Ascent of Mount Porte Crayon on 2016-06-02

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:supported by Rose
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, June 2, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Porte Crayon
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4770 ft / 1453 m

Ascent Trip Report

A grass track and a bushwhack .... 5.2 miles, 4:15 hours RT for both summits. The bushwhack alone was 2.4 miles RT. I was extremely pleased with this route.

Rose and I are on a 16 day County High Pointing Trip to WV/VA. After today's 14th day I will only have 2 County High Points to do in order to complete WV (Morgan and Kanawha). Morgan is doable tomorrow, however Kanawha is another story - its in an active coal mine ????? and it may never get done. Will see.

I came to this Randolph COHP last year and checked out the different reported approaches and a southwest approach (the High Mountain Road to the plateau). Once I got home I studied this southwest approach and that is the one I succeeded-with today.

From the village of Harman (JCT #33/32) we went east on #33 for 2.5 miles to High Mountain Road on the left (38.90128,-79.48520). We zeroed our odo. High Mountain Road winds/climbs generally north, the summit is to the northeast.
0.0M ... we left northbound on the gravel High Mountain Road, immediately staying left at the first fork
0.2M ... stay right at the fork on High Mountain Road.
1.7M ... Meadows Road on the right (leads to few homes), we continued left on High Mountain Road and immediately stayed right at the fork. Sign here reads "High Mountain is a private development, no trespassing past this point." We ignored the sign.
2.0M ... come to a T-JCT with Thunder Struck Road, left leads to a few homes, we turned right (east) as the road climbs to a plateau with 4 homes. The first home on the left (after 400 yards) is owned by Tom (from PA), who was cutting the grass. We apologized for ignoring the sign down below and explained the reason for our presence.
"Yes, you can park anywhere you want, just don't block the driveways. BTW I've never hiked the ridge but I understand that it's full of thorns." I should note that he was not there on our return - I wanted to thank him. All the homes that we saw appeared not being used - must be vacation retreats.
2.5M ... parked at the end of the gravel road (38.91879,-79.48257, elev 4100') (the last house is on the right). This was my TH.

A small dirt road continues (east) past the end of the road (TH) with slight descent and ends at a cabin at .4 miles. I started out on this road, and at the cabin climbed steeply north to the ridge, only to find it full of nasty thorns. Forget this route and go with what I describe here.

All distances I provide are estimates only.
0.0M ... just west of our TH (30 yards) is a corner fence post. I followed the fence line north 150 yards to a gate. An old grass track heads east along the crest of the ridge - sees little use and is starting to be overgrown.
0.5M ... HIGH MOUNTAIN summit is on the right at 30 yards. The area is dense with pines and brush, not easy to get around. I returned to the grass track and continued east. A L-R fence Line needs to be crossed at 1/4 mile. I found a hole on the right side.
1.1M ... arrive at 2 poles for a L-R Power Line. A grass track descends left to a cabin, I stayed straight.
1.3M ... arrive at the gravel High Mountain Road (east end connector). Right descends to Hwy #33, left goes southeast along the ridge and a good route for South Porte/Haystack/Green Knobs. I stayed left on the gravel road. I met with Dan and his son (on his ATV) looking for his cows. He asked me from where I came and if I had seen his cows - had no trouble with my presence.
1.4M ... start of my bushwhack (38.91670,-79.46059, elev. 4350'). The E-W High Mountain ridge meets up with the N-S Porte Crayon Ridge in this area. I chose/followed a compass north line (fairly flat) for my bushwhack, staying on the western slopes of Mount Porte Crayon. I chose this route (from the satellite image) in order to stay away from the conifer as much as possible (and it does).
2.2M ... Way Point 38.92707, 79.46246, elev. 4450') I turned right (east) and climbed directly to the summit.
2.6M ... MOUNT PORTE CRAYON summit, BM "USGS, THUNDER, 1956" on a 12 high steel pipe, surrounded by some rocks. The summit contour has a large flat area with no obvious HP, found trails going off in different directions, one took me directly to the BM. The eastern side of the summit is a beautiful tall conifer forest with shoulder high brush, the western half is dense conifer. I stomped the area to my satisfaction. It's possible that these summit trails originate somewhere down the mountain (didn't check)
I rate the bushwhack as moderate and not difficult, mixed fairly open woods with path ways (short dense conifer), requiring special attention to the footing (rocky). I always looked for the easy-way
I ascended in 2:35 hours (whack taking 1:30 hours).
I descended in 1:20 hours (whack taking 45 minutes).

I should note the E-W High Mountain ridge walk is very enjoyable, open with huge views at a number of areas. I can see why people build up here. I should come back one day to re-do this ridge and visit the Knobs referred-to above.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:639 ft / 194 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:track eb/wack nb from high mountain road
    Trailhead:high mountain road  4131 ft / 1259 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack

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