Ascent of Whitetop Mountain on 2019-01-06

Climber: Bradley R

Date:Sunday, January 6, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Whitetop Mountain
    Elevation:5520 ft / 1682 m

Ascent Trip Report

How I chose this peak: Wanted something I could reasonably complete in the day and have nice views. Whitetop is on a couple of lists I'm working on including Eastern 5,000 footers and a county high point.

The plan: You can practically park at the peak, but that's not what I wanted. Instead I would park at the Appalachian trail (AT) crossing on Mud Creek Ln and hike the AT to the road up Whitetop, walking the road to get to the top.

Parking: I placed Elk Garden Trailhead, County Road 600, Troutdale, VA into Google Maps and it took me directly to the AT crossing. As you might guess Elk Garden Trail is also here.

The hike: Approaching the mountains I could see snow in some of the higher peaks. Just before reaching the trailhead there was a fair amount of snow on the side of the road.

I started at 10:45 AM. after a 2+ hour drive, and headed south (actually east) on the AT. The trail is covered in slushy snow. Over the first 1.6 miles the trail gains elevation at an small rate, about 700 feet. Thee next ~.4 miles is relatively flat, followed by losing 100 feet in ~.3 miles. (~2.3 miles total)

Here I reach the road, named Mud Creek Rd on the map I'm viewing. Here there are great views of 180 degrees to the south. These are what make the hike worth it. The spruce are covered in a thin layer of white ice, but it is quickly melting at this point. Bursts of wind are pretty heavy, and I wish I had a little thicker jacket, but I'm okay. I reach the top after 1.2 miles on the road, gaining 450 feet. On the way I do hit a spot of solid ice that about put me on my rear, but I do stay upright. The views to the south last most of the way, until the road is surrounded by spruce on each side just before reaching the top. The high point is within a fenced area. It may be possible to squeeze into the fenced in area and touch the high point, but you'd probably need to be pretty slender (~3.5 miles).

I spend a little time around the peak looking for views in other directions other than the south, but only find one small window to the north.

From here I return the way I came up. (~7.6 miles total)

Nice views, easy hike.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1264 ft / 385 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1264 ft / 384 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.6 mi / 12.2 km
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Some thin clouds. Comfortable in the woods quite cold in the wind when in the open.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1159 ft / 353 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1059 ft / 323 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:AT South > Mud Creek Rd
    Start Trailhead:4461 ft / 1359 m
    Time:1 Hours 26 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1164 ft / 354 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1059 ft / 323 m; Extra: 105 ft / 32m
    Gain on way out:105 ft / 32 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Mud Creek Rd > AT North
    End Trailhead:4461 ft / 1359 m
    Time:1 Hours 44 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Bradley R
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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