Ascent of Backbone Mountain on 2013-07-27

Climber: John Hasch

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, July 27, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Backbone Mountain
    Elevation:3360 ft / 1024 m

Ascent Trip Report

Backbone Mountain
3,360+ ft.

Saturday, 7/27/2013

1 contour

The next day after the Mount Washington experience, I was driving through PA and deciding what to do with my day. As I passed through Williamsport, I stopped at the international Little League complex where the World Series will be televised again in the next couple of weeks. I also visited the newly remodeled gift shop there. I had visions of continuing to southern PA to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, a home that has been on my bucket list for several years now. The home’s tours end each day at 4:30pm.

When it became apparent that I could not make it there in time, I decided on a whim to take care of some unfinished business. I rerouted myself to head for Silver Lake, WV to climb Maryland's Backbone Mountain. I drove through Silver Lake on US 219. As I rounded a curve south of the town, I noted a green sign on my right above the far end of a guardrail. The sign says “Maryland High Point” and has an arrow pointing to the left side of the road at nothing obvious. I looked behind me and noted a yellow highway sign pointing for a curve right where the woods road meets the highway. I turned around and parked in the 2-car grave parking spot just before the yellow sign. I had arrived at the trailhead around 6:30pm in still good lighting.

I grabbed a couple flashlights just in case, and I headed up the mountain on the dirt road. The road is actually wide enough that a 4-wheel vehicle might be able to drive it almost all the way to the summit. On this day, the road was wet and muddy, the result of an apparent recent rain.

The trail is well marked, with red “HP” markings sprayed on numerous large trees along the route. There are also many red router-produced signs with white letters found along the way at key points. I had no trouble following the signs on my ascent and later on the descent.

I took the easy route to the summit, bypassing the Border Marker No. 3 on the way up. I summitted Backbone Mountain, noting a small blue birdhouse in a tree near the highpoint. I also noted the obvious, nice HP Foundation bench now located on the summit!!! There was also a picnic table, large rock cairn, white Hoye Crest sign, and black register mailbox. I took a few pictures, touched the top of the cairn, and signed the register. This marked my 25th state highpoint in addition to Washington DC.

On the descent, took the alternate trail and climbed the rocks to the border monument #3. I continued down with only one incident. At some point down the trail, I was surprised by a LARGE bird that flapped its wings and struck some overhead branches as it took flight. I almost crapped my drawers! Are pterodactyls still found in the Maryland/West Virginia region? Shaken, I continued my way down, and I arrived at my car with daylight to spare.

The region has several windmills on the various mountain ridges, including the lower parts of Backbone Mountain. I know I missed out on a virtual “two-fer” with Preston County, WV sitting on the same mountain. But I didn’t have trip guidance or computer access with me. Besides, it would be impossible to summit Preston before dark. That HP will have to wait for another day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:690 ft / 210 m
    Route:Woods Road and Trail to Summit
    Trailhead:Woods Road from US 219 in WV  2670 ft / 813 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear

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