South Beyond 6000 Challenge (SB6K)


The South Beyond 6000 (SB6K) is an organized program for encouraging hikers to  climb the forty 6000 foot peaks in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The privilege of belonging is earned and can only be shared among those who have pushed onward and upward on foot to the tops of these peaks. The Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club started this program after they had studied similar concepts used in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Adirondack Mountains in New York.



In 1968 Hugh Thompson of the Tennessee Eastman Recreation Club Hiking Club (now Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club) began work on a challenge program involving the high peaks in the southern Appalachians. He enlisted the aid of A.L. Edney and Leroy Fox from Knoxville and John Davis and Ed Dunn of the Carolina Mountain Club in selecting peaks and routes.

The first South Beyond 6000 Handbook was issued on January 1, 1997. The formal sponsors of the program have always been the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club and the Carolina Mountain Club.

There are over 60 summits in the area above 6000 feet, but only 40 were selected by the criteria for the South Beyond 6000. The criteria for selecting peaks are

  1. The summit elevation is above 6000 feet above sea level.
  2. There is a drop of 200 or more feet to a saddle between one peak and another qualifying peak or, there is a distance between the peaks of .75 miles.

The 40 peaks are contained within 6 ranges: the Smokies, Plotts, Balsams, Craggies, Blacks, and Roans.  The southwestern most peak is Clingmans Dome in the Smokies, while the northernmost is Grassy Ridge in the Roans.  All 40 are in North Carolina or on the North Carolina-Tennessee border except Mt. Le Conte, which is within Tennessee.

Our thanks go to Leroy Fox, SMHC; Hugh Chase, SMHC and CMC; and the authors of 100 Favorite Hikes for the write-ups;  and to Frank Huffaker for the artistic arrangement of the maps.  A special thanks to Hugh Thompson, TEHCC, who was the driving force to initiate South Beyond 6000.  A special commendation goes to Dr. Ed Dunn of Asheville, NC, who has provided leadership to the SB6K program since its inception.

When South Beyond 6000 was first organized, most of the mountains over 6000 feet were pristine spruce-fir forested summits.  In the past twenty years, however, the wooly aphid blight and pollution from acid rain have killed the boreal zone trees, opening the canopy to wind and deadfalls along with thick briar patches.  The peakbagger confronts a thick and difficult vegetation to struggle through to obscure and often almost invisible summits, only guessing where the true summit lies.  Knowledge of map and compass, long sleeve shirts and long pants, and gloves are a must.

In recent years many hikers have used ribbons or flagging to mark their routes, leaving the ribbons behind.  South Beyond 6000 advocates the ethics of no-trace hiking.  When you climb these peaks, leave no trace and please remove any flagging that you may have used.  Climbing these peaks should be an adventure and challenge to future hikers.

In some cases the routes cross private property.  Hikers are responsible for getting permission from the owners.

Many of the peaks in the SB6K program are accessed by using the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).  Since the Parkway is frequently closed by sections in bad weather, especially in the winter months, hikers should check with the Park Service (828-298-0398) for Parkway closures.  Park regulations should be adhered to when using the Parkway. 

The sponsors of the SB6K program are not liable for any personal injuries, illness, property damage, or loss of any kind sustained by any person who climbs the South Beyond 6000 peaks.  Each person assumes responsibility for his/her own welfare.

We do not envision anyone who is a true hiker and lover of the out-of-doors driving his Jeep or Honda or riding his horse to the top of these peaks and claiming he has climbed them.  This is not a club of people who have visited the summits of these mountains, but a collection of hikers who have reached them the hard way on foot.  Since we depend on an honor system, some individuals may yet take the journey by car or by fancy in order to earn their patch.  We hope their Beans or Wolverines will perpetually rub ever-larger blisters and that their pack straps will always break at the most inopportune times.


Black Mountains


Great Balsams

Plott Balsams

Roan Highlands


Map of SB6K Peaks


1. The true summit of each mountain must be reached. Special Note: The summit of Mt Hardy is further beyond the USGS benchmark disk.

