Ascent of The Pinnacle on 2009-11-01

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, November 1, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Pinnacle
    Elevation:3730 ft / 1136 m

Ascent Trip Report

This 3 day trip started at the bottom of Nicholson Hollow at the boundary of Shenandoah National Park in the Old Rag trailhead parking lot. Luckily there was one parking space left so I didn't have to park in the lower lot a mile away. Nicholson Hollow is one of the better hikes in Shenandoah National Park because it doesn't go to a waterfall or summit with a view. Therefore I only saw 1 other person on the entire length of the Nicholson Hollow trail. I made camp above Corbin Cabin, which is about 3 or 4 miles from the trailhead. After a great night out, I headed up the final 600 vertical feet and 1 mile to the Appalachian Trail at Hughes River Gap. I then headed south on the AT over Little Stony Man and Stony Man, where I had the first half of my lunch. After descending Stony Man, I made a quick stop at Skyland to dispose of trash and fill my water bottles. I then kept following the AT south to Hawksbill Mountain, the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park. After the second half of my lunch on the summit, I headed to the Whiteoak Fire Rd to get down into Whiteoak Canyon. The waterfalls are nice, but underwhelming to anybody who has been to Iceland. I made camp just off of the Cedar Run Link Trail. It poured really hard all night, resulting in the flooding of my BD Bibler Bivy for the fourth time. I have finally given up on this thing. The walls allow water in, regardless of the seam sealing or how tight you stake it down. It's worth the extra weight to carry my Walrus 2 man around because that tent has never left my sleeping bag soaked - ever. I packed up all my wet gear and headed back into Whiteoak Canyon to hike out. I met another cool hiker named Tim there. We chatted for a bit while I pumped some water. After hiking down Whiteoak Canyon, I headed up Berry Hollow to historic Old Rag and then down Weakley Hollow to my car at the trailhead. A quick drive found me at Sharp Rock Vineyards, a locally owned, organic, sustainable farm. I purchased 2 bottles of wine after a quick tasting and made my way to the town of Sperryville. There is a great place to eat called "High on the Hog." It is a local place that procures its meat from small family farmers in the Sperryville, VA area. It is well worth the stop for lunch here. Platters include cole slaw and baked beans. After lunch I headed back up to Skyline drive to hike up The Pinnacle. The walk from Jewel Hollow Overlook is only 15-20 min. I made a detour into the woods after spotting a black bear, looking for better pictures. Unfortunately the bear moved faster than I could and I didn't get too many good pictures. The summit is just a few feet off the AT, and hawks seem to like perching in the trees near the summit. If you sit there quietly for a few minutes, the hawks will land for some good photos. After that, I headed south on Skyline Drive to Big Meadows to catch a Ranger program that heads up Blackrock as dusk sets in. I learned some new things about lichen, trees, and the history of the AT in the park. As I left Big Meadows for Front Royal, I learned that 1/8 of a tank of gas is enough to make it 50 miles going about 40mph. The gas station at Elkwallow was closed and doesn't take credit cards, so I had no choice but to keep going on fumes. I made it to the gas station in Front Royal, but I don't know how close I was to running out... Boring drive home at night: 244 miles, 3 hrs 35 min moving time, 2 min 21 sec stop time, avg speed 68.1 mph, max speed 82.9 mph. It's interesting to note that the posted max speed limit is 65 or less on every road I drove on except for the 23 miles of I-81 in WV where it is 70 mph. I also live 22 miles from the freeway exit, yet still kept my average speed at 68.1 overall. My GPS is new and I just learned how to use this feature.... Pics
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:250 ft / 76 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:250 ft / 76 m
    Route:AT - Northbound
    Start Trailhead:3480 ft / 1060 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Shenandoah - Oct '09 (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Stony Man2009-10-31 a3111 ft / 948 m
2Hawksbill2009-10-31 b800 ft / 244 m
3The Pinnacle2009-11-01 a250 ft / 76 m
4Blackrock Summit2009-11-01 b100 ft / 30 m
Total Trip Gain: 4261 ft / 1298 m    Total Trip Loss: 200 ft / 60 m

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