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  1. #1
    Aardvark's Avatar
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    Talking AT- Fontana Dam to Clingmans Dome 10/08 - 10/11

    First of All, thanks to all on this thread which served as inspirations on Gear DIY and technique, quite a few items on this trip directly related to the innovations found in this forum!

    Saturday 1pm started out from Fontana Dam, finish at Clingmans 1PM Tuesday. Camped at the following sites, Sat Night- Birch Spring Gap, Hammocking. Sunday Night, Russell Field, Shelter. Monday night, Silers Bald, Shelter. Before the pics and reports ensue, a couple observations:
    1) I am now officially a gram weenie. I will definately pack out better than this trip in the future.
    2) 35 pounds doesn't sound bad for a 4 day trip, until you climb a 6500 foot mountain.
    3) I packed heavy intentionally in food (6.5lbs), and clothing (3.4 lbs which I wasn't wearing). Out of these, I determined I could have shaved 4 pounds easily.
    4) My sleeping bag and pack are WAY heavy, this Christmas I will give myself a G4 Pack kit (shaving 4 lbs), and do up a Down TQ (shaving 3 lbs). Thats and additional 7 lbs. Add in 2 lbs additional crap, plus food and clothing savings, I would be down to 22 lbs. I lost 9 physical lbs on the trip, so next time I will do so before the hike lol.

    Now for some of the pics....
    DSC05093.jpg, PA080017.jpg, PA080025.jpg
    1st pic, starting out (2 other guys with me, Attila and Matt from Scouts. 2nd pic, perfect view, perfect week, leaves just now turning. 3rd pic, my sleep setupup night 1, in DIY Hammock, Tyvek Tarp in porch, Woobie-IX UQ. Went ahead and took standard SB due to last 2 nights in shelters.

    PA080026.jpg, PA090035.jpg, PA090045.jpg
    1st pic, typical quality of the water this trip, just a dribble. Definately used the Potable tablets, no chances here. 2nd pic, the not so comfy shelter, not sleeping on ground, but pretty darn close.
    3rd pic, typical colors experienced, as weather was GREAT, only issue was last day when we had rain, the leaves definate;y slippery.

    Next day truly a challenge, Russell Field to Silers Bald, 14 miles. Loved seeing the last 0.3miles branch on the ridge heading to the top of Clingmans, truly God's Country! Some unbelievable damage done to the 48 yo body, but Nietche said it best and I aint dead.
    DSC05228.jpg, PA110063.jpg, PA110073.jpg, PA110074.jpg

    Great trip but pretty demanding, to summarize the contributions this forum had to the trip in regards to DIY: Hammock, Underquilt, HUG Bugnet, RL Org, Suspension Whoopies etc, Tyvek tarp, countless Amsteel Biners/shackles, Wristies (made night before trip, thanks Knotty), and Stic-Pic for poles. Again, Thanks, yall rock.
    Last edited by Aardvark; 10-17-2011 at 13:01.
    .... the Aardvark (earth pig)... a rather unremarkable creature whose sole claim to fame is that it is the first animal listed in the dictionary.
    Rob

  2. #2
    Member DiezelDorf's Avatar
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    Thanks for the trip report guys! Looking like you guys had a fun (and exhausting) time! ****, 14 miles on the last day with elevation seems like hell to me. If I were there I dont know if id be able to pull it. Surprising how much weight you lose on the trail huh?

    Last time I went on only a 15 miler 2 day hike in the summer in TN and I lost 15 lbs. Nature can give you those types of crazy nature calls.

    Just wondering, what type of backpack are you using?

  3. #3
    Aardvark's Avatar
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    Old Outdoor Products Zenith. Good big stuff hauler, but I wanna go very light from here out.
    .... the Aardvark (earth pig)... a rather unremarkable creature whose sole claim to fame is that it is the first animal listed in the dictionary.
    Rob

  4. #4

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    sounds like a great trip. that stretch from thunderhead to clingmans can be a pain. lots of hand over hand scrambling with the trekking poles stowed away.

    the platforms at 113 are a welcome change from the dank old birch springs gap shelter. pretty cool that you were able to get your hammock up there. too bad that the rules dont allow you to pitch at any of the shelters though.

    I will be heading down to the smokies in early november for a 5 day loop on the south side of clingman's. plan is to stay in campsites for the duration and hang from my new wbbb. really looking forward to it.

  5. #5
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Memories! I've done that section twice--thanks for jogging my recolections! and you saw Rocky Top really is rocky on top HA!
    Now is that hammocked stealthed? If so BRAVO to you!
    9 pounds of weight loss in 4 days, what? I need some of those magic pills
    That shelter looks so much better without the bear fence. I'd stayed they with and without, to me a huge improvement in not only the look but the manners of those who stay there.
    Thanks again for the report and pics.

  6. #6
    Acer's Avatar
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    Ain't it funny how the hiking in the mountains, will turn you into a gram wienie? lol,,,I was never one myself, till I topped 10K 5 yrs ago and still working on lightening the load as they make new gear out of new materials,,,don't plan on stopping either as the age kicks in. lol,,,and,,you will find,,,you never quit learning either. Glad you had a great trip!!

  7. #7
    Running Feather's Avatar
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    Great report. Great pics. Thanks for taking us through it.

    HB and I have been trying to get this "Bad Boy" on the calendar for a while now, although, the other way
    "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is STOP DIGGING "

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hangin' Burrito's Avatar
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    Yeah.....like RF said, we've been wanting to do that same stretch except, from the Dome to the Dam.
    Figuring it would be a little less difficult. What do you think??

    Looks like a pretty good trip was had.Thanks for sharing that with us.
    "Is this the best you've got?!!" (Shortoff Mtn., Linville Gorge 2010)

    "Life is tough.....it's even tougher if you're stupid!".....(John Wayne)

  9. #9
    Acer's Avatar
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    From the Dome to the Dam is all down the mountain,,not up..yes,,,easier in my opinion. If your going to do it in the immediate future,,,be prepared for alittle snow now and then depending on the weather.

  10. #10
    Aardvark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hangin' Burrito View Post
    Yeah.....like RF said, we've been wanting to do that same stretch except, from the Dome to the Dam.
    Figuring it would be a little less difficult. What do you think??

    Looks like a pretty good trip was had.Thanks for sharing that with us.
    My main issue was knee issues, so downhill hrts more than uphill. IMO, there is no downhill path in the smokies, the balance going SOBO is to the decline, but especially from Silers to Russell Field got some pretty steep climbs also.

    For your viewing pleasure, the trail elevation map, Right to Left is my trek in reverse.... note miles 21, 19, 12, and about 9. Gotta love the 2000 foot down in the last 4 miles also.
    .... the Aardvark (earth pig)... a rather unremarkable creature whose sole claim to fame is that it is the first animal listed in the dictionary.
    Rob

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