Category Archives: Off-season

Everesting Clingman’s Dome

4th time at the top of Clingman's Dome. One more to go! #everesting

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

Panoramic photo from the Clingman's Dome tower overlook panning from northwest to the southeast with Mt Leconte prominent in the center and the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area to its left.Panoramic photo from the Clingman’s Dome tower panning from northwest to the southeast with Mt Leconte prominent in the center and the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge area to its left.

Looking back down the steep path to the Clingman's Dome parking lot at the end of my 4th repeat.Looking back down the steep path to the Clingman’s Dome parking lot on my 4th repeat.

Quick Summary

Distance: 218.6 miles
Total ascent: 29,547 feet
Moving time: 17 hours, 10 minutes
Elapsed time: 20 hours, 47 minutes
Avg temp: 34 degF
Strava segment: Little River Rd to Clingman’s Dome Tower Correct Elevation Gain

It took nearly 21 hours, over 6 hours longer than I was anticipating as a worst case scenario, but I climbed to the highest point in Tennessee five times plus a sixth partial lap to reach the elevation of Mount Everest. It was quite the adventure … read on to hear all the details!

Raised relief map zoomed to Clingman's DomeRaised relief map zoomed to Clingman’s Dome.

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Wisconsin wrap-up

Long ice beard in Weyerhauser with Blue Hills I had just ridden through in the backgroundLong ice beard in Weyerhauser with Blue Hills I had just ridden through in the background. The beard is frozen breath, whereas the mustache is frozen snot (I had nasal congestion issues all week).
Kristine caught up to me near the very end of the ride and got this pic as we were pulling into Weyerhauser.Kristine caught up to me near the very end of the ride and got this pic as we were pulling into Weyerhauser.

We’ve been back in Alabama for a couple weeks now, but I still have photos and videos from one last ride in Wisconsin. Perfect timing for me to finish up this post as we are under a winter storm warning today for a couple inches of snow and ice here in Birmingham. Back up in Wisconsin on January 2nd, my first ride of 2013, I left Kristine’s parents’ house in Shell Lake and rode about 65 mile southeast down to Weyerhauser, Wisconsin through the Blue Hills outside of Rice Lake. This was the coldest ride of the trip with an average temperature of 10 degF. I started pretty early in the day, and it snowed the whole time with most of the ride into a stiff headwind. The snow was just beautiful as it was falling, and especially up on top of Meteor Hill – the high point in the Blue Hills. See this video I took of the snow shortly before descending off of Meteor Hill.

Even though the temp had warmed up a bit by the top of Meteor Hill — maybe 12 degrees or so – this was still the coldest part of the trip because I stopped for a while at the top and took too long of a video (the one above) with my gloves off. Then once I started again, I was on really deep, rutted snow on a long gradual downhill. This meant that I spent a lot of time braking instead of pedaling and generating body heat. Plus, the area was really rural so it would not have been good to have any kind of accident so I was especially slow and careful, which meant my heartrate stayed around 100bpm for 9 miles on the long gradual descent. This meant I was VERY, VERY cold by the bottom. Fortunately, this dumped me out onto a good hilly Co Rd F right through the heart of the Blue Hills where I could warm back up again by going hard. All-in-all I think this was the best ride of the trip.

Here are some of the bikecam videos I got — ordered with my favorite ones first.