapel Hill area will be chosen at a later date and will be supplied via email.

- Please split the cost of fuel with your driver.

Drive time -

- Drive time from the Chapel Hill area to the Profile Trail @ NC 105 is approximately 171 miles or 2hr. 49 minutes.

- Please expect to be back in the Chapel Hill area around 11pm or so on the 7th.

Weather -

- Weather updates will be issued as the event nears but this event will proceed rain or shine. Presently, the forecast is calling for a low risk of precipitation and highs in low 50's and lows in the 30's.


- When you RSVP, please answer the series of supplied questions. Sorry, but your RSVP will be removed if the questions are not answered or ignored.

- *** IMPORTANT NOTE: It is recommended to RSVP with a laptop or home type computer. Some smartphone apps. will not display the RSVP questions.***

Questions -

As always, if you should have any questions, please email me directly from my profile page @









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  • Larredo

    Thanks John for this trip! Although the snow and ice kept us from reaching some peaks, it was still an incredible trip maneuvering up and down icy slopes! Definitely great company, too!

    1 · April 9, 2013

  • Heidi

    This turned out to be an excellent trip in spite of the icy conditions which did not allow us to complete our goals. The weather and the company couldn't be better. Thanks so much for organizing this trip, and I look forward to the next attempt when the ice and snow will be faint memories.

    April 8, 2013

  • John M.

    Backpackers, it took until 5pm to get the humidity to drop which has allowed and the temperature to rise above 32. Now as of 6pm the temperature is 38 degrees and still rising!

    1 · April 5, 2013

    • John M.

      That is @ an elevation of 5280' at the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

      April 5, 2013

  • John M.

    The updated "official" National Weather Service forecast @ an elevation of 5232':
    - Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Light south wind increasing to 6 to 11 mph in the morning.
    - Saturday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 40. Breezy, with a south wind 15 to 22 mph.
    - Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 54. Southwest wind 8 to 11 mph.

    April 5, 2013

  • John M.

    For those attending this event, I will be sending out an email update this evening. Please watch for this update as I will need you to reply. THANKS!

    April 4, 2013

  • John M.

    Closely monitoring the effects of a storm system getting ready to impact the mountains and the potential effects it may have on this event. Elevation and temperature will play a big role as to what type of precipitation falls and how much is white.

    April 4, 2013

    • John M.

      But, once the system moves through, mostly sunny weather is still forecast for the weekend with highs in the 50's and low in the 30's.

      April 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    how would this compare to the slickrock as far as difficulty of the trail

    April 3, 2013

    • John M.

      MUCH less fallen trees but rockier terrain with less elevation gain/loss.

      April 4, 2013

  • Bob

    Great idea but I will wait til May when Macrae peak is less likely to be a sheet of ice.

    April 1, 2013

    • John M.

      As of 10:30 this morning, for comparison purposes, Mt. LeConte in the Smokies is down to 4" of snow @ an elevation of 6594' and Newfound Gap only has 1" left at elevation of 5046' according to the NWS in Morristown, TN. A big improvement from the 18" @ Mt. LeConte and the 15" @ Newfound Gap just last Wednesday March 28th.

      April 1, 2013

    • Bob

      Hope I'm wrong! You guys have an awesome time :)

      April 3, 2013

  • Nicole W.

    Along the lines of Bob's comments, just be careful. We were just on the AT this weekend, and there was no mention of snow, just less than a tenth of inch of rain with lows in upper 30s, highs in 50s. See FB pics for what we ended up with. It was precipitation, alright, just a different kind. But you know what you're doing and have been up there before and know what the rock scrambles can be like.

    April 1, 2013

  • Larredo

    Great forecast! Thanks John for the update!

    1 · April 1, 2013

  • John M.

    National Weather Service forecast for Alpine Meadows on Grandfather Mountain:
    Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.
    Saturday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 33.
    Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.

    March 31, 2013

5 went

  • John M.
    Event Host
  • Larredo
    Assistant Organizer
  • Heidi
    Assistant Organizer
  • A former member
  • A former member

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