Ascent of Spruce Knob on 2013-05-11

Climber: Dave Dunham

Others in Party:Ed Horse
Date:Saturday, May 11, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Spruce Knob
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4861 ft / 1481 m

Ascent Trip Report

High Point weekend

Eric and I headed down to Washington DC to pick up some high points and visit a few other locations along the way. It was a short trip, only about 48 hours but we packed in a lot of running and driving.

Arrived in DC and headed to Fort Reno for the DC high point. Total climb was about 35’ from Belt Rd NW to the “summit”. We only spent a few minutes taking pictures then headed off to Rock Creek bike path for an easy 6 mile run to get the legs loosened up.

We stayed in Rockville MD and had a short night, getting up at 4am and hitting the road for the 2+ hour drive to our first destination. We took a slight detour on the way to the PA state high point to bag Dan’s rock which is the county high point of Allegany county. The directions from the other report I had were a little off (From Exit 54 off of Route 68 travel south on MD 36 for 3.5 miles for a sign for “Dan’s overlook”. Turn left onto Paradise St, travel .2 then take a left onto Old Dan’s rock road. 2.9 miles to the top.). We took in a few minutes taking pictures and climbing on the rocks to find the bench mark. The old fire tower was an interesting sight but the entire place was plastered with graffiti. We were there a little after sunrise and had a little view in the clouds and fog.

Thirty miles later we were near the summit of Mount Davis (the highest point in PA) in fog and rain. We headed out for a 6 mile run on the dirt roads in the park. It took a while to warm up, Eric brought gloves but I had only one long-sleeve shirt and didn’t want to use it until I “really” needed it. We dropped about 700’ in three miles before turning around and running back up to the top. The climb to the summit included maybe 10’ of vertical from the parking lot. We got some pictures and skipped climbing the tower as visibility was near zero.

Next up was a 25 mile drive to the point where MD, PA, and WV meet. Sometimes the tri-state points have interesting markers, and it wasn’t too far out of our way. We had planned on running up the powerline or the pipeline (the marker was where the two met) but both had not path and there were a lot of no trespassing signs. Eric got us permission from the farm that is just south of the state line in WV to run up the dirt road. It was a little over a mile to the marker and we added on some running on the road to get in three miles.

On the 45 mile drive to Backbone Mountain (the highest point in Maryland) we made a quick stop at the smallest church and smallest mail delivery in the lower 48. It was pretty much pouring rain when we got to the trailhead for Backbone but 5 minutes later it was just drizzling so we headed out. The 700’ climb was a bit rough due to the rain and the somewhat eroded trail. There appeared to be a lot more logging near the summit than I remembered from my visit in 2009. We signed in, took a few pictures and zipped back down.

Sixty-five miles later we arrived in drizzle and fog (go figure!) at the summit of Spruce Knob, the highest point in WV. Again we decided on another three mile run. So we dropped down about 300’ during our run and added the extra 10’ from the parking lot to the summit. We took a couple of quick pictures and got out of there. It was raining heavily when we completed our final high point of the day.

We drove back to DC (180 miles) and called it a day. On Sunday morning we were up before the sun and off for an 8 mile run that included visiting the tri-point where DC/MD/VA meet. We had a heck of a time navigating to this one despite carrying a decent map. I swear the sunrise was in the NORTH. Our final trek of the day was a visit to the Alexandria City County high point. We parked on the grounds of the Episcopal high school. Thanks to the early hour (630am) no one was out and about except a friendly local cat that seemed very happy to accompany us. By 9am we were on our way back North with our full slate of plans completed.

Eric now has 29 state high points (plus DC) and I increased my County High Point total to 184. I’m hoping to get to 200 by the end of the year.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:313 ft / 95 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:down the road then up to the top
    Trailhead:parking lot  4548 ft / 1386 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail

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