Ascent of Mitchells Mountain-North Slope on 2018-11-08

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, November 8, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mitchells Mountain-North Slope
    Elevation:1080 ft / 329 m

Ascent Trip Report

A woods track climb northwest bound …. 2.5 miles, 850' gain, 1:35 hrs RT including all time for data-taking and route finding.

My research had told me that "with permission" there was an alternate much-easier route to the summit, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be my route. The regular route used/reported by others was gated and posted.
Ryan Bowles writes "...…. , turn right on Major Brown Drive. Where Major Brown Drive turns sharp left, continue straight onto a heavily posted driveway. This driveway is gated except when the owner is in the area, on most weekends. ………….."
Before risking a walk up this gated road I decided to check out my alternate route, which turned out to be an excellent route, all as described here. I provide a complete report, all my distances and elevation are estimates only.

From the Madison/Rappahannock County Line on Hwy #231 it is .8 miles north to a right turn on Slate Mills Road (CR 707) which heads eastbound 3.4 miles to a right turn (southwest) on Major Brown Road (CR 605), then it is 1.2 miles to the left turn referred-to above. I continued south on Major Brown for another .3 miles to the right turn on House Hollow Road (CR704) which I drove west .5 miles to the last driveway on the right #1219. There is a large sign here "End of County Road Maintenance". The road continues as a smaller road climbing northwest .5 miles to a last house at elevation 800' -- NB: This would be the ideal starting point (a RT hike of 1 mile, 440' gain).

I should note as I enter this TR, that the whole of the #1219 property appears to be in Madison County - the topo maps show the Madison/Culpeper County Line crossing the road 100 yds before this driveaway (I did not think of asking Andy). The county Line heads northwest, going over the small sag west of the first bump referred-to below, on its way to the Mitchells Mountain-North Slope.

I went to House #1219 for permission and again I lucked-out - The Owner,Andy, was the perfect gentleman to talk to, extremely friendly with a good knowledge of the trails on the mountain - which he has hiked. He gave me perfect instructions. He couldn't have been nicer, and was OK for his name to be entered here. SO FUTURE HIKERS - PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION.
He agreed that the ideal place to start was at the last house. He informed me that the owner "Dale" wasn't home, but he gave me the impression that Dale would grant permission.

From my TH at Andy's house (38.51563,-78.21458, elev 600')) I walked 150+ yds northwest to the woods where a good track winds/climbs the same line to a small bump shown on the Cal Topo (38.51963,-78.21732, elev 840'), less than 1/2 a mile from my TH. As noted above the County Line crosses the sag (elev 800') west of this bump.
25 yds over this bump (north side) is a track JCT with a telephone pole, straight ahead (north) drops to a house in a hollow, right leads east to the gate at Major Brown Road.
From here on I more-or-less followed the GPS Track in Coby King's return route (see the GPS Track in his TR).

I went westerly for 1/4+ mile to a Track JCT (38.51882,-78.22116, elev 960') 40 yds above (north-of) of Dale's house. On-route I stayed left at an obscure fork, a right descended to the north.
This Track JCT is where Coby King writes, " …...Sure enough, this fine road switch-backed down the mountain. It did pass perilously close to another home at a junction, but I turned left and quickly passed out of sight. ….."

I turned right at this JCT and climbed the moderately steep track (northwest) 1/4 mile to the wooded summit of Mitchells Mountain-Peak 1240. Then its a short 1/4 mile (on a track) down the northeast ridge to the Madison/Culpeper County Line (Mitchells Mountain-North Slope).
No boundary markers, so I descended to the PB coordinates and went further down to ensure my HP.

I backtracked to my TH in 30 minutes, stopped-in to report to Andy.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:680 ft / 206 m
    Total Elevation Loss:680 ft / 207 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:520 ft / 158 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 480 ft / 147 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Loss on way in:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Route:track climb nwb from house hollow road
    Start Trailhead:house #1219 house hollow rd  600 ft / 182 m
    Time:55 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:640 ft / 195 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 480 ft / 147 m; Extra: 160 ft / 48m
    Gain on way out:160 ft / 48 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Route:track climb nwb from house hollow road
    End Trailhead:house #1219 house hollow rd  600 ft / 182 m
    Time:30 Minutes

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