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Ascent of Thorny Flat on 2016-05-31

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Thorny Flat
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4848 ft / 1477 m

Ascent Trip Report

After overnighting at the Whittaker Campground (20$, just west of Cass) we drove to Cass for breakfast at the local restaurant.

There are 3 candidate high point areas for Pocahontas County. I visited them all as per this one TR and in the order listed. All one needs Fred Lobdell TR, I added some information where needed.

BALD KNOB ... road/wack, 6.4 miles, 2:15 hours RT.
All one needs is Fred Lobdell's TR. I am adding/updating a few details.
1) The drive east on Back Mountain Road CR1 from hwy 66 in Cass to a left on FR 235 is 6.5 miles. When going east FR 235 (even though signed) is somewhat hidden, we missed it.
2) FR 235 climbs with 6 switchbacks 3.2 miles to TH on the ridge, FR 235 continues right, left is Fred's route is FR 267. Both roads are gated but open on this visit. We parked here.
3) I found out that I could have driven the 2.2 mile FR 267 road to " ..... you will cross a stream at a hairpin turn. ....". This is a flatish 2 track dirt/gravel road with no bad spots.
4) The bushwack to the left (west) after the hairpin is a moderately steep 100 yards.
5) The summit is a 75 yard diameter grass clearing with a tall wall of solid conifers, no views. A cabin and an old tower (bad shape) sits in the center. No obvious HP.

From here we drove to Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

THORNY FLAT ... road/trail ... 1 mile, 40 minutes RT.
From the Railroad station in Cass we drove west on #66 for 6.3 miles to a right turn on Snowshoe Drive which we followed (as it winds/climbs) for 2.7 miles to the ridge crest and a right turn on Top of the World Drive (a whole bunch of impressive housing developments in the area). At 150 yards we picked up a road on the right signed/leading-to "Sawmill Village Homes". As the paved road descends to the village (at a fork) a gravel road on the right goes to the sales office (sign) at a gate. We parked here.
I walked south 150 yards to a fork and stayed left (right goes to a construction yard). At another 400 yards south I came to another fork, the service road (sign) continues left, I stayed right on the green "Cheat Mountain Ridge Trail" for 100 yards and entered the woods on the right.
The fairly open high ground has a number of trails and easy to get around. I found the BM "USGS DATUM" (?? no name) right in the middle of trail, a steel rod in the ground and a white sign on a tree "THORNY FLAT, elev 4848', The highest elev on this section of Cheat Mountain and the second highest point in WV."
This location is not necessarily "the" HP, nothing obvious, I stomped the area.
We returned to Snowshoe Drive and continued east.

MACE KNOB-SOUTH PEAK ... road, wack and grass field, 1.5 miles, 50 minutes RT.
From the Top of the World Drive we drove east on Snowshoe Drive (passing more housing developments on the ridge) for 2.5 mile to a 4-way Paved Road JCT (one entrance is for Silver Creek Lodge). We parked here.
I walked the gravel gated road, signed "Airport Runway", that leaves the north side of this JCT and immediately heads/climbs northwest. At approx. .4 miles (38.43793,-8000473) I left the road by turning right and entering the woods in an open area of sorts.
I climbed right-of-north the moderately steep slope 150 yards to a huge grass clearing. I climbed a very steep 100 yards grass slope, then 100 yards on the flat followed by another 100 yards very steep slope to the woods on the summit ridge. The HP is steeply inside the open woods at 50+ yards. I just followed my nose to the high ground (number of animal trails).
Just 5 yards north of my chosen HP is a good E-W trail, I believe if I took it west it would take me to "Airport Runway" - a longer all trail climb to this summit.
I backtracked to the TH in 18 minutes.

From here we drove north to Elkins for a 2 night stay in a local hotel.

"ALMOST HEAVEN, WEST VIRGINIA
BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, SHENANDOAH RIVER,
LIFE IS OLD THERE, OLDER THAN THE TREES,
YOUNGER THAN THE MOUNTAINS, GROWING LIKE A BREEZE."


Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:48 ft / 14 m
    Route:road/trail sb
    Trailhead:top of the world drive  4800 ft / 1463 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack



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