Hurricane-force winds greet hikers atop Grandfather Mountain in NC, videos show

·3 min read

Grandfather Mountain saw extreme weather on Black Friday, but that didn’t stop a trio of adventure seekers from visiting the peak in western North Carolina.

Multiple videos posted on Twitter show UNC-Asheville student Evan Fisher, “visual storyteller” Billy Bowling and “storm chaser” Peter Forister could hardly walk against the harsh winds.

Fisher referred to the hike as “a high wind intercept.”

“Winds continue to wreak havoc on the outer ridgeline of Grandfather Mountain this morning,” Fisher posted on Twitter. “Peak gust so far is 102.1 mph.”

Bowling added that they were “taking body shots,” even on the “least exposed ridge.” He referred to the challenge as “epic wind chase moments.”

The trio reported hiking just under 9 miles in 7.5 hours, and experiencing wind chills of negative 14 degrees at one point. They did not reach the top of the mountain, but did go as high as 3,300 feet in elevation, Fisher said.

Some commenters on social media expressed doubts about gusts being 102 mph, so Fisher tweeted a photo of his anemometer, a device that measures winds. And yes, it read 102.1.

Videos tweeted by the three men had more than 23,000 views Friday, Nov. 26, with commenters torn between admiration and concern.

“Rescue will be next to impossible,” one person wrote.

“Get down,” another said.

Fisher, who lives in Asheville, is studying meteorology and describes himself as a “wind fanatic” and “Grandfather Mountain’s biggest fan” on his Twitter page.

A weather site at the top of Grandfather Mountain’s did not report 102 gusts on the peak. It recorded sustained winds of 37 mph, with gusts of around 45 mph. The high temperature for the day was forecast to be 28 degrees on the mountain, according to the National Weather Service.

Grandfather Mountain is a 5,946-foot peak that “is estimated to be 300 million years old,” according to Grandfathermountain.com.

“With rare exceptions, the temperature will be 10 to 20 degrees cooler at Grandfather Mountain than in the flatlands below,” the site says.

“The average rate is 2.2 degrees per 1,000 feet, meaning that for each thousand feet gained, the air is 2.2 degrees cooler.”

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