Ascent of Bell Knob on 2015-04-23

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, April 23, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Bell Knob
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4140 ft / 1261 m

Ascent Trip Report

This TR covers all of my hiking efforts of this day, it doesn't give over-all directions, its only my personal aide-memoire. I used Michael Schwartz' TR which is still good and the only read you need for this COHP, according to his TR 2 areas need to be visited ....Bell Knob and Cabin Mountain-north Summit.

I entered the Dolly Sods Wilderness at Laneville on FR19 in order to check out the northside THs for Porte Crayon used by Fred Lobdell and Ryan Richardson.
I drove FR19 east to FR75 (its gate was open) which I drove it north all the way to its north end at Bear Rocks. After my hikes I descended FR75 to the northeast.
I zeroed my odo at Laneville, en route I visited the summits as listed here.

Passed FR70 on the right (still gated) at 2.5 miles.

PLAINS BENCHMARK .... .5 miles RT from Forest Road
At 3.2 miles I arrived at the Dolly Sods Picnic Area on the right, on the left is the TH for Rohrbaugh Plains Trail #508 which heads northwest passing over the summit ... the whole summit area is heavily wooded with tall evergreens with a very dense rhododendrum floor.
I hiked the trail for about 400 yards, on the left I found a small opening that I took west 30 yards to a small clearing .... 4 old foundations with a fire pit to one side. The BM is the middle of the foundations "USC&G SURVEY PLAINS 1956", I cleaned-off the moss cover.

BELL KNOB ..... .8 miles RT from Forest Road.
At 6 miles I parked at the gated FR1116 on the right which leads northeast .4 miles to the summit Lookout Tower. The Lookout Platform on top looks to be in real bad shape, but the bottom gate for the stairs was open??? It looked too risky for my liking.

CABIN MOUNTAIN-NORTH SUMMIT .... 8 miles, 2:50 hours RT
At 11.1 miles (.2 mile south of north end of FR75) on the left is the Bear Rock Trail #522 with a kiosk. I parked here, this was my TH.
I walked #522 west 1.2 miles to a signed 4-way crossing .... #522 continues straight on a boardwalk, I turned right on Dobbin Grade Trail #526 which took me northwest across the sods 2 miles to an unsigned 4-way crossing. I turned left (west) for .75 miles to the summit.
On this day the trails were very wet and muddy, #526 was stream like at the start and across the sods it was just one long pond.
Just before the summit there is a fork with the right having an exposed culvert, I stayed left for 200 yards to just before the height-of-land, where I turned right (north) for the summit ..... capped with a large cairn at 39.08684,-79.35542. The area all around the summit is one huge rock field.
Came out with 2 good soakers.

BEAR ROCKS .... 1.4 miles RT.
FR75 northbound ends at 11.3 miles at the Bear Rocks Parking, where it descends to the southeast.
There is no direct path north to the Bear Rocks, only numerous paths with a lot of rock hopping, not easy. Once I got there (.7 miles) I found no real summit and not really much to offer. I consider the best spot for views and perhaps higher in elevation at the beautiful open rocks outcrop about .25 miles from the parking right on the edge of the cliffs to the east.... outstanding panorama, a BM is embedded in rock "USC&G Survey, TOP, 1941". (worn some, not too clear). As far as I am concerned one need go no further.

GRANT COUNTY was created in 1866 and named for General Ulysses Simpson Grant. Its county seat is in Petersburg and as of the 2010 census the county's population was 11,937.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:97 ft / 29 m
    Total Elevation Loss:40 ft / 12 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:97 ft / 29 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:FR1116 neb
    Start Trailhead:FR19  4043 ft / 1232 m
    Time:10 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:40 ft / 12 m
    Route:FR1116 swb
    End Trailhead:FR19  4100 ft / 1249 m

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