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  1. #1

    Talking Albert Mountain, NC

    Howdy, all, me again. :-) Having completed the Georgia section last month (along with the first six miles of NC, to Deep Gap), I'm already plotting next year's adventures. It's well-established that I'm a worry-wart on the more cowardly side (which doesn't prevent me from accomplishing anything, but does make me obsessively plan/prepare for everything - LOL! ).

    That said: Talk to me about Albert Mountain. (Please) I know this is going to be the hardest part of the Trail yet, and scares me to way more than the climb out of Bly Gap did (which was difficult but doable).

    How bad is it? is this where the hand-over-hand stuff comes in?

    I'm worried about making sure I'm ready for something like that (and i've got all winter and the beginning of spring to train for it).

    Thanks!
    MamaKat the Slowpoke Section Hiker
    “By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my own actions a great sinner, and by calling a wanderer.”
    -Quote adapted from "The Way of A Pilgrim"

  2. #2

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    It's steep - up if northbound, down if south. I guess it's considered one of the steepest sections of the trail, but it's not long, about 1/3 of a mile. A couple hand over hand spots, as I recall, but it's doable. I'll say this, I would not have wanted to do it southbound/downhill.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by WMR View Post
    It's steep - up if northbound, down if south. I guess it's considered one of the steepest sections of the trail, but it's not long, about 1/3 of a mile. A couple hand over hand spots, as I recall, but it's doable. I'll say this, I would not have wanted to do it southbound/downhill.
    1/3 of a mile... OK, that sounds doable. I can survive anything for 1/3 of a mile. I'll definitely be going NOBO (I live in N GA, so I'm working my way up the trail). Hand over hand is super intimidating to me but.. doable. I'll just work on my arm/core/upper body strength between now and May.
    “By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my own actions a great sinner, and by calling a wanderer.”
    -Quote adapted from "The Way of A Pilgrim"

  4. #4

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    Hand over hand is a bit of exaggeration if I remember right (my hike was in 2001). I did have to stow my hiking poles as it was too steep for there use and I had to use my hands to help brace myself. I may have had to use my hands to help pull/push myself up in a couple places. It was no big deal. There are other places further north (e.g. in Maine, climbing Katahdin) that were as bad or worse (but perhaps for a shorter distance).

  5. #5

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    "I did have to stow my hiking poles as it was too steep for there use and I had to use my hands to help brace myself. I may have had to use my hands to help pull/push myself up in a couple places. It was no big deal."

    That's what I meant by hand over hand. A few places in that short but steep climb. And, yes, no big deal.

  6. #6
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    I considered it to be a short preview of some of the New England rocky climbs. I really enjoyed it (but then I like that stuff). And the view from the fire tower up top is well worth it!

  7. #7
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    The 2.8 mi side trip to Pickens Nose just before Albert Mtn is well worth it IMO.

  8. #8
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    The 2.8 mi side trip to Pickens Nose just before Albert Mtn is well worth it IMO.
    2.8 total. 1.4 one way include some on trail and some on gravel road.

  9. #9

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    1. Hand work is just for balance, it isn’t rock climbing
    2. Yes, would stow your poles that last half mile
    3. Definitely plan on taking a photo break at the top, fire tower views are spectacular

    If you can take the time, you might be surprised at how much easier a two week section is than 5 three day sections. Your trail legs really do develop. Just don’t try to carry two weeks of food. Happy trails.

  10. #10
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    I did the same thing as you--heard and read all of these stories, my shuttle driver even warned me about it. But when I actually got there and started climbing, I kept wondering when the really bad stuff was going to start. Next thing I knew I could see the fire tower up ahead and it was over--not bad at all.

  11. #11
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    I did the Albert Mtn climb in the middle of a thunderstorm. It wasn't that bad. The "hand over hand" part people are talking about is short, like 0.2 mi. Going up climbs like that isn't as scary as going down.
    It's all good in the woods.

  12. #12
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    It's not bad at all. Must have done it northbound at least 6-8 times and probably southbound 2 or 3 times. I live close by. Northbound seemed harder. I never stowed my poles in either direction. I was able to hold both poles in one hand and use the other to hoist me up/down. I actually enjoyed the challenge. While going northbound, just about the time you get tired of the climb, you come upon the steel legs of the tower on top. Enjoy your hike and don't worry too much about this section. The Standing Indian Basin on up to the NOC is my favorite section.

  13. #13
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    I'm afraid of heights but I had zero issues with Albert Mountain. As far as difficulty it's more fun than hard. The climb out of Stekoah Gap (Sweetwater Cliffs aka Jacobs Ladder) is much harder, IMO.

    Part of the trail just before the Albert Mountain summit is on the side of the mountain, with a steep drop to the right for awhile, but there's brush and trees so that you don't feel like you're teetering on the edge of oblivion.

  14. #14
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    No problem going up the steep side. Much worse in NH/Maine. In any case there is a blue blaze weather trail. Would bypass only when lightning is present.

  15. #15
    scope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    The 2.8 mi side trip to Pickens Nose just before Albert Mtn is well worth it IMO.
    Its not that far, and well worth the side trip. The TH is a half mile from Mooney Gap and it might be another half mile to the end of the ridgewalk. Was there one day and all of a sudden we had company from folks climbing the cliff.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaKatBrigid View Post
    ...Talk to me about Albert Mountain. (Please) I know this is going to be the hardest part of the Trail yet, and scares me to way more than the climb out of Bly Gap did (which was difficult but doable).

    How bad is it? is this where the hand-over-hand stuff comes in?
    How about I show you? First you have steps, then its large rocks, a couple of them which require hands to stablize that first step up. Steps are much worse in my opinion, but that's because you're almost there by the time you get to the rocks. Nice campsite up there, planning to stay there next time I get by.

    Albert3.jpg

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    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by scope View Post
    How about I show you? First you have steps, then its large rocks, a couple of them which require hands to stablize that first step up. Steps are much worse in my opinion, but that's because you're almost there by the time you get to the rocks. Nice campsite up there, planning to stay there next time I get by.

    Albert3.jpg

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    Albert8.jpg

    Albert9.jpg

    Albert10.jpg
    If that’s the campsite in tye last pic, it doesn’t look very level.

  18. #18
    scope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    If that’s the campsite in tye last pic, it doesn’t look very level.
    Seemed flat to me, but the truth is that most sites at high elevation aren't going to be perfect. Its the compromise you pay for being up there, along with the extra wind bonus. Here's another, right by the tower and mostly flat.

    Albert11.jpg
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  19. #19
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scope View Post
    Its not that far, and well worth the side trip. The TH is a half mile from Mooney Gap and it might be another half mile to the end of the ridgewalk. Was there one day and all of a sudden we had company from folks climbing the cliff.
    It’s .7 from the gap to the TH, and .7 on the trail. 2.8 round trip.

    2675CCC9-77DA-4398-90E4-39B9D7FA4FCC.jpg

  20. #20

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    I met a couple up up there in their late 70’s. They were fine.

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