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Ascent of Mount Rogers on 2011-03-19

Climber: Tom Layton

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, March 19, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Rogers
    Location:USA-Virginia
    Elevation:5729 ft / 1746 m

Ascent Trip Report

Second stop on a 19-mile loop. I first climbed Stone Mountain, so this leg begins at Scales Jct in the backcountry.

From Scales, I followed the unsigned Crest Trail (wide and rocky following the fence line NW of Scales. After about 1 mile, this turns SW along the ridge of Pine Mountain. Sign at Scales it's 3.9 miles to Rhododendron Gap next to Pine Mountain, and my FitBit pedometer said 3.6. It's an easy scenic walk that gets rocky and steep in the last half mile leading up to Rhododendron Gap and the AT junction, just W of the Pine Mountain summit.

I intended to bag Pine Mountain and then head down to the car. But I was making good time, so I overestimated myself and added a side trip to Mount Rogers (which I had climbed about 10 years earlier from Elk Garden). From Rhododendron Gap, I followed the AT S 1.5 miles and the Mount Rogers spur trail 0.7 miles to the summit. The last few hundred yards was over hard-packed snow and ice. There are at least 3 outcroppings that are contenders for the VA HP. The BM is on your L as you reach the top, a RM is a few yards further in the woods, followed by one more that you ought to tag while you're here.

On the return to Rhododendron Gap, I started wearing down. And I had farther to go than I thought.

CAUTION: You may read that it is 4 miles from Grayson Highlands SP to Mount Rogers. But that's actually from the park boundary, which is 1.5 miles from the Massie Gap parking lot.

I don't have GPS, but my Fitbit measured the descent from Mount Rogers to Massie Gap at 5.8 miles. Allowing for my short side trip to the top of Pine Mountain, I would estimate that it is at least 5.5 miles. The two miles NW of the state park boundary are also quite rocky and rough.

If you're looking for the easier route to Mount Rogers, I would suggest starting at Elk Garden and following the AT. But if you're looking for wide-open views, it's hard to beat the hike from Massey Gap via Wilburn Ridge.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1369 ft / 416 m
    Elevation Loss:569 ft / 173 m
    Distance:8.1 mi / 13 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1249 ft / 380 m
    Extra Loss:120 ft / 36 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:Crest Trail, AT SB, Mt Rogers Spur
    Trailhead:Scales jct on AT  4600 ft / 1402 m
    Time Up:2 Hours 42 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:449 ft / 137 m
    Extra Gain:120 ft / 36 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:Mt Rogers Spur Tr, AT NB
    Trailhead:Rhododendron Gap  5400 ft / 1645 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Grayson Highlands

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Stone Mountain2011-03-19 a
2Mount Rogers2011-03-19 b
3Pine Mountain2011-03-19 c



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