2. Climb all 40 peaks by routes involving hiking at least 5 miles with an ascent of at least 500 feet. This distance and gain require is PER HIKE--not per peak. As many peaks as you can climb within one route of at least 5 miles and 500 feet of gain qualify for this requirement. Each hike qualifies if it is uninterrupted, continuous boots-on-the-ground. Riding a bicycle, getting in a vehicle, paragliding from a summit, or using an ATV or horse--any form of travel that is not on-foot--interrupts a hike and makes it non-continuous.

3. For alternate routes other than those in the hike data base, you may send a description to one of the committee members for approval to assure that the hike meets South Beyond 6000 standards. As long as your hiking route is at least 5 miles in length and at least 500 feet of elevation gain (each are cumulative per hike, regardless of amount of peaks bagged), it qualifies.

4. In the application, the applicant must include a copy of  the Ascent Record, their name exactly as they wish it on the certificate, and the date of the last qualifying hike.

5. The application should be emailed to the SB6K program chair for review (currently Peter Barr at  CMC is a volunteer organization, so please allow 4-6 weeks for review and processing of your completion application/log.

6.  If not yet a member of the CMC, must also mail/submit a Membership Form/online application and a check or online payment for a year’s dues. If the applicant is already a member of the CMC there is no charge for the patch and certificate.

7. After approval by the committee, the successful participant is awarded the South Beyond 6000 patch and a certificate recognizing his/her achievement.  CMC awards SB6K patches and certificates at its annual meeting. CMC will also mail the certificate and patch to those who cannot attend the annual meeting and ask for it to be mailed.

On occasion the CMC leads hikes to climb several of the SB6K peaks. These can be found in the CMC's quarterly hiking schedule.


SB6K Ascent Record in PDF


Completed SB6K applications are only received electronically via email. Scan or photograph the pages of your SB6K completion log and send to: Peter Barr, Subject Line "SB6K Completion" at Print copies will not be accepted by mail. CMC is a volunteer organization, so please allow 4-6 weeks for review and processing of your completion application/log.

CMC awards completers of SB6K a patch and certificate at its annual meeting. CMC will also mail the certificate and patch to those who cannot attend the annual meeting.

In addition to submitting an SB6K completion log by email, applicants of the SB6K challenge program must be members of CMC to receive the recognition patch and certificate. Make sure your membership is current/paid, or click here to join the CMC online or by mail.

See below for a list of SB6K Completers



Table of Contents:

  1. How can I talk to someone who has hiked the SB6K to help me plan or to answer questions?
  2. Do all of the peaks have trails to the summit?
  3. Are the summits clearly marked?
  4. Can a GPS help?
  5. Can I take my dog?
  6. Can I ride my horse or ATV rather than hike the program peaks?
  7. Can I do all of the peaks during day hikes?
  8. What happened to Tricorner Knob--didn't it used to be a peak in the SB6K Challenge?
  9. Is there a time limit to complete SB6K?
  10. Does the Club keep records on age (youngest/oldest), other metrics, or personal SB6K multiple completions beyond one?

1.  How can I talk to someone who has hiked the SB6K

            Yes. Start with SB6K chairman in the contact list.

2. Do all of the peaks have trails to the summit?

            No. About 1/3 have no discernable trail to the summit.

3. Are the summits clearly marked?

            Only a few. Each one is different. Some have plaques, or benchmarks and several have nothing to designate the summit.

4. Can a GPS help?

            A GPS can be a very useful tool, when used in conjunction with maps and other standard navigational equipment. We have incorporated many GPS routes already into our presentation here on the internet for your downloading pleasure. In the near future our goal is to have a complete GPS loaded site to include topos, profiles and downloadable GPS routes.

5. Can I take my dog?

              Yes and no.  No you cannot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Yes you can on the Blue Ridge Parkway as long as he/she is on a leash.

6. Can I ride my horse or ATV rather than hike the program peaks?

            No. I can’t believe you would even ask that question!

