Ascent of The Pinnacle on 2003-11-28

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Beth Cousland
Date:Friday, November 28, 2003
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Pinnacle
    Elevation:3730 ft / 1136 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Pinnacles was our third hike of the three that Beth and I planned for our day-tour of Shenandoah National Park. All day the weather had been cold, windy and wet, but the wetness had mostly been in the form of light sprinkles, so it wasn't too troublesome until now. In the past hour the intensity of the rain had picked up considerably. After 20 minutes at the Skyland Resort, we drove 4 miles farther on northbound Skyline Drive and pulled into the Jewell Hollow Overlook, near milepost 36, and sat in the car.

The winds were gusting to about 40 miles per hour and the rain was quite heavy. My wonderful, loving and very patient wife clearly did not think it was good hiking weather, and I agreed with her. But this is a highpoint, I reasoned. Joking aside, I knew she wasn't eager to do this hike and I even offered that she could stay in the car while I made a quick run to the peak. She did decide to go with me but only after winning a promise of a long back massage for that evening from me. So off we went into the woods.

From the parking area, there is an open meadow which the Appalachian Trail crosses, about a 200-foot walk from the car. Soon we were on the trail and into the trees, which mitigated the wind and sideways rain. The trail went east then swung north up toward the top, marked by many rock piles and spires (hence the name). Now, exposed to the winds again, we scrambled off the trail slightly into the trees and thorny brambles and spent a very quick few minutes tagging rock tops. A spot elevation of 3,730 feet is listed on the map for this small summit.

We did not visit the second area, the one without the spot elevation to the east. Instead we hiked quickly back to the car. The hike was short, just 1.6 miles round trip. In better weather I'm sure it's very pretty. Actually, it was pretty ... just wet and windy. With daylight fading, we turned up the heater and drove a few miles north to Thurston Gap (milepost 31.5) where we exited off of Skyline Drive via US-211 and down into the town of Luray, where we caught US-340, which we followed about 50 miles back to Beth's folks' place.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.6 mi / 2.6 km
    Trailhead:3330 ft / 1014 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail

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