Ascent of Backbone Mountain on 2019-05-26

Climber: Lane Jefferson

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, May 26, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Backbone Mountain
    Elevation:3360 ft / 1024 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was spending Memorial Day weekend at Deep Creek Lake with the family, so I sneaked out early in the morning to bag the MD State High Point and the nearby Preston County (WV) High Point, using the route Dennis Poulin outlined in his TR.

This is a steep, but short climb. There is not much to it. It's just a slog up an old, rocky, muddy roadbed. In my opinion, the coolest part of the hike is the rocky scramble over to the state boundary marker. At least there's something of a view, I guess.

Dennis Poulin's TR is useful, but I will add some details. When descending the official HP trail, the old roadbed is really the same roadbed you walked up before turning left and steeply climbing up the short stretch of singletrack to gain the ridge top. At the end of May, it was a little overgrown, but still mostly obvious and not difficult to walk on; it stays just to the west of the ridge crest. I would, however, recommend pants in the warmer months. At the power lines, I had to look around a little to find where the roadbed continues on the other side, but once on it, it was obvious. Shortly thereafter, you get to another road that looks like it actually gets some use. Veer right, start to descend, cross the gas pipeline, and immediately turn sharp left on the other obvious road to get near the summit. You will soon hear and see the windmills.

After bushwhacking all over the summit area, I believe the easiest way to access the tower area is to cut through the woods right after passing through a small clearing; they are fairly open there and the bushwhack is brief. This will put you on the access road near the second-to-last tower. Although the area was disturbed to build the windmills, judging from the moss cover, the highest crest of the ridge was left untouched. I bushwhacked and scrambled the ridge between the 2 last towers and I'm 99.9% positive the highest rock is right near the last tower. I bushwhacked straight down to the dirt road from there, but it would have been easier to go back the way I came. This area was rockier and had more vegetation.

Once at the road, it was just a simple matter of retracing my steps back to the official MD HP trail, and then taking it back down to the trail head. Although more than half of the hike was not on official trails, the only real bushwhacking was the brief stint between the dirt road and the windmills. This route also keeps you on, or very close to public land the whole time.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:676 ft / 206 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Humid, but not too hot.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:676 ft / 206 m
    Distance:1.1 mi / 1.8 km
    Route:High Point Trail
    Start Trailhead:Maryland High Point Trailhead  2684 ft / 818 m
    Time:27 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Backbone Mountain (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Backbone Mountain2019-05-26 a676 ft / 206 m
2Backbone Mountain-Preston County High Point2019-05-26 b452 ft / 138 m
Total Trip Gain: 1128 ft / 344 m    Total Trip Loss: 1128 ft / 344 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Lane Jefferson
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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