I did this as a drive-up. There is a lot of scenery on the way and at the top, making the drive well worth it.
Summitted in 7:46:58 at the end of a 100 mile bike race, climbing at 7 MPH for the last 25 miles in 50 deg. temps. It rained most of the day. This was my third hard event in 3 weekends with a 1/2 Ironman last week and a 170 mile bike race the week before (90 F and humid). I did a sprint triathlon the next weekend and then I was really sick with a fever about 3 days later and spent a day in the hospital. Maybe I was overtraining?
For an East Coast mountain .. this one
can put the hurt on you. We summitted
in very poor conditions and was not able
to enjoy the view from the summit.
Climbed with wife & best friend & man's
best friend (dog). We spent a long, windy
night in tent city about 800' below summit.
There is a VERY good backcountry camp
@ approx 5,800' called Commissary Ridge
that has incredible views w/ good water
sources. Hang your food here in trees!
This ascent came after a disappointing
unsuccessful attempt in March 2001.
We were hit with well over 2 feet of snow -
a good 2,000' below the summit. We ran
out of daylight & decided to turnaround. This
mountain is great for training & prepping
in the winter months.
Summitted Mount Mitchell three times now
out of four attempts. Best summit ever was
in October 2000 with Fall leaves changing &
one incredible harvest moon.
I basically drove to the top here (luckily the road is free unlike Mount Washington). Coming from Boston it was mission:impossible to find any decent hiking information in stores at the time (REI, EMS, etc.) and I didn't have any time to pick up information locally. When I got to the park office, I was able to buy the Mount Mitchell State Park Map which they thankfully have on their website now (link listed on the Mountain Page under the "Getting There" section). Unfortunately the AMC "NC Hiking Trails" book listed in the Books section does not have any good topo maps for Mount Mitchell - unlike the AMC White Mountain Guide (NH) which has excellent topos for the Whites. A trip report is available at the bottom of this page.