What to expect for Mount Mitchell hiking

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What to expect for Mount Mitchell hiking
Question: I am heading to North Carolina in the last week of March and I’m wondering what the conditions will be for hiking in the Mount Mitchell area. I’d like to get up on some peaks if I can, but I’m not sure if I’d need crampons and extreme cold-weather gear. Thanks!!!

Geneseo, NY

Adventure Adviser: Mitchell barely edges out New Hampshire’s Mount Washington as the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. Sounds like a dubious honor, seeing as it tops out at a not-so-spectacular 6,672 feet–until you consider that Washington has some of the harshest recorded weather in the world. Which can only mean one thing for
Mitchell in the month of March: crummy, cold weather on the summit and the likelihood of snow and ice underfoot. As for current conditions, right now they have NO snow on the top, thanks to last week’s torrential rains, but that’s unusual. Your best bet is to assume you’ll need crampons–and plenty of warm layers and a waterproof shell–and then call a few days ahead to the
park office (704-675-4611) to find out what kind of weather they’re having.

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