Ascent of The Priest on 2012-08-18

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, August 18, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Priest
    Elevation:4063 ft / 1238 m

Ascent Trip Report

CoHP #101: Nelson County, VA - 2 contenders in 1 hike, The Priest (4,063/4,040+) & Maintop Mtn (4,040+) - Aug 18, 2012:

I really didn't think at all about crossing the 100 barrier at all until I was done with all the hikes, so I just made the short drive from the Mt Pleasant/Bald Knob TH to the Crabtree Falls/The Priest TH in peace, stopping briefly at Stantons Creek Falls along the way. Previous trip report give accurate driving directions to the trailhead along Meadows Lane off of VA-56. I drove all the way to the parking lot where there is a toilet. There is a sign just off VA-56 warning against non-4wd cars making the trek to the TH. It's unnecessary. Clearance is a good thing to have for one of the stream crossings that has a bit of a drop and a lot of loose rock, but I never engaged the 4wd on the rented Jeep Patriot. From the parking lot, continue up the dirt road less than half a mile to the AT. From here, continue left (northbound) up towards The Priest. The trail goes surprisingly quick, or maybe I was in a hurry, not sure which. There is a turnoff for The Priest Shelter just below the summit. Just past this on the left are use trails out to large rocks with amazing views to the west and north. From here, I covered the high ground off the trail on either side until the ridge clearly began descending to the northeast. After The Priest, I made a fast descent to the dirt road and continued southbound on the AT towards Maintop Mtn. The AT no longer goes to the summit and I missed the eastern spur trail up to the summit. I soon found myself past the summit to the south and the AT descends steeply towards Spy Rock. There is a junction here with a blue blazed trail heading north up to the summit. I took it, and was able to ascertain that the blue blazes were painted over white blazes from this former routing of the AT. The summit cairn is on top, right next to the trail. I followed the trail east and it joined right back up with the AT no problem. I guess I just missed the turn on my way out here... When I reached an old logging road (west of the road down to the TH), I looked at my map and realized that this would lead right back to the main dirt road and it was almost all downhill, avoiding the re-ascent of the minor bump between the 2 dirt roads. I followed this for a short distance and ran into yet another old logging road dead-ending at a campsite. However, I could tell that this road used to continue and was able to follow it through the forest almost completely unhindered by brush right back to the parking lot - perfect. I had agreed to meet friends for dinner in Annapolis this evening, so I had a drive, shower, and another drive ahead of me...

9.46 mi total
3h 10m moving time
3.0 mph moving avg
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1063 ft / 324 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1063 ft / 324 m
    Route:AT Northbound
    Start Trailhead:3000 ft / 914 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Priest/Maintop 8/12

Complete Trip Sequence:
1The Priest2012-08-18 c1063 ft / 324 m
2Maintop Mountain2012-08-18 d920 ft / 280 m
Total Trip Gain: 1983 ft / 604 m    Total Trip Loss: 120 ft / 37 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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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