Ascent of Poor Mountain on 2011-11-12

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, November 12, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Poor Mountain
    Elevation:3928 ft / 1197 m

Ascent Trip Report

Had to redo this one after climbing the wrong peak the previous summer.

Poor Mountain Road/Road 612 runs from US11 west of Roanoke to US221 south of Roanoke.

Passenger cars should avoid the drive up from US11, as the road is not maintained beyond the last house. It's rutted and littered with oil-pan-busters--not impassable, but better suited for 4WD and high clearance. It definitely lives down to its name--Poor Mountain Road. I should have known better when I reached a point where branches were laid across the road, almost blocking it. I drove around the barricade and foolishly pressed upwards, and to the credit of my faithful and fearless Accord, eventually made it to the top--where I found a sign warning downhill traffic that the road is not suitable for passenger vehicles.

On the other side of the mountain, Road 612 is paved and easy. From US221 south of Roanoke, take Tinsley Road (a loop that intersects 221 twice) and then follow Poor Mountain Road 3.3 miles up almost to the gap. Turn L on Honeysuckle Ln (not signed) and go 1.7 miles, passing a number of communication towers on the R.

When I was here previously (2011-08-28) I misread one of the online trip reports and hiked up to one of the towers on the R, where the HP (spot elevation 3831) was marked by some white rocks. Only later did I realize that the Roanoke HP is on the other side of Honeysuckle, almost invisible from the road.

After 1.7 miles on Honeysuckle, the road descends and then make a sharp R turn. Park next to the gate on the L and follow the gravel road beyond, which starts downhill but then climbs quickly (the ruts have been paved in concrete) to the old fire tower on the summit. The HP is in the woods to the W, about 200 feet from the tower.

Round trip 0.9 miles.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:218 ft / 66 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.9 mi / 1.4 km
    Route:Gated road
    Trailhead:Honeysucke Lane  3750 ft / 1143 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Weather:Cool, Calm
Ascent Statistics
    Time:15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:10 Minutes

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