Ascent of Wilburn Ridge on 2015-05-22

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
Date:Friday, May 22, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Wilburn Ridge
    Elevation:5520 ft / 1682 m

Ascent Trip Report

We parked at the upper lot overlooking the field between the TH and the Pinnacle behind us. We got there at 8AM on the nose to get the best parking spot we could. I hiked down to the actual TH where 2 years earlier we decided NOT to hike the state HP because it was in winter, snowing, and we had our puppy with us and we knew it would me too much for him. Today it was sunny but windy and oddly cold for a late May hike. The saddles in particular are exposed and very windy. I presume with the 39F starting temperature and the strong wind, the wind chill was down below freezing and I had to give up my jacket to Karen to keep her morale up. She had two hoods and I had a nylon fishing jacket on but fortunately hiking up hill quickly and the sun getting higher in the sky as the day rolled in helped, but my hands stayed in my pockets the first 2 hours. The trees along the saddles and around the knobs were very stunted - krummholtz shaped. I saw conifers that were 12 inches base and only 6 feet tall bonsai shaped.

We passed lower Wilburn Ridge that I had played upon 2 years ago, but headed N by NW along the Wilburn Ridge to what appears to be a very tempting rocky pinnacle topped mountain of its own. I remembered this peak from 2 years ago and wanted to go over and tag it. Although it appears as a mountain from the south it is actually a small knob along the ridge leading up to the state HP. A beautiful approach and we ran into our first grouping of ponies to walk through and there were some very nearly born ponies with their mothers.

There are many ways to hike to the state HP and most people we saw stayed with the white blaze AT but we took the blue blaze Wilburn Ridge Trail which would take us along this more exciting saddle and up and over each of the rocky pinnacles along the ridge.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:930 ft / 283 m
    Total Elevation Loss:110 ft / 33 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Grade/Class:1 and some minor 3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Clear
39F and windy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:930 ft / 283 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 920 ft / 280 m; Extra: 10 ft / 3m
    Loss on way in:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:AT to Wilburn Ridge Trail
    Start Trailhead:Massie Gap Parking  4600 ft / 1402 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:Wilburn Ridge Trail
    End Trailhead:Saddle between Peaks  5420 ft / 1652 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Mount Rogers Day

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Wilburn Ridge2015-05-22 a930 ft / 283 m
2Pine Mountain2015-05-22 b121 ft / 37 m
3Thomas Knob2015-05-22 c125 ft / 38 m
4Mount Rogers2015-05-22 d399 ft / 122 m
5Thomas Knob-notch2015-05-22 e130 ft / 40 m
6Pine Mountain2015-05-22 f116 ft / 35 m
7Wilburn Ridge2015-05-22 g120 ft / 37 m
8Whitetop Mountain2015-05-22 h990 ft / 302 m
9Buzzard Rock2015-05-22 i700 ft / 213 m
Total Trip Gain: 3631 ft / 1107 m    Total Trip Loss: 2651 ft / 808 m

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