Cocke County High Point Trip Report

Old Black

Date: November 29, 2003
Author: Ken Oeser

It snowed the night before, and there was a dusting on the road, less than an inch at the parking lot. We were prepared for cold so we bundled up and began the hike, surprised that there were about 5 others on the trail this day. The snow was about 4 inches deep once on the AT and only two sets of footprints up this high ahead of us. Surprisingly we were the first, and likely only, people to summit Old Black for the day. We followed the easiest route, sometimes following a pink-ribbon route through the fallen trees.

It likely never got above freezing where we were, as it was after dark when we returned to the car. We started at 7:45 AM, summitted at 1:15 PM, and reached the car at 6:15 PM. My legs got sore, as did Annette's, and Alexandra hiked down rather slowly due to a sore ankle. Part of it could be due to few breaks in the cold and sitting on the snow and my backpack. Thanks to a slight breeze, my fingers got cold a few times even in double gloves, the same ones I used on Rainier and Hood! Our toes got cold too at times, but nothing very bad as long as we kept moving. We put my extra sweater over Alexandra's coat, and never had to use my extra medium-weight jacket on anyone. With snow on the trail, we hiked until after dark without lights, but still had to pull them out for the last mile or so. It was not winter, but it sure seemed like a winter ascent to us! The snow on the trees was beautiful, like heavily flocked store Christmas trees.