You all know that we LOVE to hike. Heck, we LIVE to hike with our dogs. I spend a considerable amount of time each week googling new places and scoping out new trails. But, sometimes it feels a bit random and we often have trouble deciding where to go next. I had seen people in other parts of the country tackle these awesome peak-bagging challenges and decided to see if there was anything like that here. Well there is.. The SB6K Challenge!
What is the SB6K Challenge?
The SB6K (South Beyond 6000) Challenge consists of 40 summits in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. There are 60 peaks in total over 6k feet, but 40 were chosen that meet the following criteria:
- Each qualifying peak is over 6,000 feet above sea level
- There is a drop of more than 200 feet in elevation or .75 miles in distance between qualifying peaks
The Challenge originated in 1968 when Hugh Thompson of the now Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (previously called the Tennessee Eastman Recreation Club) decided to start putting together a challenge similar to those in the Adirondacks and White Mountains. He enlisted the help of 4 other hikers to select the peaks and routes for the challenge. They were A.L. Edney and Leroy Fox from Knoxville, and John Davis and Ed Dunn of the Carolina Mountain Club. Together, these two groups formed the official SB6K Challenge. 39 of the 40 peaks lie in western NC near the TN border and the final peak is in Tennessee.
40 SB6K Peaks to Bag!
The 40 peaks of the SB6K challenge are situated in 6 mountain ranges.
The Smokies (12 Peaks)
Tricorner Knob/Mt. Yonaguska
The Great Balsams (10 Peaks)
Grassy Cove Top
Black Balsam Knob
The Black Mountains (10 Peaks)
Winter Star Mountain
The Roan Highlands (3 Peaks)
Roan High Knob
Roan High Bluff
The Plott Balsams (5 Peaks)
Our Quest – Tackling the SB6K Challenge with Dogs
Once I decided that I wanted to tackle this challenge, I reached out to my friend and hiking buddy Lauren and asked her what she thought. Of course, being the bad ass hiker friend she is, she was all about it. So, the two of us will be tacking with challenge with 2 dogs each. She with her dogs Sutton and Deuce, and I will be rotating Boomer, Ringo, and Roxie. And maybe occasionally Helo if the circumstances are right and I think he’s up to it.
Because all of these hikes are a 2-3 hour drive from where we live, we are going to do the challenge in chunks. Our goal is to do at least one trip to the mountains per week, plus some camping/backpacking trips, in order to tackle all 40 peaks. We already hit our first two, Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountian, and are planning a hike for this Friday to hit another 4, the Plott Balsams.
I am so excited to share this journey with you. I’m sure it will be hard at times, and exhausting, and sweaty, but it will be SO worth it. Lauren and I can’t wait to get back out there and bag some more peaks, and I know the dogs can’t either!
I’ll be posting after each of our hikes with pictures, route info, and insider tips for each hike. Be sure to check back for updates, and maybe to cheer us on. I’m sure we’ll need it! 🙂
For more info on the SB6K challenge, check out the Carolina Mountain Club’s website!
Want to hike with your dog but not quite up to summit challenges?
We can help get you started! You can find all sorts of hiking info on our blog, from dog hiking gear to DIY dog first aid kits & dog friendly trail reviews. Questions? Leave a comment below or shoot us an email via our contact page!
Thanks for reading,
Debbie & The Mutts
Wish us luck!