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Ascent of Hanging Rock on 2012-03-03

Climber: Richard Oestreicher

Date:Saturday, March 3, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hanging Rock
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:3840 ft / 1170 m

Ascent Trip Report

Previous county high pointers did two high point candidates for this county, but the WVA LIDAR data puts the height of the more northerly of the two points at more than 36 feet higher than the second point so I ignored it. I also took a slightly different route than the one noted in a previous report by Michael Schwartz. He took about four hours round trip hiking to both points (and he appears to be a fast hiker because his reported times are usually faster than mine over the other routes we've both done). I took about 1 3/4 hours to the one point with a small detour to the ranked peak (see LOJ) a bit north of the Nicholas CHP. So perhaps this is a better route, although it involves quite a bit of elevation gain going down from one ridge and up another, and then an ascent on the reverse.

One of the problems with route finding in this area is that what my maps (Delorme, Garmin, topo) depicted and what I actually discovered differed substantially (a not infrequent occurrence in backwoods West Virginia). From39/55 I took county road 76-1 a couple of miles northeast of Richwood. It comes to an intersection with Forest Road 76 headed left and an unsigned but paved road headed right into a village Cranberry ? passing houses, a few small businesses, a golf course and then the pavement ends in a gravel and dirt road through more open country with only occasional houses where I saw the first sign indicating I was on Forest Road 99. Near the end of the scattered houses, I reached an intersection where FR 99 veers left and northward away from my GPS heading, and a dirt track ran straight ahead to the last few houses. Apparently FR99 veers back in the right direction because I ran into it again on foot after I parked, although I don't know whether it is gated as many of the forest roads are. I took the increasingly rough dirt track to a berm where I parked. My GPS put the Nicholas CHP at 1.21 miles. I followed a combination of abandoned forest roads, a short stretch of FR99, but mostly bushwhacking on my GPS heading, dropping about 350 feet to a roaring stream (that I crossed on fallen trees--testing the balance of the Geezer Mountaineer (he passed). The terrain was not as rough as many WVA bushwhacks and not many briars or thick underbrush. From the stream it was about 400 feet up to the Nicholas County HP. However, since the hp is not at the crest I continued upward to the highest spot I could find about 0.15 mi. north of Nicholas chp and about 75 feet higher. I discovered later that this spot is indeed a ranked peak in Lists of John.

Totals for the excursion: 3.9 mi., 1h. 47 min. 850 feet elevation gain.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:850 ft / 259 m
    Distance:3.9 mi / 6.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:850 ft / 259 m
    Extra Loss:740 ft / 225 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Trailhead:3730 ft / 1136 m
    Time Up:56 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Time Down:51 Minutes



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