Ascent to Kayford Mountain-Ameagle on 2016-05-28

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, May 28, 2016
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Kayford Mountain - Ameagle
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:1085 ft / 330 m
    Remaining Elevation:1813 ft / 553 m (100% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

This COHP is in an active open-pit coal mine and will require a number of visits, research and effort. In fact it may never get done. I will have this one only TR with all of my visits/effort entered in chronological order.

VISIT #1 DATED 2016-05-28 ... south side Ameagle Gate, denied access.
Rose and I are on a 16 day COHPing Trip to WV/VA and came here today needing 6 more Counties in order to complete WV. The plan was to use the south side route in Michael Schwartz's TR - it would not happen.
We would end our trip needing only Kanawha County.

We drove Clear Fork Road CR1 8.1 miles east to Ameagle. The rough dirt road on the left just past a stone bridge, in Michael Schwartz's TR, is no longer - it is now a large gated paved entrance with a guard house, signed "Alpha Natural Resources, Republic Energy Inc."
The security guard on duty could not allow entrance and new very little about the gate that he was guarding - such as the name of the mountain, did the road go to the top and the person to contact for access. "I'm just a security guard."
My guess is that this road can be driven a good distance.

We next looked for a western approach, by driving back on CR1 for 2 miles to a right turn on Kayford Mountain Road CR1/3. This rough/steep road climbs/winds north to Stanley Heirs Park (mountain At 1.3 miles we came to a 3-way JCT and decided to turn around - too rough for our liking.

When entering this report I noted (too late) that Bob Schwab warned us about my exact situation - should have read Bob. I will need to look for ways to get the necessary permission, perhaps by reaching out to Bob.

If you are going to this COHP with the necessary permission, it would be greatly appreciated if you include the writer as part of your group (contact info:, phone 450-692-4020).

We visited the New River Gorge National River Bridge (an amazing engineering construction marvel) on our way to Monongahela National Forest, Summit Lake Campground for tomorrow's hike to Hanging Rock.

UPDATE 2016-09-20
Kanawha County is my only outstanding COHP in WV????
After we got home from our first visit I reached out to Bob Schwab, the last to enter a TR (2011). Unfortunately he didn't have anything to add. I then researched Alpha's contact information.
Alpha Natural Resources,
Republic Energy,
Coal field,
2603 Carbon Road, Eskdale, WV. 25075
Ph # 1 304 595 1870.
I called a number of times leaving messages with no feed back, finally getting the Human Relations Dept who gave me the name of the Republic Mine Superintendent - never answered my calls, the last call being today, 2016-10-16.
We have a planned fall hiking trip to WV/VA - the plan is to make a side trip to the main north gate and take our chances.

VISIT #2 DATED 2016-10-26 .... north side Republic Gate, denied access.
This is the 4th day of our 10 day COHPing trip to WV/VA and our 2nd visit to this COHP - once again we would be denied access.

We found our way to the Republic Main Gate north of the HP. The guard on duty (Phone #304 595 3040) could not approve access but was exceptionally friendly and helpful in trying to help us.
1) Alpha are the new owners since perhaps 5+ years ago.
2) They just recently named a new Mine Superintendent, Jeff Griffith (and perhaps the reason why I didn't get a call back from the previous Super - I'm sure he had other priorities).
3) Alpha has community outreach programs ---- Media Relations, Steve Hawkins, Phone #423 723 8915, Email -

The guard called/explained my situation to the new Super - he denied access "Company policy doesn't allow access." Its my experience in life that its always easier to say NO - it takes a special type for someone to go out of his way.

Later in the day I sent out an email to Media Relations pleading my case - will keep my fingers crossed ?????

We closed our day by visiting Grandview Park and Turkey Spur Knob, which offers spectacular views and a must visit if in the area.

UPDATE 2016-12-18
I corresponded back-and-forth with the Media Relations guy a number of times, kept repeating the same company policy. My request for the name and contact info of the CEO went unanswered (I've contacted CEOs of other COHPs in the past with some success).

Summary Total Data
    Route:denied access at Ameagle gate

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