Ascent of Black Mountain on 2011-05-15

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Solo
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, May 15, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Black Mountain
    Elevation:4139 ft / 1261 m

Ascent Trip Report

I can't stand drive up highpoints and I planned to make this worth the effort. Since my wife and I walk 4 miles each day why not make it a 4 mile hike?

On my business trip to visit the Lexington and Louisville offices i realized it was 3.5 hours from this HP to our nearest office in Lexington so I flew up early on my own time Sunday into the tricity airport in TN. This is a great way to do this mountain.

First of all, the drive time from there is only 1.5 hours.
Second the drive from TN to VA to KY was beautiful and a lot of winding mountain roads. The coal mining of the mountains in the area was interesting too. Not as destructive as I had imagined.

I drove up to the FAA radar installation and measured the distances and took GPS readings. Then parked down on the VA side parking area and walked down to where i approximate the USGS BM elevation of 3663 was. My phone GPS confirmed i was within a few feet of it and I figure it was about 0.2 miles from the maintenance roadway.
It was 1.3 miles from the intersection to the radar and about another 0.3 miles to the peak. If you go interesection (by the KY border sign) to peak figure 1.6 miles each way. I started further down in VA so I am using the 1.8 miles to peak.

It was cold and drizzly. I admit the mountain views are far prettier driving to the parking lot than up the ridge of the moutain, but i enjoyed the drive so much and i was pleased at the solitude of hiking up the narrow asphalt road to the top. It was dark, heavily covered in trees and so many ruts it felt like a wide trail (but a car can drive to the top no problem for those of you that want to drive HP).

On the way up and down i say 10 smashed and crushed newt/salmanders!!! Yikes there were beautiful fire red with orange spots. I was horrified to think my car may have smashed them but then noticed on the way down some guys in 4 wheelers and camo outfits driving up and down so perhaps it wasn't me afterall? Either way I hate to see nature dsirupted like that. I found 2 alive trying to cross the pavement on the way down and enjoyed looking at them. I suggest parking at the intersection by the KY state line walking up and sparing the creatures.

The radar tower is NOT at the peak and it is obtrusive and yet from an engineering perspective quite interesting. The true peak is littered with it's own junk antaneas etc.........still doing it as nearly 4 mile hike made it a worth while morning. I wanted the excercise so i hiked up and jogged some of it back. My time was
23 minutes from the intersection to the top including stopping for photos. Total time from the BM in VA was 26 minutes up and 24 minutes down. I left at 1:20 and was back to the car by 2:15 including top time and photos.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:566 ft / 171 m
    Total Elevation Loss:429 ft / 130 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
50F off and on drizzle with some light rain
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:521 ft / 158 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 476 ft / 145 m; Extra: 45 ft / 13m
    Loss on way in:45 ft / 13 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:VA 160 to KY 160 to Peak
    Start Trailhead:Virginia Parking lot down at BM  3663 ft / 1116 m
    Time:26 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:384 ft / 117 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 339 ft / 103 m; Extra: 45 ft / 13m
    Gain on way out:45 ft / 13 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    End Trailhead:same  3800 ft / 1158 m
    Time:24 Minutes

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