7. Can I do all of the peaks during day hikes?

            You can do most of them during day hikes, however, unless you are willing or able to hike and climb upwards to 20-30 miles in one day you will might want to spend the night in the northeast Smokies.

  1. Take your time. Most accidents in bushwhacking result from being in a hurry.
  2. You can see further and have less trouble with vegetation during the winter months.

8. What happened to Tricorner Knob--didn't it used to be a peak in the SB6K Challenge?

Tricorner Knob was removed from the SB6K Challenge several years ago because modern survey technology definitively determined it to be significantly lower than its nearby neighbor, Mt. Yonaguska. Previously, challenge participants could choose to climb either Tricorner Knob or Mt. Yonaguska because it was not known which peak was highest. Now that Mt. Yonaguska is known to be taller, it is the peak that remains in the challenge. Hikers who began the challenge prior to 2020 and climbed Tricorner Knob instead of Mt. Yonaguska are grandfathered in, therefore may still claim Tricorner on their ascent logs on the "Mt. Yonaguska" line. Hikers who log their first SB6K peak ascent after the start of 2020 must climb Mt. Yonaguska and not Tricorner Knob.

9. Is there a time limit to complete SB6K?

There is no time limitation to complete this challenge. Most hikers take several years to finish the challenge. The fastest the peaks have been complete is 4 day, 14 hours, and 38 minutes, a record set by Matt Kirk in one continuous journey (no vehicles involved between the first and last peaks) in 2010.

9. Does the Club keep records on age (youngest/oldest), other metrics, or personal SB6K multiple completions beyond one?



For questions regarding the SB6K Challenge, please contact Peter Barr at CMC is a volunteer organization, so please allow 10 business days for a response to general inquiries, and 4 weeks for review and processing upon submitting of your completion application/log. Thank you.




