Ascent of Bobs Hill on 2019-06-30

Climber: Lane Jefferson

Others in Party:Sorbet and Burrette (in spirit)
Date:Sunday, June 30, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Bobs Hill
    Elevation:1755 ft / 534 m

Ascent Trip Report

Both of my dogs, twins, died in the past year at 14 and 15 years old. I did this hike in memory of them and all the long, epic hikes we completed together.

Catoctin Mountain is one of the best places, if not the best, within an hour of DC for exploring mountains. The terrain is rugged and littered with interesting rock outcrops and viewpoints, and most of the ridge is protected as either national, state, or local public land. This hike took in the highlights of the northern, more scenic, half of the ridge. I had 4 peakbagging objectives here, but was only successful with 3.

This was the most difficult peak to locate. With a GPS device, it's not hard to find the ridge, but the actual high point requires some bushwhacking. Travel along the ridge itself is a rock scramble through small brushy trees whose foliage is all right between waist and head high. The woods on either side of the ridge are pretty open, and make for easy travel. The problem is that the highest point of the ridge is not obvious. I traced the east side of the ridge from the Catoctin Trail until my GPS indicated I was next to the high point and pushed through the brush, only to find many other contenders. I continued south on the ridge, tagging every high rock I saw until I was sure the ridge was sloping downward for good. Then I scrambled back along the cliffy west side of the ridge, and continued north almost back to the Catoctin Trail, again tagging any prominent rock. I must have tagged 15-20 different rocks total. My vote is for a rock with an impressive sheer cliff to the west almost at the southern end of the bushwhack, but the cliffs could have made it seem higher than it actually is. I'm not sure I saw the triangular rock in the photo, but it's summer now and that photo was taken in winter. I could have also approached it from a different angle. It's hard to say; the ridge is rock maze with vegetation that seriously limits your sight lines. Unless someone has LIDAR data, you should probably work you way down the ridge like I did to claim this peak.

WOLF ROCK (Unsuccessful)
Wolf Rock is an impressive, cliffy rock formation in Catoctin Mountain Park, and the only place in the park roped climbing is permitted. The main area of the rock is an easy scramble, but the obvious high point is on a separate pillar at the north end of the formation. The easiest way up is clear from the bottom, but is an exposed rock climb. I was 13 miles into a 22 mile hike, alone, in hiking boots, and without a rope. I tried making my way up it, but it was just out of comfort zone considering my situation at the time. I might try to come back fresh with lighter, more responsive shoes, or join someone who knows how to rock climb. It's rated 5.0 in several online references, so it's doable by just about anyone, but the exposure will make less experienced climbers like me think twice without a rope.

This peak has the best views of the 4. I found 2 candidates for the highest point: a rock in the brush to the left of the trail right before the overlook itself, and another rock to the right just as the woods open up. I tagged both, then headed out on the rocks for a break while taking in the view.

This peak has the most fun scramble of the 4 (Wolf Rock is too scary for me). Here again, there are 2 obvious contenders. The southern rock is easily approached by taking an unmarked but obvious path south along the east side of the formation, and then doubling back and scrambling up the large slabs. The northern rock is a trickier scramble with several options that make their way right up from where the park trail ends.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1255 ft / 382 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Hot and humid, but not too bad
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1255 ft / 382 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:Catoctin Furnace & Catoctin Trails
    Start Trailhead:Catoctin Furnace  500 ft / 152 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Catoctin Mountain Epic Hike

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Bobs Hill2019-06-30 A1255 ft / 383 m
2(Attempt) Wolf Rock2019-06-30 B1850 ft / 564 m
3Chimney Rock2019-06-30 C124 ft / 38 m
4Cat Rock2019-06-30 D1002 ft / 305 m
Total Trip Gain: 4231 ft / 1290 m    Total Trip Loss: 4231 ft / 1289 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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