Ascent of Thorny Flat on 2018-09-02

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Sunday, September 2, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Thorny Flat
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4848 ft / 1477 m

Ascent Trip Report

Following Ken Oeser's trip report, I was able to find the USGS benchmark Thorny, which curiously lacks the customary engraved name, year, and elevation. My GPS flagged it at 38.393510N, 079.99184W (NAD83). Don't worry if you can't find it--it's no higher than anything else in sight. The summit is indeed flat and is not at all thorny. Instead, it's a spruce forest with a mossy floor used as a bike trail by Snowshoe guests. I parked behind the Snowcrest condos, hiked to the west of the water tanks, and picked up the gravel road, which the bikers call "the fire road." As you approach the summit contour on your right, step into the woods, find the BM, and see if you can find anything higher. Go step on it, and the moss will probably flatten out.

Assuming BM Thorny is indeed the county high point, Pocahontas is easy. But I wouldn't rule out South Mace Knob/Cheat Mountain, and any peakbagger with an extra $61 will also want to bag Bald Knob by train.

According to Pocahontas County GIS, Thorny stands 4,849, South Mace/Cheat 4,846, and Bald 4,843. All three top out in the 4,840 contour. Bald has the smallest summit contour and has been flattened by construction, so it is the least likely to be the county highpoint. Thorny and Cheat have similar-sized summit contours and Cheat has more of a peak, so I wouldn't rule out Cheat based solely on GIS.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:48 ft / 14 m
    Total Elevation Loss:48 ft / 14 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:48 ft / 14 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Route:Bike trail
    Start Trailhead:Snowcrest condos  4800 ft / 1463 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:48 ft / 14 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    End Trailhead:4800 ft / 1463 m

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