Ascent of Mace Knob-South Peak on 2018-09-02

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Sunday, September 2, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Mace Knob-South Peak
    Location:USA-West Virginia
    Elevation:4840 ft / 1475 m

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is better known as Cheat Mountain, and that's how it is listed on ListsofJohn. The actual peak is not labeled on the topo maps, but if you look at the quads, you'll see the name Cheat Mountain running north-south along the ridgeline in reference to the larger massif, which includes the Snowshoe resort and Thorny Flat.

At the 4,400 gap on Snowshoe Drive, there is a gravel road that is called Airport Drive on some maps. Others have found this road gated, but both gates were open for me, and I didn't notice the "Posted-Private Property" signs until I came down. I was able to drive this road all the way to the site of the unfinished airstrip (el. 4,700) cut into the south face of Cheat Mountain. In hindsight, I should have parked near 4,600, where the road begins to switch back to the right. As the road goes uphill, conditions go downhill, and it is passable only for high-clearance 4WD. I parked at the airfield and hiked up the washed-out road to the ridge west of the summit. Stay with the road when it descends 20 feet on the north side. It soon regains the ridge, and the highest point is at the base of a large evergreen tree (hemlock? spruce?) on the right (south).

The roundtrip walk was a half mile from the airfield and would be 2.2 from the gate on Snowshoe Drive.

I didn't explore it, but there might be a better route from the Silver Creek Lodge ski slopes on the east side of the mountain. Take Silver Creek Drive from Snowshoe Drive and see if you can drive as high as Sunrise Court (el. 4,600). Or if you are here to ski, go to Silver Creek Lodge, take the lift to the top (el. 4,800), and follow the 4-wheeler track westward across the ridgetop to the summit on the left (south).

Among the three peaks in Pocahontas County that reach the 4,840 contour, this one might be the highest, because it appears to rise 6-10 feet inside the summit contour. Thorny Flat and Bald Knob have no comparable rise within their summit contours. For what it's worth, the Pocahontas County GIS map shows spot elevations of 4,849 for Thorny Flat, 4,846 for Cheat/South Mace, and 4,843 for Bald Knob. Thorny is 4,848 on the topo map. Bald is 4,842 according to Cass RR State Park.

The GAIA GPS topo map (not sure of the source) shows summit elevations of 4,859 for both Cheat and Thorny, while Bald Knob lags at 4,842.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:180 ft / 54 m
    Extra Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.5 mi / 0.8 km
    Route:4-wheeler track
    Trailhead:Airstrip  4720 ft / 1438 m
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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