No Date Babcock, Phillip No Date Leech, Bruce
  Barton, Alan   Mackey, John
  Boggs, Wade H. Jr.   Maddox, Julian
  Cathy, Samuel   McDowell, Janet
  Chase, Ralph   Neisel, William
  Davis, Jack   Oldham, George
  Davis, Sarah    Roberts, Richard
  Donahue, Ray L   Sainsbury, Ida M
  Dunn, Edward   Schroeder, Ames
  Hall, Barbara   Sinish, Bessy
  Hallowell, Thomas   Snow, Charles D
  Hanlon, Paul C.   Strivers, Dave
  Hendrix, Frances   Thorne, David
  Hendrix, Bruce   Walker, John M. Jr.
  Hillis, Barry E   Webb, William
  Leech, Frances   Wiley, Sam S
1973 Carter, Bill 1982 Hillyer, John 
      Little, Marge
1974 Carson, Doris    
  Carson, Lewis  1983 Cronkhite, Phillip
  Chew, Collins     
  Nelan, Don 1984 Allen, Dwight
      Byrd, Robert 
1975 Ardell, Richard   Lafferty, John 
  Barry, Lee   Thomas, Brenda 
      Wallace, Mason 
1977 Foster, Powell   Wallace, Nancy
1979 Newland, Gordon  1985 Byrd, Jon 
  Stoll, Donald    Hallowell, Barbara 
  Stoll, Kay   Hoskins, Harlow 
      Padgett, Gary 
1980 Blount, Viola   Rudnick, Perry 
  Blount, Richard    Smiley, Nixon 
  Keifer, John   Townsend, John
1981 Monitto, Alys    
********* ********************* ********* **********************
1986 Finlayson, Bob 1997 Baker, Don
  Finlayson, Nancy   Bostic, Danny  Jr.
      Courie, Elrose
1988 Hill, Jimmy   Giersch, Donald
      Hall, Betty
1989 Huff, Joe   Harris, Doug
  Kehler, Barbara    Hawley, Nancy
  Lane, Melissa   Hollinger, Sue
      Irick, Gether 
1990 Anderson, Jo    Johnson, Don 
  Wetmore, David E.    Johnson, Gail 
  Woodward, Ken   Vogel, Carol
      Tagliapietra, Ron
1991 Kulp, D.R    Kuhlmann, Jerry
  Tanquary, Jim    Kuhlmann, Betty
  Tyner, Layton C    Wright, David
  Wilson, Tommy    
    1998 Blodgett, Jane
1992 Coughlin, Joe   Fitzgerald, Jack
      Maggi, Cathleen
1994 Breeding, Rusty   Maggi, Rich
  Caliendo, Helga   Seymour, Larry
  Heimbinder, Larry   White, Doris
1995 Vogel, Dale 1999 McCarlley, John 
      Thrush, Ellie
1996 Franz, C. Eben   McDonald, Herb
  Eadie, Jackie    Moore, Marcia
  Eadie, Bill    
  Marsh, Clee 2000 Ebel, Carolyn
  Rydin, Saundra     
  Sanders, Tom  2001 Benson, Paul
      Holbrook, Owen
      Imfield, Teresa
      Kehoe, Denise
      McJunkin, Nowel
      Tauber, Stuart
    2002 Wilkin, Raymond
********* ********************* ********* **********************
2003 Bernstein, Lenny 2007 Daniels, Andrea
  Bernstein, Danny   Jones, Linda
  Craft, Patrick   Jones, Mike
  Keizer, Teddy   Reddoch, Pamela
  Klinker, Marc   Prince, Joseph K
  Little, Robert D   Tatgenhorst, Connie
  Luttrell, Gary 2008  
  Martin, Janet    Bland, David
  McHugh, Fred   Booker, Jr., R. Michael
  McHugh, John   Booker, Jennifer
  Rogers, Hiram   Boyd, Jesse
  Smucker Jr., Roy W.   Felkoski, Brian
  Snape, Jim   Ruff, Ted
  Tulip, Joanne   Sanders, Ned
  Walton, Donald 2009  
  Wilson, A. Kent    Anderson, Jenny
  Wilson, Nancy   Bockhahn, Brian
      Bosse, Rod Jr
2004 Beja, Linda   Covert, Steve
  Gerhardt, Erik   Harris, Lee
  Jenkins, Jack    Harris, Kelly
  McDonald, Thomas   Kienzle, Christopher
  Miller, Michael C.   Lundblad, Anne
  Pence, Jim   Rinehart, Jeff
  Whiting, Scott   Schoof, Stephen
      Trittipoe, Rebekah
2005 Barko, Chris    
  Barr, Peter J. 2010 Bertz, Mark
  Branham, Kenneth   Carlton, Cece
  Doughberty, Emmett   Claywell, Jack
  Modlin, Larry   Cox, Jacob
      Dora, Bill
2006 Ferguson, Charlie   Dora, Ginger
  Pierce, Steve   Jerdee, Gus
  Smucker, Becky   Kammholz, Cord-Patrick
      Kirk, Matt
      Raines, Jame Jr.
      Sampson, Rich
      Spetnagel, Ted
********* ********************* ********* **********************
2011 Bailey, Lane 2013 Moore, Shaun
  Bellows, Jon   Morgan, Barbara
  Easton, Martyn   Peterson, Dean
  Gardner Jr., Donald     Shaffer, Bill
  Gilliam Sr., Steven   Shipman, Natasha
  Hoadley, Erwin   Speirer, Joseph
  Jager, Sawako 2014 Barr, Allison
  Jenkins, Elaine    Holmquist, Lars
  MacDowel, Bev   Holmquist, Timo
  O'Shields, Seth   Knauer, Brian
  Ocampo, Robert   Sizemore, Charles
  Ransom, Garrett   Sizemore, Rachel
  Ransom, Beth   Woods, Mark
  Washburn, Chris    
    2015 Austin, Jeffrey  
2012 Burge, Glara   Cash, Caitiynne     
  Cox, Richard   Davis, Wesley
  Darby, Bruce   Ervin IV, Sam J.
  Foster, James   Keely, Robert
  Hendrickson, Ann   Marcum, Casey
  McCarthy, Sharon   Northrop, John
  Otto, Bill   Randall, Christopher
  Robillard, Richard    
  Shortt, Rick 2016 Gullberg, Scott 
2013     Livezey, Robert
  Ausmanas, Mimi   Ray, Nicole 
  Castelleno, Steven M. Ray, Zane
  Cosgrove, Kevin   Thracker, Brad
  Crawford, Jeffrey   Younginer, Jeffrey
  Garren, Jennifer    
  Hill, Michael    
  Mallory, Kirk     
  Monday, James    
********* ********************* ********* **********************
2017 Blumenberg, Victoria 2020 Bass, Chris
  Conner, Robert   Bennett, Bryan 
  Ervin, Jamie   Bentley, Nicole 
  Green, Dave   Borsodi, Johnathan K. 
  Newman, Jason   Conduff, Terri 
  Koebelin, Chris   Elmore, Brian 
  Parker, Sarah   Feather, Don 
  Parker, Austin   Haffner, John 
  Shaw, Jacob   Hamel, Nicole 
  Tharp, Ryan   Hamilton, Gary 
      Heimerl, Thomas 
2018 Bennett, John B.    Hernandez, Michael 
  Bruce, Eric   Hite, David 
  Cansler, John   Hodges, Burton 
  DeBrecht, Robert   Johnson, Adam
  Fischer, Todd   Johnson, Wes
  Harkins, Rick    Korellis, Sarah 
  Magura, Jim   Leslie, Scott
  Magura, Judy   Maples, Doug 
  Morris, Dianna M.   Martens, Christine
  Perry, Jonathan   McCreary, Clay Adam 
  Robbins, Zachary   Meiers, Kenneth 
  Smith, Dennis   Oakes, Keith 
  Smith, Sharon   Oakes, Pam
  Wallace, Stephanie   Osborne, Johnny
      Ribble, Bill 
2019 East, Nancy    Rogers, Mari 
  Ellsworth, Jerry   Rozear, Mark 
  Gilsdorf, Chris   Smith, Christopher M. 
  Giuliano, Dean   Story, Jonathan
  Sanderson, William   Trimble, Mike
  Stasiewicz, David   Upton, Roger 
  Wolff, Albert W.    Van Sluytman, Ryan
      Watson, Jim 
      Yow, Susan
********* ********************* ********* **********************
2021 Abed, Eric 2022 Akard, Kevin 
  Adams, Joshua   Akard, Luke 
  Barrentine, Ethan   Basford, Scott
  Braswell, Ed   Benowitz, Isaac
  Bryant, Dalton   Conley, David T. 
  Bumgarner, Hunter   Derusseau, Connor
  Carson, Shawn   Derusseau,Chad
  Carter, Kate   DeToma, Charles
  Carver, Clayton   Gwyn, Nathan 
  Carver, Elijah   Gwyn, Trey
  Carver, Kaitlyn   Hanley, Joanna
  Cobb, Mark   Hanley, Patrick Michael
  Craft, Patrick   Jones, Andrew
  Crane, Jason   Richardson, Karen Anne 
  Ditty , Jack   Rudershausen, Paul 
  Ditty, Sawyer   Seals, David
  Dorn, Calvin   Swain, Carrie
  Fehley, Susanne   Wilcox, Jeff 
  Fraysier, Zach   Williams, René Delin 
  Goldberg, Sam    
  Gundana, John    
  Hamilton, Michael    
  Hammack, Brandy    
  Hammack, Charlie    
  Hill, Lindsay    
  Humphries, Anita    
  Kennedy, Blake    
  Kennedy, Ryan    
  Klott, Terry    
  LaFlamme, Ken    
  Lamon, Edwin    
  Lee, Amy    
  Matherne, Raven    
  Myers, Jacob    
  Samofal, Alex    
  Sanders, Sallye    
  Solomon, Kelsey    
  Talbert, Charles    
  Worley, Brenda    
  Zimmermann, Kurt    
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